This summer, almost 38% of British holidaymakers who are going abroad do not have travel insurance for their trip yet, according to Association of British Travel Agents. With the cost of medical treatment in many countries being so expensive, should travellers have to prove that they have purchased a travel insurance policy before being allowed to enter another country?
It was recently reported that Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Ministry are looking to introduce mandatory travel insurance for all foreign tourists visiting Thailand.
According to reports, Thailand’s Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) would like travellers to pay a 20-baht (52p) premium at the airport, which would go towards a fund to provide cover in the event of death of up to one million baht (£26,000).
This ‘Thai travel insurance’ would not replace standard travel insurance and visitors would still have to purchase travel insurance to cover them for injury and illness and loss of personal items, but could this policy open the way to make all travel insurance compulsory?
Reason behind the new ‘insurance’
The decision to add the premium is due to Thailand’s tourist protection fund being depleted after a string of tragedies involving tourists. In 2018, Thailand paid out 64 million baht (US$1.9m) in compensation to the families of 47 holidaymakers who died after the boat they were travelling on sank off the coast of Phuket. The fund would likely run out of money if another incident where many people were injured or killed were to occur. The legislation is awaiting approval from the Tourism and Sports Ministry before being sent to the Cabinet.
Aaron Hackett, travel insurance expert from PayingTooMuch.com said: “I do understand why this ‘mandatory travel insurance’ is being considered, but this may cause a misunderstanding amongst those travelling to Thailand thinking that this is the only cover they require, therefore potentially travelling without adequate insurance. As soon as you book your holiday, take out travel insurance which will cover medical expenses and other costs linked to cancellations, delays, luggage loss and other mishaps. You should then pay (if approved by Thai authorities) the additional insurance.”
Cost of falling ill in Thailand
Emergency medical treatment can be very expensive and if you don’t have travel insurance in place, you could be financially destitute. While the average travel insurance claim is just over £700, emergency medical and repatriation costs when overseas can be much higher.
Examples of emergency medical bills faced by British travellers that were covered by travel insurance whilst in Thailand include:
- £300,000 for the treatment of multiple injuries following a fall from a waterfall
- £16,000 to treat a fractured hip caused by a motorcycle accident.
Remember that it is your responsibility to ensure you can cover the costs of medical treatment abroad and the right travel insurance policy will ensure you can do so. Remember that the nearest embassy, high commission or consulate will not pay these costs, so you must take out cover before you leave the UK.
Are you looking for a suitable travel insurance policy to cover your trip? Call our travel insurance team on 01243 784000 and get covered. We can compare over 10 products from leading insurers, and all medical conditions are considered.