Thailand may force visitors to take out travel insurance

Thailand may soon force all international visitors to take out travel insurance before they enter the country — and the catch is, it would have to be purchased at the airport.

Thailand’s Office of the Insurance Commission is considering introducing this year the new condition of entry, which would require travellers to pay for compulsory insurance at airport immigration offices.

The good news is the insurance will come cheap — around 20 baht, or 95 cents.

But if the changes come through, you won’t be able to enter Thailand without it, which could make the process of arriving in the country a lot more tedious.

A major change tipped for this year will affect how Australians travel to Thailand.Source:istock

The 95 cent-insurance policy will offer up to 1 million baht ($46,800) of coverage in cases of death, with a maximum duration of 30 days.

The premium will be directed to Thailand’s Tourism Promotion Fund for coverage of payments in the event of claims, according to the Bangkok Post.

The proposed scheme is designed to “bolster the confidence of foreign tourists when visiting Thailand,” the newspaper reported.

It was raised after a series of tragedies involving foreign tourists, including a boat sinking off Phuket last year that claimed the lives of 47 Chinese tourists.

Australians, too, may benefit from compulsory travel insurance in Thailand, which is the top country for hospitalisations and deaths of Australian travellers.

More Australians die or are injured in Thailand — our fifth most popular overseas destination — than anywhere else in the world.Source:istock

For each 100,000 travellers to Thailand last year, there was a rate of 38 deaths and 37 hospitalisations. In a recent case, a Canadian tourist died in a zip line accident in April.

“An Australian dies or is hospitalised in Thailand every day, making it one of the most problematic destinations for Australian travellers,” finder.com.au travel insurance expert Bessie Hassan recently told news.com.au.

Many of the deadliest accidents involving Australian tourists in Thailand involve road accidents, alongside illness and deaths by natural causes.

Australians are 6.5 times more likely to be killed on Thailand’s roads than in a traffic accident at home. The United Nations ranks Thailand’s roads as the second most deadly in the world.

Aussies are already encouraged to take out travel insurance before holidaying in Thailand. Picture: iStockSource:istock

Sydney woman Kate Fitzsimons, whose older sister, Nicole, was killed in a motorbike accident in Thailand in 2012, previously told news.com.au Australians heading to South East Asia should be careful about riding motorbikes and scooters.

“My sister took a risk that she would never take here in Australia, and it something a lot of us do when we travel overseas,” Ms Fitzsimons said.

“It is naivety, we assume nothing bad will happen on a holiday and nine times out of 10 they are the best memories of our life so we don’t even want to comprehend the worst-case scenario. You never think that will happen to you on holiday.”

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