Why it's generally a good idea!
For the ammount of money involved to obtain travel insurance cover ( in the overall picture) it seems only sensible to take out cover for any unexpected situations whatever they may be. Medical care in Thailand although less expensive than western countries is still not what you would call cheap.
Yes, it does add to total trip cost - but then so does household insurance add to the cost of your home! We are not going to think you foolhardy if you decide not to take out insurance; it's a personal choice to accept the risk of the unexpected or not.
Here are some links to insurance companies whom we have researched, and appear to offer adaptable and thorough policies; plus some which come specifically recommended from past clients. All of these offer policies you can take out online; or most travel agents can also issue them.
Please note, we have no affiliation with nor derive any commission from any of these companies, and take no responsibility in the event of disputes arising with any of them; these are purely suggested links which we hope will help you in your travel-planning.
Why do I need travel insurance at all?
It has long been a source of great surprise to us at Faraway Yachting (several of us being primarily from Europe or Australia) - that many folks from the States don't appear to consider trip insurance when they travel. For us, it's simply part of the expected routine; only if the budget is tight, one sometimes decides to take a calculated risk and no travel insurance.
We learned that this was not the case in the States - trip insurance was not an automatically considered option. In fact, we discovered that many people thought they were covered for medical and baggage by their household policies - only to find out the hard way that this cover is often quite inadequate!
Of course, this does not apply to ALL household/medical policies; but we'd like to suggest that you do read the small print. Nor are we trying to scare you into thinking "I must have travel insurance!!" - we just want you to be aware of your choices in the matter.
Medical insurance is not quite as vital in Thailand and/or Malaysia as it would be, eg, for a non-US citizen visiting the States. Both these countries have State-run medical facilities which are usually very good. In fact, one often does not even pay at all for minor treatment. However, for any major medical emergency, most people would still want the facility to be flown home, ASAP - a bill that could be shockingly high. Ask a couple of our clients who had motorbike spills last year; one in particular requiring a helicopter airlift - we know how glad this guy was of his travel insurance policy!
To Explode a Few Insurance Myths
No-one is going to cover you if you just change your mind at the last minute. But most policies will cover you if there is a serious change of circumstances not under your control, such as a death/medical emergency in your family/your travel companion, loss of employment, problems with airlines. Many companies even offer compensation if you are delayed because of the weather ! Fortunately, extreme weather conditions in Thailand/Malaysia are very rare, but there was once a time when the winds were so strong that some clients were stuck in Bangkok for 2 days. The insurance company paid up for their loss of sailing time uncomplainingly.
The "Change Your Mind" clause
One very useful item to note is the "Change Your Mind" clause now offered by several companies, which gives up to $250 compensation towards non-refundable deposits if you simply change your mind.
NB: Policy must be issued within 7 days of making the initial trip deposit.
If You're Going To Do It - Do It Soon!!
If you're going to get travel insurance at all - it pays to get it as soon as you book your trip. Any trip, not just ours! This does vary between companies, and not all companies offer these "extras" - but be aware that by taking out the policy within 7 days of paying your initial trip deposit MAY give you this Change Your Mind option; it may also mean coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Check out your chosen policy carefully!
And finally, we're always happy to hear reports of travel insurance companies, good or bad! - if you have any experiences or recommendations, we'd love to hear them.