Congratulations on even making it to this page!

I get it, buying insurance for a trip is literally the single worst part of the planning process, but it’s also one of the most important.

You’ve already got the hardest part out of the way — sitting down to do it — the rest of the process is usually much easier than you anticipate.

COVID-19 Update: Right now, health insurance is a requirement for all foreigners entering Thailand. To enter the country, you must show a policy with a minimum cover of $100,000 USD and which does NOT exclude treatment for COVID-19. Note that our top pick below, World Nomads, does not cover pandemics. To get coverage for COVID, use our choice for the best insurance aggregator, SquareMouth and make sure to tick the box to only include Coronavirus Pandemic policies. More details on buying from SquareMouth below. For more information, see our complete guide to COVID-19 and Thailand travel.

In this guide, we will provide you with the resources to make this as painless as possible. We will cover the main provider we recommend (World Nomads), why we prefer them over the competition, plus give you the best aggregator site we’ve found if you want to shop around a bit more.

Why you need insurance

Since you’re already on this page, you probably know why you need insurance. You most likely won’t use it, but if you have to, you’ll be very glad you have it. That’s pretty much the point of insurance.

Millions of people travel around Thailand every year with no travel or health insurance, and most of them get away with it. But thousands of people also get stuck with huge medical bills leaving them begging family at home for money, or turning to sites like Go Fund Me to raise cash.

Thousands of people a year turn to crowdfunding sites to hit up friends and family to pay for their medical care because they didn’t buy insurance. Screen capture from gofundme.com

In some cases, not having insurance coverage costs people their lives. The private hospitals that provide the best care in Thailand are businesses. If you are in an accident, you can expect a basic level of care, but the reality is that major emergency surgeries and medical evacuations are reserved for people who can pay for them.

In ten years of traveling in Thailand, I’ve met dozens of people who were at a minimum saved from massive medical medical bills by having insurance.

My friend Gavin even owes his life to having travel medical insurance. He had a motorbike accident in a rural area in Northeastern Thailand. It was only for his insurance which got him an emergency evacuation to Bangkok that he is still alive today.

Insurance is not that expensive. Just think of it as a necessary expense of your trip, no different than your flight or hotels. You pay for it up front, then it’s out of sight, with peace of mind.

Important: You may already have travel insurance coverage. If you have private health insurance in your home country, they may provide enough medical cover for your trip. Certain credit cards also provide some medical coverage, and many of them give trip cancellation coverage when you book with that card. Your home or renters insurance might also cover your belongings while on the road. Check your policy guide, or give them a call to see if you are already covered.

What coverage do you need?

There are a lot of different types of insurance that cover different things, but in general, travel insurance can cover:

  • Medical emergencies
  • Medical evacuation
  • More minor health issues
  • Trip cancellations
  • Loss or damage of your personal belongings while traveling

The first two are by far the most important. You can probably do without the others, but having coverage for medical emergencies and evacuations is crucial.

The other coverage types are necessary depending on the type of traveler you are and can definitely provide some extra peace of mind. Often, once you buy coverage for major medical emergencies, the added cost to cover those other incidents is small enough that it’s just worth adding on.

Note: If you are an American, it’s pretty easy to get good insurance coverage for your belongings, and for trip delays and cancellations through a good credit card. Check out our guide the best credit card for traveling abroad to learn more.

Our top provider recommendation

COVID-19 Update: World Nomads policies DO NOT currently cover Coronavirus. Click here or scroll down for how to purchase insurance that covers COVID-19.

We recommend World Nomads as our top choice for travel insurance in Thailand and around Southeast Asia. The main reason for this is that we are pretty adventurous, and World Nomads have the most clarity in their policies for what “dangerous activities” are actually covered.

Even if you don’t think of yourself as an adventurous traveler, chances are you will do activities in Thailand that some insurance providers may not cover. This can include riding a motorbike or scooter, kayaking, taking a Muay Thai lesson, jet skiing, trekking, scuba diving, and lots more.

