Walter van der Wal

The importance of insurance for protection against accidents

The common types of accidents and risks in Thailand for expats and travelers alike


Good morning Bangkok and hello to everyone reading this post!!!  Starting another day in the ‘city of angels’ always fills me with joy. 

The capital as I personally know it to be is an extraordinary hub for most of the commercial, gastro-beverage, tourist and economic activities. Appreciated by travelers and expats for its endless points of interest and versatility, you will never run out of things to do see and do. So bring it on!

On my way to work this morning, I couldn’t help but notice the massive traffic jams on both sides of the roads. Stretching as far as the eyes can see, there were numerous motorcycles zig-zagging between cars, with some coming within inches of the side mirrors at speed. Knowing that I had plenty of time, I was walking along the top of the sky-walk when I happened to glance across to a group of backpackers looking somewhat bewildered by the road crossing.

It must've been one of those, “How do we get across the road?” moments.

I then saw them crossing precariously when suddenly the lights turned green and all the vehicles burst from the line with their exhaust fuming. Fortunately, they lunged back in time without getting seriously hurt.

Although I was relieved that they made it back to the side in time, thoughts began flooding my mind.

What if the worse happened, do they have accidental death and dismemberment insurance to cover them in Thailand? What would I consider to protect myself in that situation?

And so in today’s post with my thoughts firmly in mind, I want to highlight the common types of accidents and risks in Thailand for expats and travelers alike. But also to remind you that having insurance to cover accidents and disasters is a must to protect from the dangers as listed below.

Road Accidents

Thailand, unfortunately, has a very poor record for road safety. The country is ranked second for the highest road traffic fatality in the world at 36.2 deaths per 100,000. 

It is estimated that in a year roughly 24,000 deaths occur, which equates to roughly 66 deaths a day. At least 48 motorcyclists are killed each day which is shocking. So if you are planning on using a motorbike to get to work in the city, or traveling on a wild adventure, consider the following safety precautions:

Do some research into getting accident death and dismemberment insurance to cover you completely.

Look into wearing the right gear such as a helmet, clothing, and gloves.

Don’t break the law. Get an official license and learn the highway code for riding bikes safely in Thailand.

Never compromise yourself and the safety of others. Ask yourself whether you really need a bike as opposed to public transport

Road accidents, therefore, are a real risk for everyone traveling and working in Thailand. We can never be sure and getting insurance cover will make your travel arrangements a lot more stress-free.  

Alcohol

Unless you are drinking from a clean vessel you should be fine. But it is important to consider the number of units you drink and what you plan to do if you become drunk or intoxicated.

Thailand is known for its cheap beers and deals. Especially with the wave of craft beers taking the spotlight and a gin revolution kicking off. Most road deaths occur because of alcohol consumption. It is extremely dangerous to drink and drive or be in control of any motorized vehicle for that matter.

Ending in a crash or falling from your motorbike can either end your life instantly, or leave you with a limb or two less. Know your limits and stay with people you know that can take care of you. In this case, having the right insurance can guard you against some high medical bills and save you from living in regret, not to mention financial debt and insecurities.

Malaria

For travelers heading to the tropical jungles of Thailand, or to a natural secluded lake,e warned that you are increasing your risk of contracting a mosquito-borne infectious disease known as Malaria.

Although prevalent in the country as a whole, you are statistically more likely to get infected in places where water is stagnant and there are plenty of vegetation offering shade and protection for mosquitoes. So venturing into a jungle on an unknown path to fulfill your epic experience may not be a wise idea.

Malaria causes flu-like symptoms and the best way to prevent is to take antimalarial drugs and seek medication attention. Hospitalization in Thailand is expensive so having the right insurance cover can ease the burden and help you on the road to recovery with specialist treatment.  

Wild animals and the animal tourism industry

There have been numerous stories of travelers getting too close to wild animals and as a consequence getting killed. For example, wild elephants perceiving trekkers as a threat and so charging and crushing victims. Even in elephant camps, there were cases where tourists riding on the back of these domesticated elephants would fall off and fatally injure themselves. In addition, crocodiles, venomous snakes, and poisonous insects also pose a risk to travelers.

Snakes, especially in the rural parts of the country including the tropical resorts for tourists, are known to wander into people’s properties and striking in defense. I would definitely recommend getting insurance for these kinds of activities, as the risks are high if you are thinking of participating or traveling in the wild.

Drowning

The beaches of Thailand are known across the globe for offering paradise experiences like no other, therefore attracting tourists, expats, and locals all wanting a share of the beautiful landscape. The water can be crystal clear in places offering the perfect conditions for scuba-diving or snorkeling. Waves along the west coast of southern Thailand are strong,  and so giving surfers the best chance to catch a good surf.

Many watersports are also popular such as wakeboarding and jet-skiing. However, accidents and sometimes deaths do occur along these picturesque shores. Many have drowned as a result of rip currents pulling them away from the shore or crashing in the waves at high speed. Box Jellyfish themselves pose a threat and have caused deaths to swimmers in the past by paralyzing the body and respiratory organs of swimmers, thus causing them to drown.

The sea is full of dangers wherever you are and having insurance that covers you from personal accidents and death is critical to ensure you can put those worries to the back of your mind and enjoy the experience.

Food poisoning

Thailand is a haven for its food and drinks. Everywhere you look while traveling in the country, you will be tempted by something delicious - whether it’s the classic papaya salad and sticky rice or a fresh coconut green curry. All delicious and happy? Well, be warned about what and where you eat.

Not everywhere has the same level of standards as described here. Most travelers will come across at some point in their travels a serious bout of diarrhea. Gastrointestinal infections commonly result from contaminated food and water due to poor hand and hygiene practices.

Thailand is commonly known for its street food offering so much to eat. However, these places that are located along the streets, public roads and alleys are not always regulated or warrant top standards for hygiene. Endless dust and pollution, as well as poor cleaning facilities, can mean the food is easily contaminated.

Waterborne diseases can also seriously end your food experience and take you to the hospital. My advice is to observe and think twice about where and what you eat. Be sure to check reviews and don’t hesitate to ask about the food.

But just to be sure having insurance coverage can save you from a lot of grief when needing specialty help and treatment at the hospital for your bowel problems.

Last, but not least - please do ask me and my team for impartial advice.

Although, my list is not too extensive it does, however, highlight the importance of specific insurance products such as Accidental Death and Dismemberment and personal accident insurance when in Thailand for travelers and expats. I strongly recommend you check these out to help you make a wise decision. Short term health insurance for foreigners and travelers is also an option for those staying for a limited time.

My team’s time and expertise are free of charge for you as well. So if you’re looking into changing your current plan to a new one, removing or adding certain benefits, or you are simply new at the whole international health insurance matter, engaging an insurance broker, such as Pacific Prime Thailand is a smart choice.

Contact me or my team today for a free affordable health insurance quote. You can rest assured we’ll do anything in our power to match your requirements and needs.




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