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Traveler's Insurance


Traveler's Insurance
Traveler's Insurance
Traveler's Insurance
Traveler's Insurance
Traveler's Insurance

Being on a tropical island inevitably increases the risk of catching a fever, being bitten by an exotic wildlife, get an allergic reaction to some fruit, get a sunburn or to fall from motorbike.
Also, sudden change of the climate can worsen chronic disease or trigger any new one that would have been dormant in the body, if you did not leave the comfort zone (the usual for your body temperature and moisture conditions).

Because you do not always manage to end up with a light scratch or a pack of pills from a local pharmacy (there are a lot of pharmacies on Koh Samui, and the price of Thai medicine is quite low). Some people may need a complicated emergency surgery, evacuation to the mainland by helicopter, or a team of doctors from Bangkok.

Before buying a travel insurance, please read the Terms and Conditions of those particular insurance companies (especially those terms that are printed at the bottom, in small print), then choose the options and the countries that you want, and determine the amount of coverage for each option.
In Thailand, for the majority of insurance claims the ample amount of coverage for medical expenses is 30,000 USD (~ 1 million Thai baht).
In case of a treatment at a hospital that has a contract with the company's assistance, serving your insurance company, the payment will be made by bank transfer and you will only need to wait for a fax with a letter of guarantee to the hospital.

If you had to be treated in a different location, then you will pay the bills yourself, and will have to recover all the costs when you return home, by presenting the documents translated into English (the translation costs typically are not covered, so make sure that all the papers were issued in English ). In the case of very large sums of the treatments that you didn’t have with you at some particular moment, companies would make an agreement among themselves, and pay for treatment without your participation.

What types of expenses can be covered by traveler insurance.

The main options that are typically included in a standard insurance package:

Medical costs - are covered in case of a doctor-patient visit (clinic) and while staying in the hospital (only in standard ward). This includes all the necessary tests / examinations and medicines that will be prescribed by one of the hospitals of Koh Samui, where your insurance company will send you to.
Important: You have to call your company before visiting the doctor! Otherwise, it might refuse to pay later.
Exception: if the insured was not able to do that.

Please note that as a general rule:
Restorative physiotherapy obtained even when being on a paid treatment in the hospital is not covered.
Other things that are not covered are the chronic diseases. And such diseases are not determined by your medical records. For example gallstone disease is a chronic one (although you might not even know that you have it). However, when life is threatened – a stroke or aggravation – the company will pay for the treatment, but for the final recovery or the planned operation you will be sent to the place of permanent residence, to be treated at your own expense. The amount of coverage for the treating of a stroke / exacerbation may be severely limited, and about equal to 1000 USD. The same limitation for emergency during pregnancy (if there is a threat to life of the insured), and undertreated disease with complications that arose before the trip.

Not covered: treatment of allergies and sunburns, as well as personal injuries during alcohol, drugs and other intoxication.

Not covered:  treatment of injuries received during and as a result (as a consequence) of terrorist attacks, civil unrest, natural disasters and epidemics (for example, in Thailand from time to time there may be declared an epidemic of dengue fever - this will give the insurance company the right to refuse to pay for treatment of the disease).

Not covered: vaccination (eg rabies, after being bitten by a dog).
Venereal and mental illness, suicide attempts, childbirth are not covered.

Some companies do not cover the cost of glasses, crutches, wheelchairs and other medical items, equipment and aids.
Many insurance companies do not cover auto and motorcycle injuries (driving in Thailand without a valid driver's license of appropriate category).
Some companies would consider a trip on a motorbike ("scooter") to be extreme sports, and if there is no corresponding option in your insurance you will be denied in coverage.
... Generally, there are lots of exclusions and sometimes there is a feeling that any insurance company can refuse in coverage on any case under specified restrictions in the Terms.

All these details you need to specify carefully reading the rules of insurance before purchasing the insurance. In court, if it comes to it, the documents only in written form will be considered.

By terms
The insurance company covers the cost of hospitalization, which occured during the period of insurance, even if it continues after the expiration date (usually no more than 4 weeks after the end of the policy). But if at the end of the policy you need a return visit to the doctor after being discharged from the hospital or need readmission with exactly the same problem, then it will not be an insured case. Even if you have managed to purchase a new insurance in the same insurance company.

