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Travel Insurance for Asia: What to Know Before you Buy

Travel insurance Asia

The largest continent in the world is guaranteed to have whatever you’re looking for. There are 48-51 countries in Asia (depending on whether you count by geographical location or cultural and political orientation). It is home to some of the oldest traditions on the planet and is steeped in history. Paradoxically, it’s also now home to some of the most modern nations. Imagine towering skyscrapers, 50-lane highways and all night shopping megaplexes. From temples to beaches, from nature retreats to foodie extravaganzas, come on this journey to one of the most fascinating regions on our planet.



Travel insurance for Asia

You will need travel insurance for Asia, no matter which country you are visiting, but when trying to look across so many countries, that is where the similarities end. Asia is home to some of the most high-tech and basic medical care facilities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) lists Singapore and Japan in the top 10 countries for healthcare. Thailand and Malaysia also have good standards, making them popular medical tourism destinations. However, as mentioned earlier, some countries in Asia have poorer standards of healthcare. Before you go away, read up on your destination and consider any medicines or prescriptions you may need to bring.

Just as medical care differs wildly, how safe your belongings are does too. You should always take extra care when travelling, regardless of how ‘safe’ a country is supposed to be. However, there are some places where extra caution is advised. Always check out your destination online first to decide what steps you need to take. Remember, there is no country completely crime-free and it’s wise to have travel insurance for Asia that will cover you and your gear.

Another factor to consider when purchasing travel insurance for Asia is your itinerary. Planning on hiring a scooter, climbing Mount Fuji, or scuba diving? You will most likely need additional protection for these activities and any high-risk sports (or even not so high-risk). Travel insurance policies come laden with exclusions, but this doesn’t mean you can’t get cover. Always check policies before you buy them. If an activity isn’t covered, add it as an optional extra or shop around.

 

Things you should look for when buying travel insurance for Asia

Valid in Asia: If you’re buying a single trip policy, add all the countries you plan to visit to your quote. If you’re buying an annual multi-trip policy, worldwide coverage will include Asia.

Cancellation coverage: Flights from anywhere in Asia to the UK aren’t cheap. Make sure you’re covered in case the unexpected happens and you end up missing your holiday.

Full medical coverage and evacuation coverage: Repatriation is always one of the biggest expenses and you should have adequate cover in your policy. Like we mentioned earlier, the standard of medical care varies greatly between countries in Asia (and even towns within countries). You may need to be airlifted to a bigger hospital or you may be near the best (and most expensive) hospital. Either way, you’d rather an insurer pay your bills than have to pay out of your pocket!

Lost, stolen or damaged gear or luggage: As we mentioned earlier, safety varies between and within countries. Most people travel without having anything stolen, but there are always stories of travellers being parted from their belongings. As for lost or damaged gear, this can happen with the best of airlines and to the most carefully packed items. Travel insurance will protect you from these unwanted mishaps.

Dangerous activity coverage or exclusion: There is no end to the number of new and exciting activities that Asia has to offer. Even seemingly docile activities may not be covered by standard travel insurance policies for Asia, so always check that they’re covered or that you can add them on.

Insurance case study: even the common cold can set you back!

Backpacking through Asia is high on the must-do list for many people in the UK. For one intrepid traveller, their trip took a turn for the worse. Luckily, she had travel insurance!

While she was in Thailand she picked up a cold. Of course, she got it the day before a mountain trek in Chiang Mai was due to start. Not wanting to miss the tour, she took cold medication and hoped for the best. After the first day’s hiking, the cold got even worse. The next day, one of the guides had to drive her to the nearest village for medical attention.

They helped her get to a hospital in Chiang Mai, where she called her travel insurance provider. The insurer set up direct billing with the hospital so her bills were taken care of. This meant she got checked into a nice room and was given all the medical help she needed. After just one day, she was able to leave the hospital and continue her holiday carefree.

