This is a no frills, straight to the point mini-guide to help you get insured in Thailand.
If you are going to Thailand on holiday you do not want to be just shopping around looking for the lowest priced policy possible. Instead, you need to compare value for money and make sure that you are fully covered. It is vital that you check the small print to find out whether such things as ambulance charges and an emergency flight home is included in the policy description. Also, you need to check that all of the activities you want to do in Thailand are covered in case of an accident. If you want to just chill out in a resort then you’ll have a wide range of policies to choose from, but you will have to narrow down your choice of cover if you want to go scuba diving, snorkeling, go-karting or riding a motorcycle etc. A policy where you can immediately claim online will be much better than if you take out a policy that needs to be settled by snail mail.
To start you off on your search, here is a link to Lonely Planet travel insurance services. They offer an online claims service, policy extension when you extend your travel time and cover a range of adventure activities.
Note: we are not affiliated with any of the insurance companies linked to in this article.
Long-Term Health Insurance
If you want to become an expat in Thailand and perhaps retire there, you’ll need good health insurance cover. Some of the writers here personally are with and recommend Bupa Blue Cross health insurance. They have individual, family and even group cover plans, where you can tailor a policy that will cover you in Thailand. They even have premium cover if you want to be comprehensively covered and have piece of mind. You can even factor in preexisting medical condition cover if you already have a medical condition. You will be issued with a card that you can take with you to the hospital, where the hospital will be able to make a claim immediately and take it off your bill. Always go to a well-known and recommended hospital in Thailand, rather than the small ‘clinics’, as some clinics can really take you for a ride on the bill. Some clinics in tourist areas even charge a couple of thousand baht extra on top of the bill for you to pay personally, just because you are a foreigner, for no apparent logical reason. If you are able to, drive or take transport to a good hospital outside of any tourist area, as you’ll generally find the level of service better.
Car / Motorbike Insurance
This is not a time to mince words here . . . driving on Thailand’s roads is chaotic and dangerous. Thailand was recently pegged as the second most dangerous country to drive or ride a motorcycle in, second only to Libya. You want the best insurance you can get. If you have to get a motorbike, then okay, but if you can afford a car or even a second hand car it will cut down your odds of dying on the roads dramatically.
CMI – Compulsory Motor Insurance can be bought from Department of Land Transport offices. This policy will cover third party damages and other drivers and their passengers, so if you are driving a car that looks like it’s from the local scrap yard then this policy will do. However, if you have a nice car or motorbike you’ll want to also buy voluntary additional cover on top. If you can, get ‘type 1’ insurance which not only covers your vehicle, but also fire and theft, plus natural disaster insurance. For an explanation of insurance policy tiers you can check out directasia where you can also order the insurance online without traveling to a DLT office.
If you own just a back pack, a laptop and a plane ticket, don’t bother with life insurance. On the other hand, if you have loved ones who will depend on life insurance in the event of an untimely death then it is well worth it.
Firstly, don’t go with AIA insurance; their sales reps are primarily trained to sell you the most expensive policy going and will be gunning for commission. If you need to make a claim, the person who sold you the policy will usually be pretty useless when you need advice after they nail a sale. Take out life insurance with a reputable company with offices well based in Thailand. Friends Provident have been recommended, where a policy can be taken out through an independent financial advisor (IFA), as they don’t deal directly with the public. The tricky part is finding an IFA who is trustworthy and has your interests at heart. Do not follow recommendations online, as the referrer is usually getting a commission, instead, do the ground work yourself and ask around the trustworthy people you know for advice.