If you are thinking of traveling to Thailand, as the country starts to reopen to tourism, you will need to get travel insurance for Thailand. As of last year, Thailand’s government is now requiring a minimum of $100,000 medical insurance for almost all non-Thai travelers to enter Thailand.
That’s just the minimum though. Travel insurance offers a lot of protections beyond just emergency medical insurance. It can also help protect against theft or robbery or unexpected trip interruption or delay.
I am a recovering corporate insurance lawyer who now travels the world full time and blogs about it. I have spent months in Thailand, I always purchase comprehensive travel insurance to protect against as many as possible of the various risks involved in international travel during a pandemic.
To help you find the best travel insurance for Thailand, I put together this quick guide.
What’s In This Guide (click to navigate):
Let’s dive in:
Disclosure: I am not a licensed broker and cannot choose insurance for you. Be sure to read policy terms and conditions closely before making a purchase. Also please note that this is a reader-supported travel blog, so by purchasing through my affiliate links you help support our site.
Do I Need Travel Insurance for Thailand?
According to the website of the Royal Thai Consulate General, all non-Thais seeking a Certificate of Entry to Thailand require a minimum of $100,000 in medical insurance. The insurance must be valid for the entire duration of your trip, it must cover covid 19, and must cover both in-patient and out-patient treatment. Travelers should double check their specific policy to make sure it meets all the requirements of entry.
Best Thailand Travel Insurance Sites to Search
Personally, I have twice used World Nomads for my Thailand trips, but it’s always good to shop around and to do your own research. It’s possible to find significantly cheaper Thailand travel insurance policies that meet the bar for entry, but always remember to double check that your specific policy actually does meet all the requirements of entry to Thailand:
I personally chose to to be covered in Thailand through World Nomads. World Nomads is one of the most trusted names in travel insurance. I’ve used them for years, including to insure my huge year-long round-the-world trip.
World Nomad’s website makes it really easy to understand the coverage being offered. They also make it easy to combine your coverage for other countries (for example, if you also plan to visit Cambodia or Vietnam on your trip to Thailand). And, as someone who never buys a return ticket, I like that they make it really easy to extend coverage online.
But, again, there are many different options out there for purchasing insurance. Options that provide just the bare minimum $100,000 USD in medical insurance are likely to be cheaper than World Nomads, so if you are just looking for the cheapest minimum policy, you’ll want to search around.
Why I Buy Travel Insurance in Thailand
Obviously the most pressing reason to buy travel insurance for Thailand these days is that a minimum amount of medical insurance is required as a condition of entry. Thailand is one of the few countries that requires travel insurance of visitors. Other countries that are re-opening to tourism, such as Spain, Greece, Croatia, and Serbia are not requiring visitors to get travel insurance to enter as tourists.
However, travel insurance shouldn’t be a reason not to travel to Thailand. In fact, there are many other benefits that travel insurers can provide – above and beyond the medical insurance that is required for entry. Here’s a quick rundown of the coverages I personally value when buying travel insurance:
- ✈️ Trip Cancellation Protection – This a benefit that might cover you for non-refundable trip costs you’ve paid if you must cancel your trip to Thailand due to a circumstance covered under your plan. Note that most insurance providers have pretty strict exclusions around covid-related trip cancellation coverages, so you’ll want to carefully read the terms of the policy and perhaps consider if you’re comfortable with the risks involved in traveling to Thailand.
- 💉 Emergency Medical Insurance – As discussed above, Thailand is currently requiring visitors to have a minimum of $100,000 USD in medical health insurance. Honestly, this is something I care a lot about even when it is not required. If you are injured or get sick while traveling, you better hope you have coverage for hospitalization, out-patient treatment for medical emergencies, prescribed medicines, x-rays, lab tests, and all the costs that may add up.
- 🚗 Rental Car or Scooter Protection – As discussed below, driving a scooter or motorcycle in Thailand is very common for tourists. Some insurance companies will cover accidents on scooters, but you’ll need to very carefully read the terms of your specific provider. Usually they will require that you are licensed for the vehicle you are driving (meaning you’ll need to be properly licensed to drive a scooter in Thailand).
- 🚁 Emergency Medical Evacuation – Emergency medical evacuation is a common travel insurance benefit that, where it applies, can include costs related to the transportation and medical services involved in an emergency evacuation.
- 💻 Lost Luggage and Gear Theft Protection – One of the more common safety issues in Thailand is petty theft. Some travel insurance policies will provide protection against your bag being lost, or important items being stolen. Be sure to check policy limits closely becuase most have a hard cap on how much they will pay out for covered losses in this category..
