Ricky Batten

Celebrating Thai New Year

Alcohol and your health insurance


Alcohol and celebrations often go hand-in-hand, and the Thai New Year is no different. But what does that mean for your insurance? 

The Thai New Year is quickly approaching! And with it, Thailand’s annual Songkran festival, which is celebrated from April 13th to 15th. This year, the 12th has been included in the public holidays so everyone can enjoy a five-day long break. Many locals return home to spend time with family while others stay in town for more of a celebration. No matter how you choose to spend your Songkran, there’s likely going to be alcohol involved, especially after the year we have been through. 

But just like New Years celebrations all over the world, alcohol (and the excessive consumption of it) can turn a good time on its head. In this blog, I’ll share some things you should know how alcohol can impact your insurance rates

Alcohol and Songkran: A dangerous combination

Songkran usually centers around water splashing and traditional events. But since the Thai government has banned water splashing this year, we’ll probably see a gentler, more traditional approach instead of big water fights. Whether or not that will change how much alcohol people drink has yet to be seen. What we do know is that plenty of alcohol is consumed during the holiday, so much so that there have been proposals to ban alcohol during Songkran in recent years.

I wondered why people would try to ban alcohol until I heard about all the alcohol-related dangers that happen during this time of year. Driving in Thailand is already dangerous enough on any given day, but the number of road casualties goes up even more during the holidays. Drunk drivers are a major reason behind the increase of accidents during Songkran. Sexual harassment is also more common during the Thai New Year, with drunks groping women and behaving in other inappropriate ways.  

It won’t take long for you to see that alcohol is a big part of the Songkran celebrations. The thing that is worrying is that our actions can be harmful when we are under the influence and unaware of the consequences. When it comes to tips for a safe Songkran holiday, my best advice is to use common sense. Even if you are going to drink, you should still know how alcohol consumption affects your insurance plan. 

Alcohol consumption and your insurance

When it comes to your health insurance, alcohol that’s detected in your blood can be enough for an insurer to deny any claims you need to make under your policy. So if you’re going to consume alcohol over the Songkran holidays, here are some things you need to understand. 

What intoxication means in insurance terms

Health insurance policies can use ambiguous wording, and defining intoxication is no different. As a policyholder, you should go over your insurance documents to find out how your insurer will determine intoxication levels when it comes to making a claim. Usually, insurance companies will refer to a police or doctor’s report to measure how drunk you were when you had your accident. That means if your blood alcohol level is above the local legal limit, your claim will probably be rejected. 

Health insurance exclusions

Policy documents also include statements that refer to exclusions, or times where an insurer can reject your claim. For instance, international plans sometimes include a clause that says treatment that is a result of using substances is excluded. Since this can include not only alcohol but drugs and medicines as well, you need to be careful when deciding how to let loose over the holidays. 

Driving under the influence

Besides being illegal and dangerous, anything that happens to you or other people while you’re operating a vehicle and under the influence will void your insurance. Being drunk while riding a motorbike or driving a car is a quick and easy way to lose coverage. The next time you’re thinking about hitting the road while inebriated, think about the financial risk that comes with doing so.

Hopefully the points I mentioned help you see why it’s important to be careful about how much alcohol you consume. Even if you’re not drinking, the reality is that you can become the victim in an accident or incident during your time in Thailand. Thailand has many world-class medical facilities for you to choose from, though the international-standard hospitals can set you back quite a bit. Comprehensive international health insurance is your best bet, and allows you to enjoy your time here with minimal stress. 

If you’d like to learn more about health insurance in Thailand, I’m always up for a quick chat. You can email me at ajarn@pacificprime.co.th or get in touch with my team at Pacific Prime, who can help you compare health insurance prices in Thailand, offer impartial advice, and more. 




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