Medical transportation - the cost of transporting the patient to a medical facility (land transport or by air), or in extreme cases transportation back to the home country.
If it's an ambulance from the hospital, the costs will be included in the total score.
When traveling by taxi insurance company will need a check for reimbursement of your expenses, translated into English. On Koh Samui none of the taxies will give you such a receipt.

Costs repatriation of the dead - delivery of the body to the place of permanent residence or the costs of cremation in a place of temporary residence.
Transportation costs - in the case of early termination of the trip for health reasons, minor children of the patient will be transported back home free of charge. If the patient will require extra care on the spot, or support to return home, the company will pay for the travel expenses (round trip) for a close relative.
Communication costs - compensation costs for calls to the company-assistant (Service Center of the insurance company). Reimbursed on presentation of supporting documents (printouts of calls from mobile network operator).

Additionally, you can purchase travel insurance with the following options (not all of them are available in each of the insurance company)

Dental Emergency - expenses for emergency dental care: treatment of acute dental pain (X-ray, treatment, filling or tooth extraction), inflammation of the gingival tissue or the elimination of the consequences of dental injury in an accident.
Typically, such reimbursement is limited by symbolic 100-200 dollars / euros for the entire period of insurance.
Any prosthetics (including crowns, implants) is not included in the term " Emergency help."

Insurance for the sports and potentially dangerous activities - reimbursement for the treatment of sports injuries and injuries sustained during the potentially hazardous activities.
Insurance of the sports equipment - skiing, snowboarding, kite surfing, scuba wetsuits, bicycles, tents, etc. in such cases as: theft, including on the street; fire, acts of third parties, and other risks.
An accident - payment of additional compensation in the event of an injury, disability or death of the insured person.

Let me tell you more about this option because there are usually many questions arise.
Important: Even without this option you will be given the required medical assistance in case of an accident.
Therefore, make sure you include this option only when you want to get additional compensation for the broken part of the body or for the "loss of a breadwinner."

Calculations on this option are as follows:
For example, the total insurance amount is 10 thousand U.S. dollars. This means that only if the insured person dies, his heirs will receive the same amount. In the case of trauma (accident), after which the insured would end up with a broken finger, hand, foot, etc. - he will receive only a fraction of the total sum insured (5-10-20%, ie 500, 1, or 2 thousand U.S. dollars – which is stated in the terms and conditions of the insurance). Upon the occurrence of the 2nd or 3rd degree of disability – the payments will be 60-80% of the total insured sum.

Trip cancellation insurance - reimbursement for the purchase of air and railway tickets, the cost of the hotel, transfers, visa fees, etc., incurred due to non-receipt of visas, diseases that led to hospitalization, or injury, including relatives , damage to property, including an accident not by your fault and the other risks that have made your planned trip impossible.
Flight delay - reimbursement for meals and temporary accommodation in the hotel due to the delay of the regular (non-charter!) flight.

The loss or theft of the documents - reimbursed expenses for getting a passport duplicate and other documents required to leave the country (return home).
Baggage insurance for the flight - in the event of theft, loss or damage of the luggage during the flight its full cost will be refunded.

The scheme of calculating the amounts to be recovered are usually stated in the Terms of insurance. The final amounts are highly dependent on the weight and number of bags.
Baggage insurance in the hotel - option enables recovery of damages in the event of theft, fire, acts of third parties, natural disasters and other risks.

Civil liability – refunds the damage caused to life, health or property of third parties who were affected by unintended actions of the insured. Important: this option does not cover any damage by accident, for such cases there is a special car insurance.

Legal assistance - reimbursement of legal advice in the event of prosecution of the insured. Valid only for unintentional violations of local laws, exception: criminal cases.

Traveling during pregnancy – covering medical expenses in case of sudden complications of pregnancy. There are restrictions on the duration of pregnancy.

Now let's get to the basic terms used in the insurance industry, which are not always properly understood and can raise questions and misinterpretation, and hence - the loss of money and time.

The insurance company - a company which you are making a contract with, the one that pays money and provides benefits.

The insurant - the one who makes out an insurance policy and pays the insurance premium to the insurance company.

The insured - the one to whom an insurance policy is issued, whose health problems will be solved by the insurance company.

