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Travel Insurance For Thailand
More than 800,000 Australians headed to Thailand in 20171. Aussies enjoy its beaches and the full moon parties, and not to mention its amazing street food and friendly culture.
But like many destinations, it’s important to be appropriately prepared before travelling to Thailand. The Australian government suggests exercising a high degree of caution when visiting there2, so make sure you have the right travel insurance before setting off on your Thai adventure.
Popular Thailand activities: how they might affect your insurance
Thailand has something for all kinds of travellers: gorgeous resorts for beach bums, incredible snorkelling, culture and history, vibrant big cities with the nightlife to match, and let’s not forget the incredible food for travelling gourmets. Here’s our picks of some popular tourist activities and things you should be aware of.
• Moped and motorcycle riding: Riding a moped or a motorcycle is a popular way to get around Thailand and its busy traffic. Before you travel, check with your travel insurer if you’re covered for riding a motorcycle and if any restrictions apply. For example, some policies won’t provide cover if you aren’t licensed to ride a motorcycle back home. Make sure you, and any passengers, always wear a helmet and another other required protection.
• Jet ski riding: Similarly to motorcycles, some insurance policies won’t provide cover if you aren’t licensed to ride a jet ski at home. There have also been incidents of harassment and threats of violence by some jet ski operators in parts of Thailand2. Make sure to check the operator’s insurance policy and take photographs of the jet ski, including underneath,PO to record its condition before riding. Never provide your passport as a deposit or guarantee.
• Full moon parties: Attending full moon parties in Thailand is a must-do for many travellers, especially the young and the young-at-heart. But remember to be sensible about your partying choices. Thailand has strict laws and penalties for drug offences, and no travel insurance policy will be able to help you should you end up on the wrong side of the law. These parties are also frequented by pickpockets2.
• Visit an animal sanctuary: Thailand has animal sanctuaries that allow you to get up close with impressive beasts like elephants, tigers and more. We suggest taking the time to find an ethically run business, and remember to follow instructions on how to engage safely with the animals. A frightened or startled animal could be dangerous and unpredictable.
• Water sports: Snorkelling and scuba diving are fantastic in many areas of Thailand, but safety standards may not always be as rigorous as in Australia. Check that your insurance policy covers these activities, and always use available safety equipment such as life jackets. If an operator isn’t providing safety equipment, it’s best to use a different provider.
• Martial arts: If you’re a martial arts enthusiast and plan to train in Thailand, for example by taking a kickboxing class, make sure your policy will cover this activity as a specific inclusion.
Potential problems in Thailand
The Australian government lists several reasons for travellers to exercise caution when travelling to Thailand2. In recent years, there has been civil unrest and violence, particularly in the southern provinces, as well as terror attaches and widespread seasonal flooding. Tourists can fall victim to thieves, road accidents, and various illnesses including food poisoning, dengue fever, malaria, and Zika2.
The cost of medical repatriation can be terrifyingly expensive and run up a bill for tens of thousands of dollars3, so it’s just not worth the risk. Medical care in Thailand is fairly cheap, but complex treatment after a serious injury could be expensive.
Cancellation fees and lost deposits
Thailand has tsunamis, floods, earthquakes and volcanoes – all of which can force the disruption or cancellation of your travel plans. There’s also accidents and other events beyond your control that can be covered. Remember, if you travel in spite of warnings about an impending natural disaster, your insurance policy may not cover you.
Luggage and possessions
Theft is common in Thailand2, especially in the tourist-heavy areas. Your travel insurance will cover any losses, as well as the loss of cash and travel documents if you choose comprehensive insurance.
If you injure someone or damage property in Thailand a policy that includes personal liability insurance could give you a greater degree of security.
All policies differ but adding extras like cover for pet boarding if you’re delayed, or permanent disability insurance, will offer more security.
What isn’t covered?
Risky behaviour like riding a moped without an Australian licence or helmet isn’t covered – if you’re hurt, you’re liable.
If you’re planning to attend a martial arts class in Thailand, make sure that your insurance covers it. You may need to pay extra if it doesn’t.
Monitor your possessions because most policies won’t pay if you leave your goods unattended and they’re stolen. You must report thefts or losses to the police and your insurer within 24 hours.
Alcohol-related injuries and incidents aren’t covered and no insurance will help if you’re caught with drugs, so drink in moderation and leave everything else alone.
Heed travel advice, because if you ignore warnings from the Australian government and go to a dangerous area, you won’t be covered.
High-risk activities like scuba diving, rafting, elephant treks and climbing are all fun, but you must ensure your policy covers them. If it doesn’t, buy separate insurance. Some pre-existing conditions might not be covered so you may want to pay an extra premium for peace of mind.
Find the right Thailand travel insurance policy for your needs
With the right policy, you can relax and enjoy all your Thai adventure has to offer, secure in the knowledge that should the unexpected happen, you’re covered. At iSelect, we’ll help you to compare policies and help you find the right travel insurance for your needs.
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