Myanmar Travel Insurance – Do You Need One?

One of the most important things to consider before visiting Burma is whether or not you need to get Myanmar travel insurance. Some claim that you don’t need any and that it’s a waste of money. Others say it’s essential to have some kind of traveller insurance in Myanmar at the very least to protect yourself in the case of an emergency. With all the conflicting sides to the story, how do you know whether you need any or not? This article gives you the essential facts about travel and health insurance in Myanmar for tourists.

Is travel insurance necessary for Myanmar?

The short answer is that it depends. If you’re visiting for a few days on an organised tour, then travel insurance for Myanmar probably isn’t necessary. However, if you’re an independent traveller who plans to spend 28 days exploring and getting off the beaten track, then perhaps you should consider it. One of the most important things, before you buy insurance in Myanmar, is to have an idea of what you’re planning to do there.

Take into consideration that road safety is poor and the country is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and flooding. Crime rates are generally low, but poverty is very high and there are always a few opportunistic thieves around. You should also look into getting coverage if you plan to take domestic flights as they can be unreliable. Last minute time changes and cancellations aren’t uncommon, which may make you miss your connecting flight back home.

Where can you buy Myanmar travel insurance?

The best place to find insurance information for Myanmar is by searching online. There are lots of travel insurance companies that offer coverage for Myanmar and Southeast Asia in general. Look for the more established companies and read their reviews and policies very carefully before making a decision. It’s also a good idea to start searching at least a month in advance as some companies have regular promotions and special offers. And always cross reference their reviews and customer testimonials with those on a third party website to make sure they actually pay up when they’re asked to.

What to expect from your coverage

This section describes what you should expect from a typical travel insurance package for Burma. The better policies have some form of cover for medical emergencies and loss of property.

Always make sure that you have sufficient coverage for any medical and health issues at the very least. This includes accidents, medical emergencies, or treatment for any existing conditions. The standard of health and safety in Myanmar is considerably lower than other countries and the risk of getting injured is higher. It’s also important to choose something that covers medical evacuations to either Singapore or Bangkok where the quality of treatment is higher.

One important point to mention is that large parts of the country are off limits or rarely visited by tourists. If you do venture into these places and find yourself off the beaten track, your Myanmar travel insurance may not cover you. Make sure that you’re very clear on everything before signing up to one.

Tourists occasionally rent a motorbike, electric bike, or bicycle to get around in some parts of the country, especially in Bagan and Mandalay. The motorbikes and rental company may lack the necessary credentials to support any accidents that may very well make your insurance claim void.

How much your travel insurance for Myanmar should cost?

As a healthy individual, you can find decent travel insurance for around USD50 per week that provides sufficient coverage for travelling along the tourist trail in Myanmar. If you want additional coverage for trip interruptions and cancellations, expect to pay an extra USD3 to USD5 per person each day. This may be worth it as natural disasters can happen without warning.

How to choose appropriate travel insurance

Good policies will cover everything that you need for the tourist places in Myanmar. However, if you plan to take part in other activities such scuba diving, trekking, or hot air ballooning, you’re probably not going to be protected. This means you’ll need to buy an additional premium to protect yourself when engaged in the more extreme activities.

Be aware that if you’re out in the middle of nowhere and need emergency evacuation, you need to be covered. Evacuations are extremely expensive. The best option for tourists to get peace of mind is to look into the personal insurance plans and tailor the package to suit your specific requirements.

What to do in the event of an insured accident?

If you find that you’re in need of medical attention, immediately contact the insurance company. There may be someone available to call them on your behalf to get advice on what you should do. It’s imperative that you contact them on their international telephone as soon as possible to inform the company of the situation. This is especially the case as you may be panicking and forget to follow their protocol.

You also need to keep any receipts, bills, or documents as evidence. This can include official reports of the accident or injury as well as photographs. If the accident happens when you’re at the hotel or as part of a tour, it may be a good idea to get the contact details of other witnesses for a statement. Some companies also have a strict period of time where people can make their claims. If you miss this window, they won’t pay up.

Another common claim is for loss of property. You should keep a detailed record of what possessions you have with you and also keep copies of official police reports in the event of theft. The insurance company needs this to stop fraud and false claims and it’s not uncommon for genuine cases to be refused their due pay out.

What is the level of health care in Myanmar&

The quality of health care in Myanmar isn’t up to international standards. Public hospitals are typically overcrowded and provide a lower standard of treatment compared to what you’re probably used to back home. It’s also unlikely that the doctors and nurses can speak fluent English. For this reason, it’s not recommended to go to public hospitals unless you have no other option.

You can find a few international clinics in Yangon, but these are pricey. Expect a typical consultation to cost at least USD50 with an English-speaking doctor. This increases substantially if you need to have tests or a scan. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll find any clinic at this standard outside of major cities. If you do find that you’re suddenly ill or in need of medical attention, it may be better to seek treatment in either Bangkok or Singapore. Both can be reached within a few hours from Myanmar and have a higher quality.

Buying medication in Myanmar is also a contentious issue for some people. Medicine may be old and not stored in the correct conditions, which can be very detrimental to your health. The best option is to bring the essentials with you from home.

Concluding remarks

If you’re planning to visit Myanmar, you need to evaluate your situation to determine if travel insurance is for you. Always make sure you’re 100% confident of what you’re covered for and how to make a claim. Sometimes travel insurance is worth it, other times it’s not. The decision is up to you and your circumstances.