The topic of insurance is being waved around by those in authority as the death count of tourists keeps rising is should Thailand make it compulsory that all visitors have insurance?
On the surface its a good honest suggestion but there is so much more to it than as it first appears. Insurance is a personal choice as well as a responsibility, it’s a variable or flexible decision and one has to consider many aspects, who is the insurance for and what is covered, what are the risks and also will the bloody insurance company actual pay out if a claim is made?This also excludes the cost of getting the insurance in the first place.
On a personal level, even before I had arrived in LOS many moons here ago, I had always signed up for travel insurance, and even separate health insurance, it was part of my annual fixed expenditure as I had a young family and travelled extensively through my work, I have dependants so if anything was to happen then the least of their worries should be a loss of income or worrying about medical care.
In Europe it’s not really a great issue, there are common health and insurance policies who generally look after all EU countries, and it’s relatively cheap. My EU health had expired some time ago, however places like Thailand are very different, yes here hospital care is relatively cheap, so that’s one, but’s daily risks are substantially higher.
I no longer have a young family; they have grown up and are living their own lives. I no longer have a wife to support and my parents have passed on, so in reality I have only myself to worry about. I do still have insurance which covers most aspects of travel, (car, bike and medicare), I have annual check ups on my health as well. I find it gives peace of mind and should the unexpected happen I am covered.
On the other hand if you are taking a holiday, single, no dependents and going to a low risk destination then I do accept that insurance might not be very high on your agenda. However, Thailand does not come into the low risk category; it has always been a reflective risk, but due to many social and economic conditions I would say Thailand is a destination of high risk. Not just because of the scams and minor petty crime, which is if you are street smart you should have no problems and these risks are avoidable. However that is not the whole picture, Thailand’s laziness has been exploited over the years by both foreign and local underclass, the sad aspect of a lack of personal responsibility does not matter, and officials have caused a situation of poor standards, lack of responsibility and ignorance of international standards.
However nice it is to live yesterdays world; none of us are exempt from change, and Thailand has changed over the years, its no longer a third world country, it’s a developing emerging nation with all the first world facilities and first world risks, but in the development some aspects have been ignored and bypassed, through lack of knowledge, care, ignorance or corruption, I will let you decide which is applicable…
Thailand is a wonderful place, with its natural wonders (islands, mountains, countryside and beach culture) some places have failed to adapt and move with the times, it’s a very common problem with emerging nations and the money they receive from overseas, everyone seems to make a tidy profit, but the lack of investment and laziness that thinks tourists will keep coming regardless of the consequences negating the safety for visits is naive.How often over the years have we read about “twat-packers” here having accidents and begging to get cash to pay bills or go back home after something unsavoury has happened?It seems very common.
As well as other dangers which have made international media, safety standards have been rightfully slammed, not helped by continuous foot in mouth comments or knee jerk reactions by authorities.We all know some visitors are stupid and don’t really help themselves, but if you invite people to your home, you are accepting full responsibility for their safety whilst they are here, in exchange for their money and this is the nature of tourism.
Today we have social media and global news, so if someone falls from a bike in Chiang Mai due to a monkey behaving badly, its on Twitter,Facebook,YouTube and other forms of social media within hours.
There is no perfect decision here. Insurance is a personal choice. I happen to use it, but if it came just too expensive I’d choose somewhere else to visit instead.I just don’t want any problems when I take a holiday,I like to be covered but some however will not see risk or don’t accept or view the chances of something going wrong.
But don’t come begging if it all goes pear shaped.