Over the course of the pandemic, travel insurance in Thailand has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “definitely-must-have”.
As a British expatriate in Thailand, I’m glad to be here during the COVID-19 pandemic, as the country has been largely successful in containing the spread of the virus. Unlike many of its counterparts, the Thai healthcare system is also fairly robust and there’s been little concern over whether it’ll be able to cope.
Needless to say, the authorities want to keep it that way, ensuring that all foreigners arriving at the Kingdom’s shores can access and pay for healthcare via mandatory COVID-19 travel insurance. It’s one of many requirements that visitors must adhere to, causing a fair amount of confusion and frustration. In this blog, I’ll shed light on the matter.
Latest requirements for entry into Thailand
First things first, simply getting the COVID-19 travel insurance doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to enter Thailand. It’s advisable to check with your local Thai embassy or consulate to see if you’re eligible to enter, as each country may have slightly different rules and procedures. Moreover, the list continually changes as the pandemic develops.
For your reference, I checked with the Thai Embassy in London. According to their website, they stipulate that only the following groups of foreigners are allowed to enter Thailand at the time of writing:
- Diplomats and officials of international organizations
- Work permit holders, those going to work, or those going for business
- Family members of Thai nationals (spouse/children)
- Medical tourists
- Students in formal education at schools or university level
- Certificate of Residence holders
- Long stay visa holders (Non-Immigrant O-A/O-X)
- Elite card holders
- Property owners in Thailand
- Tourists with a single entry tourist visa
Note: If you’re from a country that’s eligible for the new Special Tourist Visa (STV), you’re advised to get in touch with the Thailand Long Stay Company, as they’re a visa agency authorized to assist applicants with the STV.
Mandatory COVID-19 travel insurance
Once you’ve determined your eligibility to enter Thailand, you can get the ball rolling with your application. You’ll need to obtain a Certificate of Entry (CoE), in addition to any relevant visas, from your local Thai embassy or consulate. In order to do so, one of the many requirements is securing a mandatory COVID-19 travel insurance policy that has a coverage level of at least USD 100,000.
The two components of the insurance are:
- Medical expenses: There should be an insurance coverage of at least USD 100,000, so that you don’t have to pay out-of-pocket medical expenses at hospitals in Thailand if you get COVID-19.
- Life insurance compensation: In the event that there is death from COVID-19 infection, the insurer should also provide a life insurance compensation of USD 100,000 to your beneficiary.
The insurance policy can be easily and conveniently purchased online, becoming valid as soon as you pass through Thai immigration. If you’re looking to buy the insurance, make sure the insurer gives you a certificate, as this will be one of the supporting documents in your applications for a CoE.
As the Thai Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) has endorsed this new health insurance policy, Thailand is the latest country to offer its own travel insurance policy that provides coverage for COVID-19. Premiums will be priced according to the risk level in the country of origin and cover periods of 30 days up to 12 months.
Not to be confused with other health insurance requirements
In addition to the mandatory COVID-19 travel insurance, certain visa holders also have to meet other health insurance requirements. For instance, long stay visitors on Non-Immigrant O-A/O-X visas and tourists on the STV will also need health insurance with outpatient coverage of at least THB 40,000 and inpatient coverage of at least THB 400,000.
Securing travel and health insurance
Truth be told, the process can be incredibly puzzling. Not only do you have to keep up with the changing (and let’s face it, bureaucratic) regulations, but you also have to familiarize yourself with insurance terms to understand what the policy you’re purchasing entails and whether it’s suitable for your purposes.
As I work for health insurance broker Pacific Prime Thailand, I’ve helped many clients secure appropriate policies for their visa applications. With so much to do in support of your application, having an insurance consultant on hand, who can provide unbiased and expert advice, can take a lot of the stress away.
If you’d like to learn more about health insurance in Thailand, including mandatory COVID-19 travel insurance, or even get advice on your personal situation, you’re more than welcome to get in touch. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact one of my colleagues.