- 📞 24/7 Emergency Assistance – Thailand is in a very different time zone than the United States or Europe, so you’ll want to make sure you are able to reach your insurer if and when you need to.
Again, that’s just a very quick overview of the various reasons I choose to purchase comprehensive travel insurance – not just the minimum medical insurance – for my trips to Thailand. It’s super important to note that coverages, conditions, and exclusions vary by insurance provider – so be sure to read carefully!
Travel Safety in Thailand
Generally, Thailand is very safe and crime rates are relatively low. But there are other things to consider, especially during a global pandemic. Besides the risks associated with covid 19, Thailand also does have some of the most dangerous roads in the world, which makes travel insurance for Thailand a smart choice, especially if your medical coverage won’t cover you while on the Thai roads.
Let’s break down some the various safety considerations involved in travel to Thailand:
The Covid 19 Pandemic in Thailand
Early on in the pandemic, Thailand did a very good job of managing covid 19, managing to keep the virus largely at bay while avoiding many of the lockdowns and strict restrictions which have happened in other countries.
Starting in April of 2021, however, Thailand started to experience a significant wave of infections. The government started to impose restrictions in many areas, but indicated it intends to proceed with a plan to open to limited tourism via the island of Phuket starting July 1, 2021. The plan has has its challenges, as highlighted in this recent Skift article, and there has even been quite a bit of skepticism about whether Thailand will open for tourism at all.
If and when Thailand does open for tourism, it’s important to note that the country still lags behind the United States and Europe in vaccinations. So travelers to Thailand are taking their own risks by choosing to visit nonetheless.
Scooters in Thailand
Scooters or motorbikes are a great way to get around in Thailand. They give you the freedom to explore at your own pace, are super affordable and available for rent everywhere, and can be a blast to drive.
And scooters are also enormously dangerous. In fact, by some estimates, Thailand is number one or two in the world for motorcycle deaths! And the news get worse, because if you aren’t properly licensed to drive, it’s virtually certain that your travel insurance company won’t cover you.
That’s why before my latest trip to Thailand I took a motorcycle class in the United States before setting off to Thailand. I got my motorcycle endorsement and then applied for an International Driver’s Permit, which makes me legal to drive here in Thailand.
Crime and Other Risks in Thailand
Thailand is a reasonably safe place to travel, but there are still some risks that warrant consideration when deciding whether to get covered:
- Vehicles Accidents and Emergencies – Even if aren’t driving yourself, there have been many incidents of tourists getting injured when buses, cars, and pedestrians collide.
- Petty Theft – Crime in Thailand isn’t terrible, but pick-pocketing and the theft of belongings are common in tourist areas.
- Terrorism, Strikes, and Protests – Unlike some of its neighbors, Thailand has a pretty good record on this front (and tons of incentive to protect its tourism industry), so while it’s always a risk, I personally don’t worry too much about it.
- Natural Disasters – Thailand is near the water and is prone to heavy rains and flooding. Tragically, nearly 5,000 people died in Southern Thailand (including some of the popular islands) during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
- Animals – I’ve seen more than a few mangy dogs running around Thailand (not to mention those crazy monkeys). Animal bites are a real risk here.
Thailand’s Medical System
There’s a scene in Hangover II where one of the characters gets shot and then rushed to a Bangkok medical clinic. He comes out and, of course his friends are worried, but he says: “Actually the bullet just grazed my arm, 8 stitches, it only cost $6, how is that even possible?”
Ok, so Hollywood may have been stretching the truth about the Thai medical system a little bit. But the point is that the Thai medical system does have a reputation for being relatively affordable in cost (much is government subsidized) and pretty decent in providing quality healthcare service.
Tips for Travel to Thailand
🗺️ Where to Go: Ko Chang, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Pai (see full list of the best places to visit in Thailand).
📅 When to Go: November to April is generally the best season to visit Thailand. But note that there are different monsoon seasons in different parts of the country, so there is almost always somewhere that can be visited in Thailand regardless of the month.
💬 Language: Thai, though most travelers can get by fine with English as many Thais working in the tourism industry speak at least basic English.
🎒 What to Pack: Clothes sufficient for a week (laundry services are cheap and plentiful in Thailand), a rain coat, an umbrella, waterproof electronics, sunscreen, insect spray.
If you liked this article, be sure to check out my full article with all the best travel tips for Thailand.
Given that medical insurance seems likely to be a requirement for entry to Thailand for the foreseeable, travel insurance is going to be something that matters to a lot of traveler. Especially in light of the incredible number of accidents that happen in Thailand every year, I’ll happily continue pay for travel insurance above and beyond the minimum requirements for entry in exchange for the piece of mind that comes with knowing that my trip to Thailand is covered.
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