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Expats in Thailand: Vital tips to help protect your whole family while living abroad

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The prospect of moving abroad to live no matter for how long is a truly exciting one especially for families.


But it is also a time when adults in the family have to manage expectations and ensure that everyone is safe and catered for in so many ways.


The excitement comes with trepidation and peace of mind is important to offset anxiety that everyone will feel when departing home shores for a life abroad.


One of the most important of measure is ensuring that you and your family are properly insured. It is important to avoid the pitfalls and appreciate the consequences of what can be a life changing decision.


Unforeseen events can and do occur to even the most prepared of people. 


This is especially true of a country like Thailand that has its own safety and health issues far bigger than the headlines on social media and which can trap the unwary. 


Travelling to any country all members of a family are likely to get sick more than just by staying at home and also the practicalities of facing what one would normally face in one’s homeland may be more problematic when having to confront issues abroad.


A good group coverage is vital in so many ways - you don’t want to be stuck in a hospital where no one speaks English or your native tongue. Good hospitals are everywhere in Thailand but it is important to seek out the best coverage that can mean treatment at the best hospitals whether in Bangkok, provincial cities or while holidaying in tourist resorts and destinations.


Broadly speaking it is important to receive an insurance assessment carried out by an independent specialist to avoid the pitfall of either over- or under-insuring.


Top types of cover that may seem obvious or slightly less than apparent include:


Income protection that provides the holder of the policy with guaranteed income of 75% of the previous income in the event of an unforeseen accident or illness.


Critical illness insurance that will pay a tax-free lump sum if you or your family members happen to be diagnosed with a critical illness. Such coverage will usually have life assurance included.


Life assurance itself that pays out before an agreed date in the unfortunate event of a death in the family. It is far better to be safe than sorry.


Private medical insurance is a must as is travel insurance.


When considering one or all of the above it is important to obtain the kind of policy that can move as you move, known in the insurance trade as portability. 


For matters like life assurance cover and critical illness cover you want it to be there for you no matter where you live. A good assessor will be able to recommend the best policies that will provide added peace of mind.


Areas of insurance that specifically relate to families can be different to that which an individual may consider and it is important to think in advance of these when purchasing global health insurance while living abroad as an expat family.


The Covid-19 pandemic has brought home to everyone about the importance of vaccinations but children will need more than adults just as a part of growing up and might need annual check-ups.


As already noted, risks can be higher when living abroad, and of course Thailand is no exception to this rule.


Obtaining pregnancy coverage can be vital for families who intend to have more children - even those who don’t mean to have more children!


Things are not always planned!


Individual health plans will will have a waiting period of up to a year so if you are currently pregnant your plan will not cover that and the child will have to be separately medically underwritten.


Uninsured pregnancies can be especially expensive abroad especially if there are complications so getting global coverage well in advance. 


Group expat insurance plans will, however, almost always cover existing pregnancies but it is as well to ensure this with your provider.


Obtaining a global health plan with outpatient care and preventative coverage is important for people with children. The young ones often need to visit a doctor far more than when they are in their early twenties or later. 


being covered in terms of preventative healthcare is important in staving off problems that can occur later on.


Parents should investigate whether their cover is good for vaccinations - especially important in Thailand where unexpected tropical viruses and bacteria can have a devastating effect on both children and their parent’s health.


Before you go abroad and when you are abroad both come into the equation here.


Families should also seek out a policy that provides global rather than just regional coverage. Here the word “portable” also comes into play. you may well need to be treated in a regional center that is not in Thailand at all and you need to ensure you have cover for that.


Children’s pre-existing conditions also need to be considered - does you plan cover these?


Sometimes individual expat policies contain a moratorium on pre-existing conditions but a group plan generally covers these. Also some conditions might be covered and some not - it is important to contact an experienced assessor to determine which is which. 


Again it is better to be safe than sorry. You can apply regarding specific conditions regarding your child and a good provider will be able to tell you if it is covered, if it needs an existing premium or perhaps if it is unable to be covered at all.


As with all insurance it is important to read the fine print. Let us repeat that READ THE FINE PRINT! And please do ask questions of your provider so there are no unexpected and costly surprises further down the track.


Medical insurance can be a confusing issue and this is exacerbated by living abroad with all the uncertainties that a country like Thailand - or anywhere else away from your homeland - might throw up.


Generally speaking of course the more you pay the better the coverage so follow the links recommended to ensure peace of mind.


And remember: there are many ways to save money but skimping on health insurance for you and your loved ones should never be one of them. 


Aetna plans that meet the Long Stay Visa requirements

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