Travel Insurance, Don’t Leave Home Without It!

Throwing a life preserver

Whether you are going to Thailand for a few weeks or China to walk the Great Wall for the next year, make sure you don’t forget that the most important part of any trip is you. I wrote an article two years ago on Travel Insurance that was important but few people saw it because I was so new to blogging. Read it because it is just as relevant now as it was two years ago.

You are looking at spending thousands of dollars on airline tickets, hotels, new clothes and maybe even some new luggage but you aren’t thinking about the one thing that may save your life and hundreds of thousands of dollars…Travel Insurance. I know what you are thinking, “I’ll be fine, it’s only a few weeks”, what if you aren’t? A hospital stay in a foreign country is stressful enough, trying to figure out how to pay for it when you are injured isn’t going to be fun.

Most travel insurance for a two week trip can be had for as little as $30-$100 and covers everything from emergency medical to flights home. If you go about it the right way you can cover every possible problem of an upcoming trip. Usually most travel insurance companies have modules that you can add in for each type of insurance. You can start off with a basic emergency medical insurance and add in trip cancellation insurance, luggage insurance, flight insurance and just about anything else you can think of.

In countries such as Thailand it’s easy to think that any ailment will be pretty cheap so you could cover any medical expenses out of your pocket, it may be easy to think but you would be dead wrong…and dead could be the operative word here. While minor injuries in Thailand can be taken care of at a clinic for a tiny amount of money the major emergencies will set you back. Yes, they will still cost less than if you were in America but you could be looking at a few hundred thousand baht before all is said and done. At the very least this could be vacation ending.

One mistake a lot of travelers make is in thinking that their medical insurance that they have at home will cover them abroad, it won’t. 100% of all medical carriers will not cover you outside of your home country. Some may offer a travel rider that will cost you more but otherwise you are on your own to cover yourself. And still most people don’t.

I know, you’ll never be that person that gets hurt on vacation. Make sure to send out a press release to wherever it is you are going so everyone else there at the time gets with the program too. You may very well play it safe and not plan on doing anything  adventurous but how do you plan for that other tourist who’s plans have changed to include you accidentally? It may not be what you do but what gets done to you that lands you in the hospital.

Some hospitals may not have what is needed to help you or save your life, the right travel insurance will cover air lifts to other hospitals and or countries if needed and they may even include flying in a family member so you don’t have to go it alone.

I’m not here hawking any specific travel insurance, there are many good carriers out there and I suggest you do your own research to find the travel insurance that fits you and your vacation best. I’m just here to nag you into getting travel insurance because it really is the most important part of your trip, not your Ipod.

I’m bringing this up again now because I realized I’ve been at the clinic or hospital every visit to Thailand. From acute tonsillitis  and severe dehydration to cutting my foot open. I planned for none of it but it still happened. In the past month my girl has been bitten by a snake and in a motorcycle accident, both required hospital stays. Fortunately she is fine but it just goes to show you it doesn’t matter who you are or what you are doing , accidents will happen.

And like the old saying ” if you fail to plan then you plan to fail”.  Don’t plan to fail, get travel insurance before you go on any trip. You may never use it but that one time you need it you’ll be glad you have it.

sig1 Travel Insurance, Dont Leave Home Without It!

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Comment by RayNo Gravatar
2009-10-01 23:52:17

Nice post, this is certainly an issue when travelling in Thailand especially. You make the point that a unforeseen illness can be expensive by Thai standards but you should also make people aware that they can and should haggle with the bill, if you are a foreigner in Thailand you will be charged a hell of a lot more.

I have heard personal accounts from a number of people who were faced with massive bills getting them reduced after arguing their case.

One friend I know was in a bad motorcycle accident, smashed shoulder and a cracked skull, when a bill of over 300,000 baht was put in front of him he protested that he lived here and wanted a ‘Thai price’, he was then quoted 100,000 baht for the same treatment.

Quite a reduction I am sure you will agree.

I am not sure if this practice happens all over Thailand (although it probably does!) but thats the way it is in Samui and Phangan.

To finish off, I dont have medical insurance either :)

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-10-01 23:58:05

Ray, you are correct and it does happen all over Thailand. Falangs always get the higher price. I have had friends with compound fractures asked how they will be paying for a hospital stay before they were admitted!

If you don’t have insurance definitely haggle as if your life depended on it.

Having travel insurance negates all of that…no haggle no worry if you get the right insurance.

I’ve been luckier than my girlfriend, she is a little accident prone for a Thai. Hell, in Thailand just walking down the street can break an ankle. :)

Comment by MikeNo Gravatar
2009-10-02 02:41:36

Talen I can’t argue on this one. However many people do travel here without travel insurance. I always had a yearly worldwide policy before I moved here.

Like Ray I do not have medical insurance here, but that said I have enough in the bank to cover most things or at least get me patched up enough to flee to the UK!

I am not against medical insurance but premiums for over 60’s get a bit ridiculous.
Mike´s last blog ..The Accidental Expat. My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-10-02 21:01:25

Mike, why not get medical insurance? Bupa has some decent plans that won’t set you back too much…anything is better than dipping into savings.

Comment by martynNo Gravatar
2009-10-02 14:08:47

Talen sound advice and one that is ignored by plenty. My insurance is covered by my bank and is a great ease of mind to me but so many choose to ignore the simple fundamentals of a planned holiday. In the UK you can get ample year round insurance for about 50 dollars but the like of the Pattaya goers look on that as one good time with a lady or two rather than peace of mind about security thousands of miles from home. You can never teach the young or frugal, they know it all.
martyn´s last blog ..My Girl – Chameleon My ComLuv Profile

Comment by CatherineNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-10-02 17:02:33

Excellent advice Talen. I’m a big supporter of travel insurance.

It is especially important for those coming to Thailand.

I’ve had the son of a friend get into a dispute with a huge hospital bill while on holiday in Thailand (his parents complained to me as soon as they knew I was a resident here). And after listening to the account, it did sound like he’d been ‘done’.

I’ve also read many online reports of tourists getting into accidents where they were taken direct to the most fru-fru hospital around, with the costs skyrocketing into crazy heights (at times over what they would pay in their home countries).

And in Thailand, there is no ‘pay later’ deal. You pay now.
Catherine´s last blog ..Thai 101 Learners Series: More on Titles My ComLuv Profile

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-10-02 21:02:53

I have heard many of the same stories Cat…and it’s never good to haggle while you are still actively bleeding.

Comment by Better Photo SchoolNo Gravatar Subscribed to comments via email
2009-11-30 20:53:14

It is better just to have the piece of mind no matter where you are going.

I had travel insurance for Asia only not to bother with Australia and guess what!! On a long train trip I had my rucksack stolen from the luggage rack.

The places you think might be safe are the ones that often trip you up…..

Patrick | BPS
Better Photo School ´s last blog ..How to shoot fireworks My ComLuv Profile

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