We find that with most providers, it’s difficult or even impossible to figure out what activities are covered or are not. World Nomads offers two policies, and they are very clear about what is covered under each one.

You can put your information in below and get a quote very quickly.

 

Which World Nomads plan is best?

World Nomads offers two coverage tiers: The Standard Plan, and the Explorer Plan. Both offer coverage for emergency medical (including dental and medical evacuation), for trip cancellation, and for loss or damage of personal property.

Important: World Nomads contracts with local providers so coverage can be very different for each country. The following is specific to US travelers but you can probably treat it as the minimum cover you could get; Most other countries offer much more generous coverage than the US plans. For specific activity cover, look closely into the coverage for your country.

Standard PlanExplorer Plan
Emergency MedicalUp to $100,000Up to $100,000
Emergency EvacuationUp to $300,000Up to $500,000
Trip ProtectionUp to $2,500Up to $10,000
Gear ProtectionUp to $1,000Up to $3,000
This is for unlucky Americans. When I checked, Emergency Medical for Brits was capped at ten million Pounds (100x more!), and it was unlimited for Aussies

The Standard Plan for American travelers covers a surprising number of activities that are normally considered higher risk by other insurers but that many travelers to Thailand will do, including:

  • Water sports including jet skiing, wake boarding, surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and scuba diving at all recreational depths.
  • Riding scooters and motorcycles. Note that this is conditioned on you wearing a helmet and also possessing a drivers license with a motorcycle endorsement, and an International Driving Permit to match.

A few common activities that are not covered include:

  • Muay Thai
  • All rock climbing, abseiling, and bouldering, except indoor climbing
  • Freediving (apnea)
  • Cliff diving

Use the Get a Quote tool above, or click to the World Nomads website and you’ll see the exact price difference for each plan for you personally.

If you just want to get solid coverage with transparency upfront on what activities are covered, and want an easy and hassle-free signup process, go with World Nomads.

Buying travel insurance after your trip has started

Most insurers will only sell you a policy before your trip has begun. If you are already on the road, you need to buy from a provider that allows this.

Fortunately, World Nomads, will sell you a full policy even after your trip has started.

If you want to shop around

World Nomads is our top choice if you want to just get this over with, but if you’re someone who likes to shop around and try to find the best deal you can, we recommend using a search tool that lets you compare quotes from different providers.

COVID-19 Update: SquareMouth is currently our recommended choice to shop for travel medical insurance that covers the Coronavirus. Make sure to tick the box on the left-hand side for Coronavirus Coverage.

I spent more hours than I’d like to admit browsing dozens of travel insurance aggregation websites trying to find the best one (or the least bad one). I’ve concluded that SquareMouth is the easiest site to use to shop around for a travel insurance quote.

What I like about SquareMouth is the selection boxes on the left-hand side that let you filter for the right plan type. If you’re looking for a cheaper plan, you can deselect all the options under Trip Cancellation and Loss or Delay. You’ll likely find a plan with little to no cover for delays and cancellations, but you’ll pay less for it.

travel insurance shopping
Use the filters highlighted in the red box to select the coverage limits you want. Deselect all of the Cancellation and Loss or Delay options if you want cheaper travel medical-only insurance

Definitely tick the box for Emergency Medical and set the minimum cover to at least $100,000 USD or your local currency equivalent (to meet the current Covid-19 insurance requirements for Thailand.) Tick the box for Coronavirus Coverage too. You should also tick Emergency Evacuation and set a high minimum, I’d recommend $500,000. You can easily find affordable coverage at these levels.

There is one other box in the sidebar for Primary Medical. I recommend ticking this box. If your travel health insurance is Secondary, it means you will have to deal with your primary home insurer first (even if you know they won’t cover an event), and only after that can you use your actual travel insurance.

Better safe than sorry

It’s fairly unlikely you’ll need to use your insurance, but if you do, you will be glad you have it. It might save you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and a huge amount of stress and aggravation. It might even save your life. It’s worth, get it.

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  • It's better in Thailand

    Hi, if you think something is wrong, missing or if you have any questions just comment here :)