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Why we needed travel insurance in Thailand

Posted on February 20, 2014 by  in Travel Insurance //

Claiming on backpacker travel insurance and why you need it

Our moped accident on Koh Phangan, Thailand:

Darryl in Koh Phangan after moped accident

An example when we used our travel insurance was when we stayed in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Yes that is where the Full Moon party is, but that’s NOT where we got our injuries.  Everyone visiting the island hires a moped / motorbike because, it’s a large island where taxi’s are infrequent and expensive.

We took a trip up into the hills to find a way down to a small little beach we had read about.  It had been raining the previous few days non-stop.  When I started going down a muddy hill, I felt the brakes seize up.  Within a few seconds both of us came straight off the moped and onto the unpaved road.  It was horrendous, and we were miles away from any medical centre.

Having an accident on a moped in Thailand

We had to get back on the bike and drive into town, where there are limited hospital / clinics available to tourists.  Because of the fact the island is.. an island off another island.. The price for being fixed up in a private clinic and the medicine, came to hundreds of £ pounds.  Of which we could not have afforded to be without medium-term.  Luckily our insurance covered us and the damages that were sustained on the bike.  That was lucky, because in Koh Phangan, the island is run by the mafia, and the people renting out mopeds to westerners will charge you 400 percent mark-up on any small damages you have made to the bikes (even a small scratch).  Our’s wasn’t in the best condition, so that was all covered by our insurance provider.

Our flight home from Bangkok got cancelled, with just 5 hours notice..

We had booked a flight home months in advance through Norwegian Air.  It was an indirect flight from Bangkok to Stockholm on the new Boeing Dreamliner.  I really wanted to try flying on one of these planes, especially as Norwegian Air had an offer on, that made the flight just over £300 per person (then £50 extra to get from Stockholm to London Gatwick).

In hindsight, I should have reviewed the really negative reviews about Norwegian before booking with them.  In fact, if I had listened to Cristabel then we would have flown with Ukraine Air instead and had no issues.

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is meant to be a great new plane, with a more pleasant environment, more room and bigger windows.  However most of the planes are still having problems with various things.  Which has resulted in carriers like Norwegian at one point taking their planes out of the sky for up to a month for servicing and repairs.

We woke up on the morning of our flight early.  Cristabel checked it’s status and saw the flight was simply cancelled.  How can this be we said?   So what were our options.. We just wanted to get back home in time for Christmas with our families..

The only option for us was to fly out on more expensive direct flight with British Airways a little later that day.  That meant shelling out over £600 each on top of what we had already paid Norwegian Air.  Luckily I had a credit card and so booking it wasn’t a problem.  However with travel insurance, this meant we could claim for the expenses incurred and the extra we had to pay out to fly home with BA.

Have you read our guide on choosing the cheapest travel insurance for backpackers?

We have reviewed the top 4 travel insurance providers for backpackers & long-stay travel.  Read our guide here.

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