Introduction to Travel Insurance for Thailand

Travel Insurance Thailand

If you’re travelling to Thailand on holiday, there’s a lot you’ll want to pack into your trip. If it’s your first visit, you may want to see Bangkok’s Grand Palace or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.

Alternatively, if you’ve visited before, you could be interested in seeing and trying things further afield. This might include heading to the remote (though beautiful) alpine lake of Pang Ung or even trying your hand (and your foot!) at some Muay Thai boxing.

Whatever you intend to get up to in this amazing Southeast Asian country, it’s worth considering whether to take out some travel coverage for your trip.

After all, when you’re enjoying the sights and smells of Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market, you will feel comfortable taking your wallet and smartphone with you knowing that they’re covered.

Equally, if you’re the adventurous type about to do some rock climbing, for example, then a policy may cover your helicopter ride if you need to be airlifted to the nearest hospital hundreds of kilometres away!

With all this in mind, find below a guide to getting travel insurance to Thailand. On a related topic, for help with your visa to visit the country formerly called Siam, check our page here.

So What’s the Best Travel Insurance for Thailand?

The best coverage for you depends on a number of factors. These include:

  • How old are you, where are you from and how healthy are you? Many companies charge you more if you’re retired or from a developing country. If you have a pre-existing medical condition, the cost of your premium can rise significantly or you may not be covered.
  • Do you want to be covered in case your trip is cancelled? Many basic policies don’t cover this, such as recouping the cost of your flights, hotel or other tickets that you’ve booked. So if it’s a possibility you want to protect against, your insurance could be a little costlier.
  • Will you be taking valuable belongings, such as a camera or laptop? In this case, it could be worth taking out personal possessions insurance. However, check the amount you’re covered for, as the policy may have a limit of a few hundred dollars, well below the price of a new Apple MacBook, for instance! If your valuables aren’t costly, it can work out as better value just to buy new ones if they’re misplaced.
  • How much do you want to be covered for? Logically enough, more expensive premiums cover you for larger amounts. For example, coverage of 100,000 USD might seem like a lot, but if you’re in a Bangkok hospital for days on end, the cost can quickly add up. So if you’re at risk of illness or injury, a higher-end policy could suit you better.
  • Are you planning for adventure? If you’re going bungee jumping or water rafting, you’re sure to make memories that last a lifetime. However, many companies consider these riskier activities, so you’re likely to pay a higher premium to cover you. Moreover, some companies won’t cover certain activities, such as riding motorcycles.
  • Are you travelling alone or with your family? Some companies offer multi-member policies at a discount, which is ideal if you’re travelling with your spouse and kids. As always, it’s worth checking what you’re covered for and to what amounts, so you can prioritise your family’s safety.

In brief, when you’re comparing travel coverage for Thailand, it’s useful to have a clear idea of the activities you’ll get up to during your trip. This helps you to determine which coverage suits you best. Importantly, when you take out a policy, it’s best to read it carefully and stick by its rules and regulations.

For example, if you’re heading to Thailand’s southern islands to enjoy some of its famed diving, you might take out a policy that covers you up to depths of 18m. This is the standard limit when you’re obtaining a basic scuba diving certification. However, if you go beyond 18m (what’s called a “deep dive”) and have an accident, then your insurance may not cover you.

Where to Find Cheap Travel Insurance to Thailand Online

The cost of coverage depends, among other things, on how long you’re staying for. Many companies offer standard policies for a 30-day visit, so this is a good basis for comparison to check their cost. If you’re staying longer, then it’s normal for the fee to rise.

It’s possible to find travel coverage for a 1-month trip for as little as 36.96 USD. That said, such policies are only available if you’re relatively young (say, below 39).

In addition, to claim for medical expenses with such policies you have to pay a deductible. A deductible is when you have to pay the company a sum before they pay you. It’s usually not much (for example 250 USD, which may look small when you need tens of thousands of dollars for a hospital bill) yet worth bearing in mind.

Also, the maximum medical payout for these budget policies can be quite low, such as 100,000 USD. In most circumstances, that’s a lot of money. Yet if you were to need flights back to your home country for emergency surgery, the cost could easily run into six figures, especially if you’re from the United States. So it’s something else to keep present when you’re deciding what policy to shell out on.

Elsewhere, there’s insurance available for a visit lasting 1 to 6 months for 131.76 USD. This is notably costlier than the budget policies, yet the emergency medical coverage rises to 300,000 USD. So there’s a clear correlation between how much you’re paying and how much you’re insured for.

