Travel insurance for Thailand
Score travel insurance for Thailand from as little as $2/day*.
Thailand lures thousands of Aussies to its shores with its stunning scenery and exotic culture. Before you head off make sure you're covered on the off-chance a Thai-tanic disaster strikes.
It'll only take a few short minutes to compare and get covered, so you can hit the beaches with as little care in the world as possible.
Must read: Last updated 2 July 2019
The Thai government may be introducing compulsory travel insurance for all tourists to cover up to 1 million Thai Baht (approx. $46,804AUD) in cases of death. This can be purchased at the immigration offices at the airport for about 20 Baht ($0.94AUD), but remember, it doesn't cover you for other travel-related expenses - that's what travel insurance is for!
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*Based on a 15-day trip to Thailand for a 25-year-old traveller getting a basic travel insurance policy.
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What you need to know about travel insurance in Thailand
What does travel insurance cover me for in Thailand?
Travel insurance can save having to fork out extra cash in the event you're injured or your personal items are lost or stolen. It can cover you for the following:
- Medical and evacuation expenses. More Aussies are hospitalised or killed in Thailand than any other travel destination according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). With no reciprocal health care arrangement and a lower standard of health care, it's one destination you don't want to be without travel medical cover. If you require private hospital care then upfront payments are required, which your travel insurance typically foots so you're not out of pocket. Without insurance, you'll incur this cost yourself.
- Extreme activities. High-risk activities like jet-skiing, bungee jumping and scuba diving are popular in Thailand. Cover for these activities can be added as extras to your travel insurance policy.
- Loss or damage of personal property. Thailand is known for petty crimes such as theft. Travel insurance can ensure you'll be compensated if your items are lost or stolen.
- Cancellations or changes to your planned journeys. If you need to cancel plans completely or come home early, policies with cancellation protection can foot the bill.
- Personal accident and liability protection. In the event you cause injury to another person or property, liability protection can cover your legal costs.
What extra cover can I get for Thailand?
Basic travel insurance policies cover medical and property loss, but exclude risky activities such as adventure sports. If you're undertaking the activities below, you may like to consider adding extra cover to your policy:
- Adventurous activities
- Motorcycle or moped riding
- Emergency dental treatment
- Expensive cameras or computers
- Funeral expenses (dying overseas can be expensive for your loved ones at home and this is not typically included in basic cover)
Travel insurance exclusions
Unfortunately, travel insurance can't cover you for everything and common exclusions across the board include:
- Dangerous activities. This can include activities such as sky diving, scuba diving, motorbike riding or hot air ballooning. Specific excluded activities vary per insurer and if yours doesn't cover your desired activity it's best you inquire about additional cover.
- Country exclusions. Certain policies exclude specific countries. If you're visiting other countries on your trip, ensure your policy covers them.
- Working exclusions. Many travel insurance policies cover recreational travellers only. If you plan to work while overseas check the policy covers you or seek out additional cover.
- Contributory negligence. While you may be covered if your belongings are lost or stolen, the fine print in your policy may say that you are not covered if you contribute to their loss or theft by leaving them unattended or in an insecure place.
- Pre-existing medical conditions. If you have a medical condition that you don’t tell the insurer about and you need treatment for it whilst overseas, you may be denied cover for it.
- Reckless behaviour. Excessive drinking, drug taking and any other deliberate behaviour that puts you in danger can void your claim.
- Ignoring government advice. If the Australian government has issued warnings advising against travelling to Thailand, your policy will not cover you if anything happens to you. Keep on top of safety updates and warnings with Smarttraveller.
How much does Thailand travel insurance cost?
As mentioned above, it's possible to be covered for incidents and accidents for as little as $2 per day.
That's the rock-bottom price for a 25-year-old travelling for 15 days, but insurance costs differ depending on your age, travel dates and type of cover.
Instead of looking at price alone, we looked at 10,000 quotes requested through finder's quote engine and discovered that the most common Thailand travellers are 46–55 years old. They tend to ditch the bare-bones basic cover for more generous cover, spending an average of $72.69 per policy, which is more than enough to purchase comprehensive cover for a 14-day trip.
What does a policy for 46–55 year olds travelling to Thailand look like?
