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Home Travel Insurance A Beginner’s Guide to Travel Insurance for Thailand

A Beginner’s Guide to Travel Insurance for Thailand

by Tami Baldwin
Published: Updated: 0 comment 24921 views

*Note, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, visitors to Thailand must present valid health insurance including cover for COVID-19 with coverage of at least USD 100,000. Read more about Thailand COVID insurance requirements and the latest news in our COVID insurance for Thailand updates.

For any visitor to Thailand, whether as a tourist for leisure or a businessperson who regularly comes to the Land of Smiles, travel insurance is a top priority. Hospitals, especially private hospitals, can be rather expensive and you certainly don’t want to be left facing high bills while in Thailand.

Those who come to Thailand uninsured are playing a dangerous game. If you fall ill, have an accident, or need medical attention for any other reason, a solid travel insurance plan for Thailand will give you peace of mind and allow you access to the best treatment.

This guide is designed for anyone who plans to visit Thailand, either as a one-off or regularly, and is unsure about why they may need insurance for travel, what options are available, and which level of insurance coverage is most suitable for their needs.

What You’ll Learn in this Article:

If you already have an insurance plan from your home country, it is worth checking the coverage they can offer you while visiting Thailand, or if Thailand travel insurance is already part of your insurance plan.

However, if you do not have insurance at home or your current plan doesn’t cover you then it is well worthwhile using a local Thai insurance comparison service such as Mister Prakan. They can provide a wide range of plans from major insurance companies, offer travel insurance accepted by the Thai government, and send an insurance certificate instantly to use on your trip to Thailand.

Why Get Travel Insurance When Visiting Thailand?

Perhaps the first question you’ll ask yourself when planning a trip to Thailand is “Do I Really Need Travel Insurance?” The solid and obvious answer is yes, you should always have some form of insurance before traveling to Thailand.

Whether you’re visiting the country for a quick two-week holiday, coming to Thailand for business purposes, or staying in the Land of Smiles for an extended period, insurance is a must-have.

Of course, Thailand is a much safer place to visit these days than it was 20 years ago, particularly in the bigger cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai or the popular tourist destinations of Phuket, Pattaya, and Hua Hin. However, despite the comparative rarity of dangerous crimes, there are numerous reasons to get travel insurance for Thailand. These include:

Infections & Illnesses

While you may have received vaccinations before coming to Thailand, there are still several ways you can fall ill during your stay. For instance, if you enjoy the thriving street food scene and you are not careful where you choose to eat or don’t have an iron stomach, food poisoning is a real risk.

It is very common for tourists and foreigners to get some form of food poisoning while in Thailand. If this happens to you, a visit to the hospital is likely.

Likewise, multiple skin infections and issues may result from the difference in climate between Thailand and your home country. Rashes, fungal infections, and other skin problems are common, particularly if you plan to go hiking in the national parks.

Motorbike Accidents

travel_insurance_thailand_motorbikes
A couple of tourists ride motorbikes in Thailand. It is a good idea to ensure you are covered in the case of an incident when riding a motorcycle in Thailand.

Thailand has one of the highest road death rates in the world and with good reason. There seems to be little to no rules enforced on the roads, including the wearing of helmets when riding a motorcycle.

If you choose to hire or purchase a motorbike, as many visitors do, be sure to wear a helmet and drive carefully. However, there is an increased risk of injury when riding in Thailand, and travel insurance is a must for those who want to hire bikes.

Activities & Adventure

Most of the popular tourist destinations are thriving with activities and things to do such as water skiing, scuba diving, mountain biking, and many other high-risk adventures. Of course, these all come with risk.

Similarly, many visitors to Thailand choose to practice Muay Thai – a violet martial art. Should you decide to partake in any activity or adventure, you are increasing your risk of being injured and requiring a visit to the hospital.

Scams

In major tourist spots across Thailand, scam artists work hard to come up with new and imaginative ways to squeeze money from unsuspecting visitors. From tuk-tuk scams to tailor scams and everything in between, it pays to have your wits about you.

Of course, anyone can let their guard down for a second and fall for a fake travel agent scam or not be sure how to deal with a corrupt police officer scam. Some Thai travel insurance plans can help you to recoup any funds or valuables lost to scams or deceit.

How to Check If Your Current Insurance Covers Thailand Travel

Many people might already have travel insurance and not even know about it! So, before you panic buy any insurance for your trip to Thailand, it is well worth checking if your current insurance provider, bank, or credit card company already has you covered.