If you ever have a medical issue while travelling, call your insurer as soon as you can. They will be able to direct you to the closest medical facility they cover and provide support, even from afar. Why not read our guide on tips for making a successful travel insurance claim?


Travel insurance for Asia: natural disasters

a tornado

Asia is often hit by storms and hazardous weather events - the kind that a brolly won’t protect you from. Sadly, it’s the most disaster-prone region in the world. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and cyclones are just some of the devastating events that frequent the Asian continent.

While you can’t usually predict these events, you can insure yourself against them. If there is a natural disaster, travel insurance can cover you for the cost of new transportation and accommodation. You will need to make sure that your policy has natural disaster cover and pay special attention to any exclusions in this section.


Price comparison of travel insurance policies for Asia

We have compared prices across a random selection of travel insurance policies to give you an indication of what’s on the market. There are hundreds of travel insurance policies for Asia. With so much choice you can be sure that there’s one for you.

We ran some quotes for a 35-year-old travelling to Asia (correct as of October 2019). We did not declare any pre-existing medical conditions or request any optional extras.

Provider Cost for Single Trip Policy (Japan & Singapore) Cost for Annual Policy Standard Benefits Limits
Cedar Tree (Lite Policy) £9.76 £22.25
  • Medical care: £15 million
  • Baggage: £1,000
  • Cancellation: £1,000
Cover for You (Emerald Policy) £12.25 £26.50
  • Medical care: £15 million
  • Baggage: £1,250
  • Cancellation: £1,500
Travelinsurance.co.uk (Economy Policy) £12.59 £19.99
  • Medical care: Unlimited
  • Baggage: £1,000
  • Cancellation: £1,250
Admiral (Admiral Policy) £13.40 £18.21
  • Medical care: £10 million
  • Baggage: £1,000
  • Cancellation: £1,000
Holiday Extras (Basic Policy) £13.87 £29.60
  • Medical care: £10 million
  • Baggage: £1,000
  • Cancellation: £750

While price is important, we guide you to never choose on price alone. Always consider the benefits that are most important to you (e.g. medical expenses).

Travel insurance policies can be full of jargon. Why not read our jargon-busting glossary to help you master the most common terms?


Travelling to Asia: good to know

No matter what type of holiday you have planned, some basic preparation is always wise. Here are some important factors to consider when travelling to Asia:

 Drinking Water - More than 60% of the population in Asia don’t have a secure water supply piped to their house. As this suggests, there is a huge disparity between the neighbouring countries. Whereas Singapore boasts 100% access to piped water, this is only 16% in Cambodia.

Check government websites before you travel so you can get an accurate picture of what you’ll be dealing with. Bottled water is widely available and cheap in most Asian countries.

 Vaccinations - At the time of writing, there are no required vaccinations for travelling to Asia. However, there are several recommended vaccinations. Asia is home to many beautiful jungles and natural habitats which breed mosquitoes and related diseases.

Always visit a travel clinic or doctor before you go away and discuss the places you plan on visiting. The further off the beaten track you plan on going, the more likely that you will need some vaccinations.

 Visa - Travellers from the UK do not need a visa for most Asian countries (for short trips). Some countries do require visas, for example, Cambodia, China, and Myanmar. The length of the trip allowed depends on the individual country.

If you want to stay longer than the standard/automatic allowance, you can often pay for a visa or additional days on the visa. Make sure you do this before you travel, as you can get in trouble if you overstay the prescribed number of days and don’t have a visa or extension.

 Emergency Services - The phone numbers for emergency services are different across Asia. Furthermore, many countries have separate numbers to use if you need to call the police, ambulance or fire brigade. Note the numbers for the countries you are visiting before you leave and commit these to memory or save them in your phone.


Data and information correct as of October 2019.

All material on this page and the selectra.co.uk website is for information purposes only and does not constitute any form of financial advice. Selectra.co.uk is not responsible for any consequences that might arise from your use of the information provided.

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