Compulsory travel insurance could be enforced in Thailand this year. The Bangkok Post reported that travellers will be required to pay for a special policy at immigration offices in airports and the proceeds will be directed to Thailand's Tourism Promotion Fund to cover payments in the event of claims.
According to the Thai Office of the Insurance Commission, the policy will cost 20 baht (52p) for 30 days’ cover. It has been reported that it will offer up to one million baht (£26,000) of cover in case of death.
It is hoped that the introduction of compulsory insurance will promote greater confidence among travellers to Thailand. The idea was mooted following a number of tragedies involving tourists, including a boat catastrophe near Phuket in which 47 Chinese tourists were killed.
“The compulsory insurance contemplated by Thailand appears to only be covering tourists if they die and not if they are injured," said Nel Mooy, Head of Travel at AXA Insurance. "Yet," she continued, "medical expenses abroad can be very expensive – we recently paid a £164,000 claim for a British tourist involved in a road traffic accident in Thailand. Travellers need cover for medical care. They also need to ensure their insurance includes the activities they’ll engage in, like scuba diving or rafting for instance."
As such, insurers have advised that travellers should continue to purchase their own insurance, even when the new policy has been rolled out: "We recommend that UK tourists holidaying in Thailand continue to buy a travel policy in the UK no matter what," urged Mooy. "It will cover medical expenses and other costs linked to cancellations, delays, luggage loss and other mishaps. It remains a must.”
It is anticipated the scheme will be rolled out later in the year pending approval from the Tourism and Sports Ministry and having been subsequently forwarded to the cabinet.