We peg the average policy spend and what it can get you against the most basic cover available to see exactly what it includes... and what it does not.
|Policy features||Average costing policy for $72.69||Basic policy at $32.13*|
|Alternative travel expenses||$5,000||Not included|
|Luggage and personal effects daily allowance||$500||Not included|
|Overseas emergency medical assistance||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Travel delay||$2,000||Not included|
|Cancellation fees and lost deposits||Unlimited||$5,000 for family emergencies|
|Luggage and personal effects||$10,000||Not included|
|Overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses||Unlimited||Unlimited|
|Default excess on claims||$100||$250|
How to stay safe in Thailand
Thailand poses numerous safety risks ranging from petty theft and drink spiking to motorcycle accidents and an unstable political climate. While not all can be helped, you can reduce these risks by being vigilant and keeping these safety tips in mind:
- Keep abreast of the political situation: Visitors to Thailand should be vigilant to avoid dangerous situations such as the recent bombings in Bangkok. DFAT warns visitors to be aware of the political climate and any warnings issued by the Australian government before leaving home and while in Thailand.
- Take care when riding motorcycles. Motorcycle or moped riding is common in Thailand, for tourists and locals alike. They may not check when hiring one or the other, but if you don't have a licence and are involved in an accident, know that you won't be covered by your travel insurance policy.
- Watch your drink. Drink spiking is a common occurrence. Keep your drink with you at all times and refrain from excessive alcohol consumption as this makes you more of a target and can lead to hospitalisation.
- Know the laws and customs. Tourists are not always welcome in some areas and local laws and customs need to be respected and observed. Some you should observe, should you wish to avoid legal fees your insurer won't cover are:
- Don't do drugs: Thailand has no-tolerance laws for possession and supply of illicit drugs. Participating in drug-related activity can result in the death sentence.
- Don't deface the image of the king: This includes Thai money. The maximum jail time for this offence is up to 15 years imprisonment.
- Don't drink in public places: It is illegal to drink in temples, pharmacies, parks, petrol stations, schools and universities. Breaking this law can land you six months jail time.
- Don't bribe the cops: Even though some people do it, bribery is illegal and can lead to jail time.
- Beware of scams. Common scams in the country include:
- Fake airport taxis. From pretending to get lost to simply overcharging, dodgy drivers can hurt your hip pocket. Make sure to never get into an unmarked vehicle and always organise airport transfers through your hotel.
- The jet ski scam. This scam is usually associated with jet skis but can also occur with car, scooter and motorbike hire. When you return your hire vehicle you'll be accused of causing significant underbody damage and ordered to pay a large sum. If you use this method of travel get photographic evidence that shows the existing condition of the vehicle. Letting the hire company operators see you do this will also let them know you’re aware of the scam.
- Corrupt cops. Police corruption is a big problem in Thailand and many of the local cops are quite happy to accept bribes. The basic premise behind this scam involves police accusing you of something, such as shoplifting or breaking the road rules, then demanding payment so that you can pay your way out of trouble. The best thing you can do to avoid this is to act sensibly, learn the local laws and stick to them.
- Gem scheme. If you're ever approached by a stranger offering to sell you gems at a highly discounted price, be sceptical. Whatever you end up purchasing will likely be worthless or never make it to your shipping address.
- The stolen scooter scam. You rent a motorbike or scooter, pay a deposit and hand over your passport. When you leave your bike unattended later in the day, you're shocked to discover it has been stolen and you then have to pay to replace it. Don't leave your bike unattended or travel further away from the place of hire to avoid this one.
Six steps to comparing travel insurance for Thailand
When selecting the level of travel insurance for Thailand ask yourself these six questions:
- Where in Thailand are you going? Some parts of Thailand can be dangerous and prone to cancellations, for example, the border with Malaysia. Make sure you are covered for any questionable regions.
- How many times will you visit Thailand this year? Decide on single trip or annual multi-trip cover.
- What activities in Thailand will you take part in? If you plan on motorcycling in Phuket, make sure your travel insurance policy provides cover and you follow the appropriate rules.
- Are you taking valuable items? Consider extra cover for expensive cameras and electronics.
- Do you have any medical conditions? Declare any pre-existing medical conditions and make sure your policy covers medical cover.
- Do you prefer paying more upfront or only when you have to claim? Look at both the price of the policy and excess required for claims.
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