Why you MUST buy travel insurance, and which policy is best for you
Travel insurance is essential when taking a holiday in Thailand. Visit hospital without it, and the bills could be enormous – we’re talking more than £20,000 and sometimes higher for serious problems.
There are countless stories of tourists who have had accidents, fallen ill or even died while on holiday, making massive bills for their families at home.
These are the three main reasons why anybody taking a trip to Thailand should ensure that they have at the least, basic travel cover, or if they can afford it – the best travel insurance available.
So basically travel insurance is very important. Someone told me once that they don’t ever buy travel insurance as they thought it was a scam. They’d been a teacher in Thailand for a couple of years, never been to the hospital, and believed they were invincible. Don’t listen to idiots like this – always get travel cover, even if it’s just for peace of mind.
There are different types of policies available and different ways of booking. Single trip cover, specialist cover from independent brokers, backpackers travel insurance, or annual trip insurance.
These are five important factors to check that all insurance policies include before buying them….
- Ambulances and emergency flights home – basic but some policies do not include this
- Payment direct to hospitals rather than paying up front, then claiming the money back later through the travel insurance company
- Cover for any many common holiday activities in Thailand such as snorkeling, or riding a motorcycle (even as a passenger on a motorcycle taxi)
- Travel insurance covers all the electronics and gadgets on the trip like iPhones, Macbooks, iPads, cameras, Gopros etc etc
- The cost for flying bodies back home. It’s a grim point, but very important for elderly travelers and those with conditions. Should the very worst happen, loading a corpse onto a plane is very, very expensive
Best online travel insurance providers for holidays to Thailand
For a simple holiday up to four weeks, the quickest, easiest and often the cheapest way to buy travel insurance is through a price comparison site. MoneySupermarket, Confused.com and GoCompare are some of the biggest, and pull together quotes from all the companies. There are basic options from just £10, or more expensive versions up to £100 for a single trip with five star defacto ratings and zero excess charges (the amount paid to make a claim).
Specialist travel insurance for people who have medical problems
For anyone with pre-existing medical conditions the risk of them having problems is increased by being in a different country, that’s hot and polluted with different food to what they’re used to. For specialist policies like this, we recommend visiting an insurance broker in person to discuss the issues. There are lots of independent travel insurance companies in cities, and they will be able to give specialist, personal advice face-to-face and the guarantees for peace at mind. Price comparison sites do quotes for people with medical conditions, too.
The best travel insurance for backpackers staying for longer than one month
Backpackers and travellers, or ‘digital nomads’ as some have come to be known now, often stay abroad for longer than one month, which is the standard amount of time covered by single trip travel insurance. Anyone who is planning a longer holiday will need to take extra cover. It is more expensive. Thankfully many of the price comparison sites now offer this service, however, for peace of mind it is always best to call them first and get every detail of the policy ironed out to ensure that you are adequately covered. The Lonely Planet recommends World Nomads.
The best annual trip travel insurance policies
A popular option for people who travel to Thailand two or three times a year, or go to other destinations in the year, is to buy one policy, that annual travel insurance policy. This should cover unlimited travel abroad for the entire year and anything that happens. Yes, it is more expensive to pay the lump sum up front, but it saves time and often it is cheaper than booking new policies throughout the year for each trip. There’s also the added bonus of being able to thoroughly research the cover beforehand to make sure everything is included, rather than booking online at the last minute.
Booking travel insurance really isn’t that hard, and it isn’t too expensive. The cheapest is just £10 while for the ultimate, best-rated cover, it’s still only £70 a fit person going on holiday. This is small compared with the amount that the holiday is costing, a tiny fraction of the medical cost if something does go wrong.
If you need any more reason to consider travel insurance, take a look at these stories of tourists who have had accidents or illnesses and ran up huge bills for themselves and their families, including a British woman who spent two months in a hospital in Bangkok hospital before her life-support machine was turned off.