When travelling to any foreign country you never know what unexpected events might happen. That is why when it comes to travelling to Thailand, you should make sure that you do not leave your home without purchasing suitable travel insurance.
There is somewhat of perception amongst many visitors to Thailand that the country’s health and safety standards are much improved in the last decade or so and that the most basic of medical facilities are generally pretty cheap when compared to the cost of health care in the west. This is true to a certain extent and some of Thailand’s private hospitals and other medical facilities are amongst the best in the world.
However, if it is fair to say that some of the regular hospitals in Thailand offer facilities and standards that are much lower than what you would expect to find back home. And although these facilities will certainly be cheaper, they might not have the medical expertise and equipment to be able to assist you should you require urgent medical attention.
It is certainly true that Thailand has some excellent medical facilities, so much so that the country is currently experiencing large numbers of ‘medical tourists’ who travel to the country to take use these facilities, which isn’t a problem when you have a cheque from your medical insurance to cover the bill. However, if you don’t have the security of medical insurance then staying more than a couple of nights in a good hospital in Bangkok, Phuket or Koh Samui is likely to be quite expensive for the average person and could result in thousands upon thousands of Euros, Dollars of Pounds worth of medical bills.
Travel Insurance on Koh Samui
That is why travel insurance is so important because it covers you in the event of you having an accident or injury or getting sick where you will need to have some form of medical treatment. Travel insurance will also cover you should you lose your luggage or if any other of your personal belongings are stolen or damaged. It will also cover you for any flights or transfers that might get delayed or cancelled and will help to give you peace of mind whilst travelling around a foreign land.
As mentioned above, you never know what could be around the corner and although Thailand has improved in terms of safety of the past decade or so, travelling to or staying in the country without adequate insurance could be considered to be more than a little unwise.
More for people who stay in Thailand for the long term, rather than just as holiday makers, the different insurance policies that are available in Thailand will undoubtedly be very similar to the ones you that are available overseas.
As with insurance policies back home, there are various different levels of cover available depending on what your budget is or how much you are willing to spend. You might want to look into the possibility of purchasing several policies with one company as they might be able to offer you some form of discount across the board.
Koh Samui Medical Insurance
If and when you plan to visit Koh Samui on holiday it is more than advisable to make sure that you purchase sufficient travel and/or health insurance prior to your visit. Expats and other long term residents of Koh Samui might be required to purchase special insurance with regards to finding a policy that is better suited to their own situation or circumstances. Thankfully there are plenty of plenty of insurance brokers that operate online, as well as having several that are located on the island itself, most notably in the towns of Chaweng, Lamai and Nathon.
If you happen to have a serious accident or require urgent medical attention for some other reason, many private hospitals or medical facilities in Thailand could be reluctant to provide medical care unless you are able to prove that you are either adequately insured or that you can pay any medical fees prior to receiving treatment. Those people that do have suitable medical insurance will probably be expected to pay any initial expenses but will be able to claim for a full reimbursement at a later date.
Sometimes, what seems like a fairly minor of innocuous injury or ailment can soon become a fairly expensive visit to a Koh Samui hospital, depending on the level of care and medical attention you require. The islands main hospital, which is called Samui International Hospital and is located in Chaweng, is likely to be the best and most equipped medical facility on the island, if not in the whole of the province. There is a government hospital that is located in the town of Nathon, which will be able to offer much cheaper medical care. However, the standards, level of expertise and equipment are not likely to be as good as the standards found in the islands private hospitals.
From the medical and health insurance policies that are available in Thailand, some can be purchased that will pay out the full amount of any medical bills, whereas others can be purchased that have limits on the amount that can be claimed for things such as surgical procedures or hospital accommodation. The prices of these different types of policies will usually depend on a series of factors, most notably age and the type of medical cover which is required for each individual.
There are a large number of policies available that will cover near enough every possible scenario you can think of including, accidental death, broken bones, hospitalisation and even repatriation back to the country in which you reside, if this is required.