There’s a wide availability of travel insurance for Thailand online. If you’re on a budget and you want coverage, it could be advisable to take out the coverage you can afford rather than go without. In general though, the cost of your policy is only one factor to keep handy, alongside what you’re covered for and up to how much.

Do I Need Travel Insurance for Thailand?

It’s important to note that travel insurance is not yet mandatory for tourists to this country. However, the government is seriously considering making this compulsory for foreign visitors. One idea being floated is to charge arrivals at the airport a 20 Thai baht (0.65 USD) policy for 30 days’ coverage, with funds going towards Thailand’s Tourism Promotion Fund.

If and when this policy comes into place, you might wish to consider taking out a personal policy too. This is to ensure that you’re covered for all eventualities and possible costs, as well as those featured in Thailand’s mandatory policy.

In the meantime, whether to take out travel insurance remains a personal choice. You should decide based on the sort of holiday you’re planning to take (for example, if you’re canyoning down some waterfalls!) and, if it’s your first visit, how comfortable you feel in another perhaps quite different part of the world.

If you exercise your common sense and are careful with your belongings, you’ll reduce the likelihood of your needing insurance. On the other hand, if you’re a naturally cautious sort, then having insurance can take a worry off your mind anyway.

It’s worth remembering that Thailand is a developing country, so health and safety standards may not be comparable to what you’re used to if you’re visiting from a Western country like the United States or the UK. In particular, if you go out on a limb and try the street food at a Bangkok market stall, it’s quite normal for Western tourists to suffer from an upset stomach.

Moreover, it’s worth getting your vaccinations before you land in Thailand too. The WHO (World Health Organisation) recommends you get shots against

  • Chickenpox
  • Cholera
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Influenza
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Measles
  • Meningitis
  • Mumps and rubella (MMR)
  • Pneumonia
  • Polio
  • Rabies
  • Shingles
  • Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis)
  • Typhoid
  • Yellow fever

Of course, getting vaccinated for these diseases in advance helps reduce the risk that you’ll fall ill while you’re on holiday. This is useful to factor into your decision whether to take out travel insurance!

Best Travel Insurance for Thailand Reviews

To find reviews of other people’s experience with coverage for their Thai holiday, just look online. A number of bloggers write extensively about the different packages available. In addition, Thailand travel insurance is also widely discussed on well-known travel forums.

Ideally, you’ll find someone who’s undertaken a similar trip to what you’re planning and, based on whether they were satisfied with their policy, you can opt for similar coverage. This saves you some of the work of compiling and comparing all the policies available.

Can I Buy Travel Insurance in Thailand (for Foreign Tourists)?

It’s recommended that you obtain your coverage before you enter the country. In some cases, you can do so up to a year before you plan to take your trip, although you can also buy it just a few days in advance.

It’s important to buy your travel insurance before you arrive in Thailand because if you try and buy it once you’re already there, most of the more reputable providers won’t let you. In this case, you could have to choose between either going without insurance or acquiring insurance from a local Thai provider, which increases the likelihood of your dealing with inadequate coverage or scams.

Thailand Travel Insurance Advice and Useful Information

As we’ve explained above, the coverage you opt for is a matter of factors like:

  • How much you want to pay (cheaper policies cover you for lower amounts).
  • How long you’re visiting for (insurance is cheaper for shorter trips).
  • What you want to be covered for:
    • Trip cancellation (airline bookings, accommodation).
    • Stolen or damaged personal belongings.
    • Injury or illness (particularly if you’re being more adventurous).
  • Your age, nationality, current health and whether you’re travelling alone.

However, even with these factors in mind, it’s useful to note that most Thai insurance policies include certain limitations. These include:

  • Your insurance policy might not cover terrorism. So it’s best to heed your government’s warnings about the political stability of where you’re travelling to.
  • The provider could refuse to cover you if you contract an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection). This is because you might be deemed responsible for having had unprotected sex.
  • You may not be covered if you drive a motorbike or other two-wheeled vehicle. This is both because riding motorbikes is statistically far riskier than using a car and because driving in Thailand and other South Asian countries can be a chaotic experience!

If you make a claim, then be sure to have all relevant documents and paperwork handy. If you use a hospital in Bangkok, then get receipts proving what treatment you received and how much you paid. If you visit a pharmacy and want to claim that back, then keep your proof of purchase too. The more relevant proof you have to support your claim, the better.

Can I Get Travel Insurance for Thailand from India?

If you’re an Indian traveller then, yes, you can obtain travel insurance for your visit. There are a number of companies that cater specifically to the Indian market. As ever, it’s best to shop around and read reviews from existing customers on travel blogs and forums to find out which policy suits you best.