If you have health insurance from your home country it may also provide coverage for other countries. You can check the documents from your current plan or call your insurance provider and ask if they cover you for travel insurance in Thailand.

If they do not cover your journey in your existing plan, you can always inquire about Thailand travel insurance as it is likely that they can offer you a cheaper rate in comparison to companies where you are not already a client. Just make sure you are receiving full coverage and not basic insurance.

Another route that many people are unaware of is checking potential insurance coverage with your bank or credit card. Some banks provide their clients with travel insurance if they have a certain type of savings or current account.

Similarly, some credit card providers include free travel insurance if you pay for your holiday with your card or as a benefit or perk to your credit card account.

travel_insurance_thailand_credit_card
Some credit card companies offer travel insurance as a perk or if you use your card to book the trip. It is always worth checking with your credit card provider to see if you are already covered for travel insurance.

Give them a call and see what type of insurance (if any) they provide. Some might only cover medical expenses, others may cover lost luggage and personal items, while some will offer full protection for the entirety of your trip.

What to Do If You’re Not Covered for Thailand

If you have exhausted the options above and find that you are not covered for your trip to Thailand you will need to research and buy travel insurance before you leave.

The best advice is to start searching for Thailand travel insurance for at least one month before your planned arrival date. This will give you plenty of time to find the most suitable deal, sign the paperwork, and receive the insurance certificate.

You should consider your requirements before you start searching for travel insurance. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do I need travel insurance for just this trip or multiple journeys within a year?
  • Do I want coverage for canceled flights?
  • Do I want coverage for lost baggage and personal items?
  • Do I want medical insurance covering in-patient and out-patient?
  • How much coverage do I need?
  • What am I willing to pay?
  • Do I want to get individual travel insurance or family travel insurance?

These questions will help you better understand your needs and therefore make finding a suitable plan easier. If you are going to travel numerous times within a year, it is much cheaper to purchase yearly travel insurance rather than a one-off package.

Another alternative is to look into expat health insurance in Thailand and purchase directly from a local insurance provider to cover you while you are in the country.

Finding the Best Travel Insurance for Thailand

So, the first thing you want to know when getting insured for your trip is how do you find the best travel insurance for Thailand? Well, unfortunately, the answer is not a straightforward one and depends on several factors.

For instance, the length of time you’ll be spending in Thailand is a major factor. As is your age, medical history, risk category, the level of coverage you desire, and a host of other factors.

However, there are many ways to find the best policies for your needs. We will look at three options to get you started below.

1. Travel Insurance from Your Home Country

This may feel like the best option for many. You can communicate easily and clearly with travel insurance providers located in your country of residence. You could probably even visit their offices for a chat about your options.

Many insurance providers these days are global and will likely be able to give you a range of plans for your trip to Thailand. You can then pay for the policy that suits you best and get everything organized easily at home.

However, one detail worth considering if using an insurance provider from your home country is their connections to hospitals in Thailand. While they should offer full coverage for claims such as lost baggage and even stolen property, the medical insurance side of the plan is important to consider.

If an insurance company is not located or connected with private hospitals in Thailand, you may have to pay the full expense of the hospital bill and then claim it back after you get home. That process can take months to complete.

If you decide to find an insurance plan in your home country, make sure you ask the right questions and understand the claim process completely.

2. Travel Insurance from Thai Companies

Another option is to research and buy travel insurance from an insurance company located within Thailand. This may seem like quite a hassle, but with websites and email, the process is surprisingly easy even if you are still in your home country.

Insurance companies that operate within Thailand often have agreements with local private hospitals, meaning that if you should incur a large medical bill, everything is taken care of by the insurance company before you leave. Essentially, you won’t be out of pocket!

Other benefits to using local companies for Thai travel insurance include cheaper policies in general, insurance agents who speak the local language, and insurance certificates trusted by the Thai government.

Multiple global insurance companies operate within Thailand so you can easily find a name you trust when searching for local travel insurance. One of the best ways to find a great deal is by using a local comparison website such as Mister Prakan.

3. Find a Local Travel Insurance Agent

If you rather a personal touch you can contact one of the many insurance agents operating within Thailand. These freelance agents work for one or several insurance providers for a commission every time they sign someone up for insurance.

Therefore, it is in their best interests to find you a great deal and answer any questions you may have about the policies, benefits, and payments.