Car and Motorbike Insurance on Koh Samui
The general road safety on Koh Samui is definitely a major concern and it has been claimed that, on average, one person per day dies after being involved in an accident on the islands road. Therefore, the likelihood of being involved in some sort of road traffic accident on Koh Samui is almost inevitable and this is largely the result of 3 main factors.
The first factor is due to the poor standards of many of the roads on the island, which can often make driving conditions very difficult, particularly in wet conditions. Pot holes, cracks in the road and roads even without tarmac or cement make for a testing driving experience. Koh Samui is also very hilly and has a large mountain right in the centre of the island. Because of this some of the islands roads can get quite steep, which also doesn’t help to make driving any easier.
The second contributory factor in the poor road safety on Koh Samui is down to the driving habits of many of the locals who live on the island. As with other parts of Thailand road safety rules or some sort of Highway Code just doesn’t seem to exist. On Koh Samui expect to see plenty of speeding, undertaking and tailgating, as these are generally considered to be normal ways drive a car or motor bike throughout Thailand. Also, expect to see many vehicles overloaded with cargo and passengers too.
The third and final factor that often results in a large amount of accidents on Koh Samui is down to the inexperience of foreign visitors to the island who rent motor vehicles, particularly motorbikes, without having a motorcycle license or even any experience of driving a vehicle of this kind. Many visitors simply turn up on the island, hire a motorbike and are let loose on the islands road, often without a helmet and sometimes with fatal consequences.
Many of the locals will at some stage or another have been involved in or at least witnessed a road traffic accident on the island.
Therefore, before your visit to the island, particularly if you intend to hire a motor vehicle of some kind you really should make sure that you have adequate insurance to cover you in the event of you being involved in some form of road traffic accident.
If you do plan to hire a car or motorbike then hiring one from a legitimate or reputable hire company is probably your best option as they should already provide you with motor insurance. However, it is always wise to double check and make sure that this is definitely the case.
If you plan to hire a motorbike or car from another outlet on the island, then the chances are that the vehicle in question will probably be provided by a local who is just trying to make an extra bit of money by renting out their spare vehicle to foreign tourists. Because of this it is highly unlikely that any insurance cover what so ever will be provided and if you happen to have an accident or damage the motorbike or vehicle in any way you will not be covered. Not only that but you will probably end up paying well over the odds for any repairs that might be needed.
When it comes to renting a vehicle, it is possible to arrange short term insurance to cover you for the duration of the rental period. However, as there is usually a considerable risk of having an accident, this type of insurance can often be very costly and sometimes difficult to find.
If you are staying on Koh Samui for a long period of time it might be the case that you look to purchase a vehicle in order to get around the island. If you do end up owning a vehicle then there will be no problem when it comes to purchasing insurance. However, you do need to be aware of the different levels of insurance that are available on different policies. For example, since 1993 it has been a legal requirement in Thailand to have basic compulsory insurance, which you will need to show proof of when it comes to taxing you vehicle. As in other countries, you can also purchase more comprehensive policies that will not only cover all of our own costs should you be involved in an accident, but also the costs of any third parties that may also be involved.
Also bear in mind that many Thai people on Koh Samui and throughout other areas of the country, take to the road without any insurance at all and sometimes they do not even have a driving license; whereas other will have only the very basic compulsory insurance cover.
As a foreigner or ‘farang’ it is generally assumed amongst many Thai’s that you will be relatively wealthy and even if this is not the case, the chances are that you will be expected to pay if and when you are involved in a road traffic accident, even if it was not your fault. Also, if you happen to be a victim of vehicle theft, you might be required to pay a fee to the local police in order for them to fully investigate the crime.
The most basic insurance policies are very cheap in Thailand but they are considered to be fairly inadequate when compared to some of the similar policies that you would get back home, and considering the likelihood of being involved in an accident the cost is considerably greater. Fully comprehensive insurance premiums are likely to set you back somewhere in the region of several thousand baht per year, maybe even more. However, this cost is more than justified when you consider that you will be sufficiently covered in the event of you having an accident whilst driving.
