Southeast Asia Wanders

Your guide to travelling, living and working in Southeast Asia

Travel Insurance in Southeast Asia: Is it Necessary?

Travel Insurance in Southeast Asia: Is it Necessary?

Insurance is one of those things that people often think about as a side note—something that you know you should have, but perhaps an added cost that you would rather not pay for if you don’t have to. Is it really that important? What are the chances that something will happen to you while you’re out of the country? The truth is, you never really know. In a region like Southeast Asia, where motorbike drivers fly out of side streets without even looking to see what’s coming, hygiene standards can be low and tropical diseases abound, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Sure, many people travel through countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos and suffer nothing more than a few annoying mosquito bites and a mild case of Bali belly. I’ve done it myself, knowing full well that if something did happen to me, I’d be looking at huge doctor’s bills that I may or may not be able to pay. I was lucky, but some of my friends and acquaintances were not.

Simple Slip-up

Take for example, Tamara. Tamara had just moved to Singapore with her husband Stan, and was loving the fact that there were so many small islands and beaches just a short, inexpensive plane ride away. They spent their weekends surfing in Bali, swimming off the coast of Malaysia and touring Thai islands. On one of their trips to Thailand, they took a snorkeling trip to see the reefs off the southwestern coast. Everything went off without a hitch, the guides were great and knew where to take them to see amazing underwater sights, the sun shone all day and the ocean was calm. When they got back to shore, Tamara stepped over the side of the boat to exit, lost her footing and fell smack into the side of the boat, breaking her nose in the process. The doctors at the hospital did a great job resetting her nose, but the total bill came to a shocking $3,000 USD, and Tamara did not have insurance. She’s still paying the bill off on her credit card to this day.

Car Crash in Laos

Motorbike Crash

Then there was Sally, an accomplished motorbike driver and a long-time resident of Ubud, Bali. She knew the ropes when it came to driving, was familiar with all of the streets in the small town where she lived, and for the most part, was young, healthy and strong. After a night of a few too many cocktails at one of the local bars, she jumped on her bike to head home. She doesn’t fully remember what happened, but she ended up unconscious on the pavement, the bike was totaled, and she had scrapes and deep gashes covering her entire right side, including a massive abrasion across half of her face. Luckily for her, some locals found her shortly after the accident and took her to the hospital, where she received much-needed medical attention. Total bill? $5,000 USD, and no insurance.


In the 6 years that I’ve been in Southeast Asia, I’ve managed to stay pretty healthy, despite a few minor colds and mild cases of food poisoning. However, I did experience a break-in at one of the houses I lived in in Phnom Penh. I had just moved into a new apartment and had just gotten paid from my first English teaching job, and I was out on the town to celebrate (and spend) my first paycheck. When I arrived back at the apartment, I stepped into my room and noticed something was off—it just didn’t feel right. My stomach sank as I looked over at the spot where my computer normally sat. To this day, I still don’t know how the thieves got in, as I had locked all the doors and there were bars on all the windows. Perhaps a cut key from the landlord? And no, I didn’t have insurance.

Overall, Southeast Asia can be a very safe and enjoyable place to travel. However, at the risk of sounding like a nagging mother, you just never know what could happen on any given day. From slips and falls to motorbike accidents to the occasional bag snatching or hotel or house break-in, you always pray that it won’t happen to you. Most times it doesn’t, but all it takes is just one unlucky day, and you could be out thousands of dollars. Better to play it safe, and avoid taking chances with fate. Bite the bullet and invest in some insurance, even if it amounts to nothing more than peace of mind. Hopefully, you will never need to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have it.

For great rates on travel insurance for your trip to Southeast Asia, check out World Nomads, the leading insurance company for travelers of all ages and nationalities: Travel Insurance

World Nomads travel insurance is available to people from over 150 countries and is designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

With Travel Insurance you can:

Travel Insurance. Simple & flexible.

Buy online, even after you have left home. Extend and claim online, while travelling. travel insurance is built for adventurous travellers from over 140 countries, with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and 24 hour emergency support when you need it most.


Claim online

At World Nomads you can claim online. And if you don’t entirely trust insurance companies, have a look at how we have helped some of our travellers.

What can I do?

We cover most adventure sports from bungee jumping in New Zealand to white-water rafting in Colorado.

Simple & Flexible

Already travelling or had a change of plans? No problem! Unlike other policies, lets you buy and extend online, even while away from home.

7 things you should know about World Nomads travel insurance

  1. Trusted reliable is backed by a suite of strong, secure, specialist travel insurers who provide you with great cover, 24 hour emergency assistance and the highest levels of support and claims management when you need it most.
  2. Value for money with the cover you provides cover for what’s important for travellers from over 150 countries. By focussing on what you need and leaving out what you don’t, World Nomads prices are some of the most competitive online.
  3. Flexibility when you need it mostHad a change of plans? You can extend your policy indefinitely or claim online while you are still away. You can even buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already travelling.
  4. Cover for a range of adventure activitiesFrom skiing & snowboarding in New Zealand to whitewater rafting in Colorado, covers a range of adventure activities, giving you peace of mind to get the most from your travels.
  5. World Nomads keeps you travelling safelyAll members have access to up-to-date travel safety alerts, as well as travel safety advice and tips online through the World Nomads Travel Safety Hub.
  6. More than just great value travel insuranceAll members can learn the local lingo through a series of iPod & iPhone Language Guides and can stay in touch with family and friends with an online travel journal.
  7. Commitment to exceptional customer serviceWe want to make sure you get the most from You can find out more about what is covered and the 5 key parts of a World Nomads’ travel insurance policy. If you have any questions about your travel insurance or travel safety in general, please contact directly.

World Nomads – keep travelling safely

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About Stephanie

After traveling as often and as much as I could, I left Canada in 2007 to experience life on the other side of the world. I've lived and worked in Cambodia, Vietnam and Hong Kong, and I now call Bali, Indonesia home. I currently write for a number of print publications, blogs and websites, and love to share travel tips, stories and news with fellow wanderers and expats traveling and living in amazing Southeast Asia.

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