Walter van der Wal

Southeast Asia travel insurance: what you need to know

You may think that nothing bad will happen to you during your travels, but some things just can’t be predicted!

Whether you are visiting Thailand short-term, or planning to travel around Asia from your Thai home base, it is wise to have travel insurance in place. In my opinion, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to cover the costs of an emergency either! 

The beauty of travel insurance is that it’s highly customizable: If you’re planning to stay in Thailand alone for less than a year, short-term coverage may be sufficient. However, if you plan to travel around, then Southeast Asia travel insurance can save you both trouble and money. 

Why is travel insurance important?

You may think that nothing bad will happen to you during your travels, but some things just can’t be predicted! Missed flights, damaged luggage, or food poisoning can ruin all the fun during and after your stay abroad. My advice? When you’re traveling in Southeast Asia, or anywhere else in the world, it’s just not worth taking the risk. 

3 reasons for securing Southeast Asia travel insurance

Medical care isn’t cheap in Southeast Asia.

Not everything is cheap in Southeast Asia! Medical costs can be high, especially for treatments in private hospitals, where the staff is more likely to speak English or other languages. You probably don’t want to communicate in sign language with the local hospital staff, right? 

Another important thing that most travel policies cover is medical evacuation, which is a process of transporting you to the nearest facility that can offer you treatment. Sometimes it can mean a plane flight, sometimes a helicopter, or even an ambulance; whatever the transport, you want to focus on your health and get where you can get help, regardless of the costs associated with getting there.  

Even though in general Southeast Asia is a safe place to travel, the risk of road accidents is very high, especially if you are renting a motorbike yourself. Poor quality roads, reckless driving among locals, and congestion that delays ambulance rides (which you should make sure is covered in your Southeast Asia travel insurance plan) contribute to high numbers of injuries among tourists. 

Travel plans should also cover emergency flights home to receive treatment and, in the case of death, repatriation of remains.

Travel insurance can cover your belongings. 

Stolen/lost passports, money, cameras or bags? No problem! While such situations are unpleasant, expensive and stressful, travel insurance will cover your costs associated with such events. 

Cancellations and missed flights do happen. 

Flight cancellations that lead to a missed flight are covered by most travel policies. You can get reimbursed for re-booking fees or new flight tickets, group trips, and/or hotels/accommodations. Some plans even offer protection in cases when you are forced, through no fault of your own, to cancel your trip. 

What’s included in Thailand and Southeast Asia travel insurance packages? 

Coverage for certain medical costs, loss and damage to your property, travel and accommodation arrangements should be the basis of all Southeast Asia travel insurance plans. I mentioned before that travel insurance can be highly customizable, but it’s important to remember three main points about travel insurance

  1. Travel insurance or short-term insurance is obtained for less than a year.
  2. It can be purchased for every single trip, or as an ongoing regional policy - for example, Southeast Asia travel insurance. 
  3. It usually provides limited inpatient treatment (hospitalization), and won’t offer coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

What you need to look for in your Southeast Asia travel insurance? 

Check if your travel plan covers you for the following:

  • Does the policy cover ambulance rides, and pay particular attention to coverage for motorbike-related injuries. 
  • Does the policy cover medical evacuation and emergency repatriation? 
  • Does the policy cover injuries arisen as a result of adventurous activities, such as scuba diving, trekking, kayaking, etc.? 
  • Does the policy cover your belongings, and if so, what are the conditions and benefit limits?
  • Does the policy cover flight and trip cancellation?

Of course, you may not need all of the above mentioned benefits, but if you are going to explore distant places, engage in so-called “adventurous activities,” or rent a motorbike - then I would suggest making sure your Southeast Asia travel insurance covers you for all the above situations. 

If you have any questions about finding the right Thailand or Southeast Asia travel insurance, please don't hesitate to get in touch with me or a member of our Pacific Prime Thailand team.


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