When it comes to vehicle theft many companies will actually reimburse approximately 80% of the vehicles total value should it be stolen, so it is worthwhile thoroughly checking the details of any policies you look at to make sure that vehicle theft is included.
Koh Samui Home Insurance
In the large part, there is only a small amount of crime on Koh Samui, and aside from the road safety, the island itself is quite a safe place to live. However, even with this in mind, if you happen to live on Koh Samui or you have chosen to buy property there, it is important that you are fully covered in the event of a break in, burglary or theft from your property.
If you purchase property on Koh Samui, whether it as you permanent residence or as a second property or holiday home then it is likely that you will have made a significant investment in what is generally considered to be a large asset. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you have adequate insurance that will cover you should anything happen to your property.
Whilst violent crime is very rare on Koh Samui, some properties are considered to be easy targets by would-be thieves due to their poor or inadequate security. In some eyes, a foreigner’s home could well be seen as a particularly worthwhile target if it is perceived that they have a lot of expensive electronic equipment and other goods inside. In the past there have been occasional reports of thieves breaking into properties in the middle of the night, whilst the people inside them sleep, in order to try and steal cash or jewellery.
Home insurance doesn’t just protect you in the event of a break in or theft, it also is essential to help cover you for damage to the structure of the property, as well as any problems you might have with any of the fixtures, fittings and other contents.
If you do own a holiday home on Koh Samui, there is a fair chance that it might be empty for large parts of the year, which could make it more susceptible to damage. For example, a small leak that starts when the property is empty could quickly end up causing a significant amount of damage to your home.
If you happen to rent out your property in Koh Samui then you might want to look at taking out liability insurance that will cover you when you rent the property to a third party.
No matter how often your property is used or by whom, it is important that you insure you home for at least all if not more of its full value so that you can ensure that you are fully covered should something particularly bad happen to the property.
If you are thinking of renting a property on the island it will probably be the case that you will responsible should the property become damaged in any way, although you will probably want to check this with your landlord first. If you are responsible, you might want to look into taking out an insurance policy that will cover you for the property and its contents.
Koh Samui Insurance Companies
Here are the details of a number of different insurance companies and agents that are available on Koh Samui. Many of these companies will have experience in dealing with foreigners who own property on the island or who are looking for insurance cover for personal accidents, travel, health and motoring, as well as property. Because these companies deal with foreigners on a fairly regular basis they are well suited to meet their needs and requirements and may even have special insurance policies that are aimed foreigners or expats.
As well as the many local brokers, it is always worthwhile looking online for a greater selection of insurance companies and a great starting point is Thaivisa.com’s insurance section (LINK).
American International Assurance (AIA Thailand)
Providers of life, health and accident insurance. The branch at Koh Samui has English speaking staff and deal with foreigners on a regular basis
AXA Insurance – Samui Sub Branch
Specialists in motor, home, accident and travel insurance.
Ayudhya Allianz CP Life Plc
One of Thailand’s leading providers of life accident and health insurance.
Bupa Health Insurance
Bupa provide comprehensive health insurance, personal accident insurance, business medical insurance and worldwide travel insurance, with English speaking staff at their branch in Koh Samui
Ensure Insurance Services Ltd
Aimed at expats and foreigners, Ensure Insurance are brokers who provide health, home, travel, business and car insurance in Thailand and throughout South East Asia.
QBE Insurance Thailand Ltd
Insurance brokers specialising in life, travel, home and car insurance, with English speaking representatives at their Koh Samui branch.
Sinmunkong Insurance Co. Ltd
Address: 6/6 Moo 2, Angthong, Koh Samui, 84320, Surat Thani
Telephone: +66 (0)77 420 986
Thai Zurich Insurance
Address: Thaveeradpakdee Road, 21/2 Moo 2, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320
Telephone: +66 (0)77 234 307
Viriyah Insurance Ltd
Address: Thaweeratphakdee Road, Nathon, Koh Samui, Surat Thani 84320
Telephone: +66 (0)77 421 555