Insurance coverage - the total amount that will be paid for your treatment / transport costs / loss of baggage and other (for each of the selected options, insurance).
This does not mean that the entire amount of coverage will be reimbursed at once but within these limits one can be treated during the term of the insurance.

Deductible - The amount you have to pay by yourself, without the involvement of an insurance company.

It can be:
- Conventional ( it acts under certain conditions)
     - If the amount of damage is less than the minimum specified in the contract, the customer pays the full amount
     - If the amount of damage is above this minimum, the entire amount is paid by the insurance company
- Unconditional (this type is more common). In this case no matter the amount of the insurance event the client pays the stipulated minimum.

Deductible amount is used in order to reduce the operating expenses of the insurer (not to draw up documents on minor amounts and reasons), as well as to ensure that customers would not want to run to the doctor for some minor reasons.
In the case of an insured even, the deductible amount, of course, is rather disadvantageous for the client (because he spends more than saves). However, it allows you to reduce the price of insurance, and if your estimations on the probability of injury / illness during the trip goes to zero, and right now it is vital to save a few dollars – that could be your choice.

Assistance company (Service Center of the Insurer) - is a company that acts as an intermediary between the insurance company and hospitals / medical institutions abroad. First they would want to specify which insurance company has issued your policy, its number, expiration date and so on.

Let us talk a bit more about the assistance companies here.
Choosing the assistance is very important, as you will have to contact with it, and depending on the hospitals with which it works, and what kind of reputation in the market it has, will determine the quality of treatment and the rate of solution of problems arising.

You can't buy insurance directly from the assistance service - they only work with insurance companies - entities. But you can ask which insurance companies in your country they are working with at the moment. And at the hospital, which you are interested in, you can specify a list of assistance companies. Here is the list for Bangkok Hospital Samui: http://www.samuihospital.com/international-insurance.html

One of the best Assistance companies is International SOS. It is practically the only Assistance company, with whom you can sign the contract directly, but their website does not show very clear what risks and to what extent will be covered. Take a look here: http://buymembership.internationalsos.com/, however, in a typical situation, the company will still be a mediator.

One important point, which helps to explain why travel insurance has so many restrictions, and medical expenses in local companies is more expensive.
These are just different types of insurance!
They are different by definition.

The travel insurance indicates that you are temporarily leaving the place of your residence, where you should be treated promptly and fully support your health. Therefore, the probability of the insured event in a limited period of time is considered minimum, based on this assumption the rates are low. According to local health insurance - you live here permanently, and the probability of occurrence of the insured event significantly rises up.
Plus, as with any business (and medicine and insurance is still a business), there is the principle that works no matter what: “Pay more - get more”.

Let's take a look at two options of health insurance for short-term tourists in Koh Samui
- Traveler’s Policy, that goes as a bonus to a bank card.
There is almost nothing you can choose here, you can only know what is covered by the policy, what limitations it has, the countries and so on.

- Policies for travelers from the foreign insurance companies.
Take for example Bupa (it is a UK company), which is well known in the insurance market, and in Thailand it has no claims at all.

You cannot buy a travel insurance at the Thai Department of Bupa. More precisely - it is possible, but travel insurance (http://www.bupa.co.th/en/individuals/travel-insurance/index.aspx) will apply only to travel outside of Thailand, with the obligation to travel out of Thailand and back again, and return no later than 60 days. That is only suitable for those who live in Thailand permanently, but wants to travel outside.

For a holiday in Thailand, and only in Thailand, with a limited period of 6 months (the same new insurance can be purchased no earlier than 3 months after the end of the previous one) is recommended an insurance plan SunShine http://www.bupa.co.th/en/individuals/health-insurance/individual/detail.aspx?iid=5

However, Bupa is not the only company on the market. Take a look at the website http://www.insuremytrip.com/ - a resource for the selection of insurance. Or http://www.hccmis.com/insurance-plan-guide/. Or http://www.worldnomads.com, recommended by LonelyPlanet. Or the French http://www.acs-ami.com/en which offers packages for the active traveler, and for expats who have been outside their permanent place of residence for years - there is a good option for those who lives in Southeast Asian countries .
In general buy policies online and do not be dependent only on your local insurance companies.

By the way, the policies issued on-line are no different from the paper ones. And most often they are cheaper than if they were issued to you by the insurance agent.

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