The saying health is wealth rings true no matter where you are in the world. However, the rising cost of healthcare makes it difficult to address health problems when they arise, putting a strain on personal finances for those without insurance. For expats in Thailand, or any country for that matter, being able to cover medical bills in case of a serious accident or illness is crucial.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the types of insurance essential for expats in Thailand, so that you can have peace of mind knowing you’re covered.
Why do expats in Thailand need insurance?
Insurance is essentially a form of risk management that offers protection from financial loss. An insurance plan can turn the costs of hefty expenses or liabilities into standard premiums. What’s more, an insurance product makes your situation less risky than it would be without it, even though it is not a way to avoid the liabilities that are your responsibility.
Expats in Thailand often assume that they can wait for problems to occur before evaluating their insurance arrangements. But by the time they are faced with a problem, it’s already too late. On the one hand, having inadequate insurance is risky. On the other hand, being over-insured is costly.
There is a wide selection of insurance providers available in Thailand, which is why it is recommendable to compare various insurance policies before making your decision, such as premiums and levels of coverage. It’s also advisable to check your potential insurer’s reputation and financial strength.
If you’re unsure about your cover or insurance requirements while you’re in the Land of Smiles, you should check your existing policy in your home country to avoid double coverage. Even if your insurance policy is not country-specific, the amount of insurance you need can vary according to the country due to potential liabilities that are determined by jurisdiction like medical bills.
Using a reputable insurance broker is a safe way you can avoid the headache of comparing plans whilst ensuring you’re getting the most value for money.
The insurance market in Thailand
In Thailand, the Office of Insurance Commission (OIC) regulates the insurance market. Insurance products are typically divided into three categories including life insurance, non-life insurance, and motor insurance.
Your home insurance requirements depend on whether you’re renting a home or you already own one.
Home insurance for tenants, for example, tends to be cheaper than home insurance for homeowners. This is because tenants only have to be insured against their possessions and public liability in case an accident occurs in their home.
Homeowners, however, need to have a home insurance policy that provides protection against property damage. This type of policy is often required when you’re trying to secure a mortgage and can cover the rebuilding fees, legal fees, and even the costs of some unusual repairs. With that said, expats in Thailand usually are not awarded a mortgage.
As with any insurance policy, you can choose how much coverage you want, as well as which expenses are covered and what the excess amounts are. If you’re renting out your property, homeowner insurance can also protect against losses of rents.
When you’re away from home
It’s advisable to let your insurer know if you plan on being away from your home for over a month. Otherwise, your claim may be rejected if anything happens to your home while you’re gone.
In Thailand, car insurance is mandatory and policies generally have to include third party liability at a minimum. Third party liability insures you against potential liabilities for third party bodily injury or death, but it won’t cover theft or damage of your own vehicle. If you require more than third party cover for your vehicle, your best bet is to buy a comprehensive car insurance policy.
Expat health insurance is a must for expats in Thailand. The country’s public healthcare system doesn’t automatically cover expatriates.
Expats may want to secure a comprehensive international health insurance policy to guarantee coverage in Thailand and their home country. International policies are usually more expensive, though they are simple and very valuable when it comes to bridging the gap between your home country and Thailand.
If you’re often going back and forth between your home country and Thailand, international cover can bring you peace of mind.
Life insurance can be especially useful for families that are financially dependent on one party since it can provide a lump sum payment to the family in the event of death. Be sure to carefully assess the risk of having foreign life insurance while you are residing in Thailand. Additionally, always check the geographical reach of your current life insurance policy when you move countries.
Business owners in Thailand will probably need public liability insurance and group insurance. Group insurance protects you in case an employee has an illness or accident that is related to their employment duties. Similarly, public liability insurance offers coverage in the event of a third-party claim against your business, and can even include legal costs.
Buying insurance as an expat in Thailand
If you’re planning on buying private health insurance in Thailand, it’s worth spending time comparing all the different options. However, that can be daunting, tiring, and confusing, which is probably the reason why many expats use a broker to simplify the process.
A broker like Pacific Prime Thailand can help you find the ideal plan for your needs at the same price as if you went directly to the insurer. As one of the leading insurance brokers in Asia, Pacific Prime offers a wide range of insurance solutions, from accidental and death insurance and family health plans for expats to maternity insurance in Thailand.