One of the great things about insurance agents is the personal approach. They are your sole point of contact for everything from signing up to a policy to making a claim. This can make life much easier than talking to customer representatives from a large firm.

However, it is very difficult to find travel insurance agents that speak English well enough to properly answer all your queries. Many Thai insurance agents operate via a Facebook page or through contacts of friends.

Understanding Travel Insurance Plans

Travel insurance plans are difficult to understand. Often, they are several pages long with complicated explanations, exceptions, rules, and other conditions.

It is very important that you understand exactly what your travel insurance policy covers, how much coverage you have, and what is not included.

To help you better understand travel insurance plans, we have listed some of the most important things to look out for below:

Does Your Insurance Plan Cover…?

  • Canceled or delayed flights?
  • Airline property damage?
  • Property damage in Thailand?
  • Lost bags en route to Thailand?
  • Lost or stolen bags while in Thailand?
  • Personal items lost or stolen?
  • Medical emergencies?
  • Injuries or small illnesses?
  • Doctor visits?
  • In-patient stays in a hospital?
  • Viruses such as dengue fever?

Does Your Insurance Policy Exclude Common Things Such As…?

  • Accidents on motorcycles?
  • Injuries from high-risk activities?
  • Injuries from sports like Muay Thai?
  • Contracting an STD?

Does Your Travel Insurance Provider Feature Conditions About…?

  • Canceling your trip to Thailand?
  • Pre-existing medical conditions?
  • Medical evacuations from Thai islands?
  • Claims in hospitals?

Asking these questions about your insurance policy when traveling to Thailand will give you a better understanding of what incidents the policy covers.

Furthermore, you can request addons to your insurance policy such as coverage for rental cars, scuba diving insurance if you plan to dive while in Thailand, and other additions to your basic coverage.

scuba_diving_insurance_thailand
If you plan to go scuba diving in the clear waters of Thailand, many insurance plans will not cover any incidents as the activity is deemed “high-risk”. You may need to purchase an add-on that covers scuba diving activities.

Finally, make sure you read the fine print and details about your travel insurance once it arrives. If you are unsure about anything, clarify it with your insurance company or insurance agent before you leave for Thailand.

Using Your Travel Insurance While in Thailand

Depending on where you purchased your travel insurance, using it while in Thailand can range from simple to complicated.

If something should happen while you are in Thailand, it is essential that you keep receipts, evidence, forms, and any other important documents that could help you with a claim.

If the claim is to do with lost property or theft, you will likely need to send a copy of the police report along with your claim to avoid delays with receiving a pay-out. Claims for things such as lost baggage or baggage delays will require a letter from the airline.

Medical claims can work slightly differently depending on your provider. Some travel insurance providers, especially those not located in Thailand, will request that you pay the medical bills first before sending receipts and evidence for reimbursement.

However, if you are using an insurance company or agent located inside of Thailand, generally the insurance company will liaise directly with the hospital staff and sort out your claim without your involvement at all.

One important aspect to look for in your travel insurance policy is “prior authorization”.  If your policy states you need prior authorization, this means that the insurance company must agree to the medication, procedure, or expense before you have it.

Finally, if your insurance company works on a reimbursement plan, you will need patience. It can take time to process a claim and send you the money. Many insurance companies now pay claims directly into your bank account.

Top Tips for Buying Travel Insurance

  1. Watch Out for Scam Travel Insurance Sellers & Providers
  2. Check with Your Current Insurance Company If You Are Already Covered
  3. Do Your Research When Checking for Travel Insurance Providers
  4. Understand Exactly What You Want Covering
  5. Shop Around & Use Insurance Comparison Services
  6. Find A Policy from An Insurance Company That Operates Within Thailand
  7. Check and Double Check the Small Print on Your Policy
  8. Get Addons If You Know You Will Partake in Certain Activities
  9. Find Out If You Need to Claim Money Back or If Insurance Company Makes the Payment Directly
  10. Keep Evidence, Forms, Reports & Other Important Documents

Useful Contacts in Thailand

Useful ContactPhone Number
Tourist Police1155
Public Ambulance (Nationwide)1669
Public Ambulance (Bangkok)1646
Private Ambulance (Bangkok)1724 or 1719
Highway Police1193
General Emergencies 911

Now you are equipped to go and find the best and most suitable travel insurance for your trip to Thailand. If you feel we missed any important details or any information in this article is out of date, please let us know in the comments below.

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