Do I Need Travel Health Insurance?
It’s undeniably true that many choose to travel without travel insurance, and complete their journey without a hitch. In an ideal world, this situation would always be the case because nothing would go wrong.
However, those who travel uninsured run some serious risks, both for themselves and the people close to them. While the odds are that you won’t need to use it, the ‘it can’t happen to me’ mindset is a dangerous one to have.
Unfortunately, as everywhere else in the world, accidents do happen in Vietnam. It’s clear to the community which travellers were without insurance when they do happen. Every so often, a GoFundMe page appears in expat forums asking for donations for a foreigner injured while driving in Vietnam. Some of these accidents are quite severe and require repatriation or surgery, costing thousands of dollars. If the victim’s family or friends can’t be contacted or don’t have money, the victim’s only option is to pass around a proverbial hat for donations.
Travel insurance combined with proper documentation can prevent these issues and prevent an inordinate amount of heartache and financial woes. Accidents can lead to thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, even in Vietnam where healthcare is relatively cheap. Repatriation or expatriation to another hospital can indeed incur staggering fees, especially in emergency conditions.
Anybody considering motorcycle travel in Vietnam should absolutely obtain travel insurance. It provides peace of mind and backup necessary should you need it.
At Onyabike Adventures we require that you have full travel insurance when you travel with us. Full disclosure: we are not travel insurance salesmen, nor do we seek commission from them. We’re just out for your best interests.
Where Can I Get Travel Insurance for Vietnam?
There are countless travel insurance companies, each with different policy prices, coverage, and services. Some of them provide noticeably better service than others—reputation is important. Navigating travel insurance companies may be complicated, but a good place to start is with the financial institutions you already have relationships with.
Many banks, credit card companies, and insurance providers offer competitive or free travel insurance to their members. HSBC, for example, offers comprehensive travel insurance for Southeast Asia. QBE is a popular option for Australians, and may insure non-Australians as well under certain plans. Plenty of travel websites have their own recommendations for travel insurance tailored to different types of travellers.
Before embarking on a journey to find quality travel insurance, check with your financial institution first to see what they cover. They may be able to save you a fair bit of time and legwork.
How Does Travel Insurance Cover Motorcycle Riding?
When you’re travelling, you’ll need to inform your insurance underwriter of what kind of activities you’ll be participating in. If, for example, you’ll be going on a motorcycle adventure tour, you’ll need to tell your insurance provider about it before beginning the journey. This will let your underwriter know what to charge, and will also enable them to provide service should you need it.
If you fail to inform your travel insurance provider about activities you’re undertaking, they’re under no obligation to pay out on your policy.
Additionally, your travel insurance will be for nought if you’re riding without a proper license in Vietnam. You’ll need to be licensed at home to the same level of motorcycle you’ll be riding in Vietnam to obtain a Vietnamese motorcycle license. We can help you obtain the correct Vietnamese motorcycle license—contact us to find out how. .
Riding with a fully licensed and compliant company like Onyabike Adventures also ensures that your travel insurance will cover your trip. Because we are licensed and in good standing with the Vietnamese government, we have additional resources to help mitigate problems.
Riding with a company that is unlicensed may lead to your insurance not paying out in the event of an accident. Furthermore, unlicensed companies are not obliged to help you after an accident and may abandon you to your own devices.
Travel Insurance Tips
Because there are so many styles of travel, there are numerous styles of travel insurance. However, there are several things you can keep in mind when looking for insurance that covers motorcycle travel in Vietnam.
1. Make sure that your travel insurance covers repatriation or out-of-country treatment. While hospitals in Vietnam are quite capable of dealing with minor injuries, major injuries are best handled out of the country. This is especially true if you come from a country with universal, high-quality health care. If you choose to receive treatment in the region, the best hospitals in Southeast Asia are located in Bangkok, Singapore, and Kuala Lumpur.
2. Consider how long you’ll need travel health insurance for. You can purchase short-term insurance if you don’t travel very often, which will cover you for the specific period of time you’ll be traveling. Similarly, you can purchase an annual plan if you plan on doing significant travel. Check with your insurance provider at home to see if you can include travel insurance in your existing health insurance plan, since a combined plan may be simpler to manage.
3. While it’s certainly a good idea to have travel health insurance, insuring your possessions is another question entirely. While pickpocketing is certainly a possibility in any major city, Vietnam in general is quite safe and crime against foreigners is rare. Travellers are much more likely to be the victim of a scam or a rip-off than a crime. It may not be worth it to insure a laptop, for example, since the odds of it being stolen are quite low indeed.
4. Make sure you carry multiple copies of your travel insurance documents. Similarly, give some to family and friends as backups. Should you lose one set of documents, having extras prevents unnecessary drama in the event of a problem. Bear in mind that any licensed and compliant tour company will ask for copies of your insurance documents as well.
Onyabike Adventures’ Thoughts
Insurance is never the sexiest of topics, but it’s critical in ensuring safety and peace of mind when traveling. This is especially true for those who are going on motorcycle adventure tours and spending significant time on the road. If you wouldn’t dare ride uninsured at home, it doesn’t make sense to ride uninsured in a foreign country. You’ll stave off possible disaster and save yourself a boatload of money, or your family and friends from having to bail you out should something go wrong.
If necessary, we can help you figure out what kind of insurance will be best for you when traveling to Vietnam. Contact us and we’ll start a dialogue that’ll help you figure out what you need.