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UK and Canada revises travel warning for Thailand (updated)

Posted by somtam2000 on 27/4/2010 at 11:47 admin

I've already posted this in the main Bangkok protests thread, but I'm reposting it here again as some may not be following the protest thread.

The British Government has changed their warning to now encompass the entirety of Thailand:

"This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Travel Summary (Terrorism and Security). The overall level of the advice has changed; we currently advise against all but essential travel to the whole of Thailand."

You can read the full advice here.

Seems quite the over-reaction in my opinion, but worth reading in full.

This MAY have implications for your travel insurance coverage. If you're travelling to Thailand from the UK, PLEASE read the small print in your policies to make sure you are still covered in the event that your govt has warned against all non-essential travel.

#1 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,652
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Posted by bakpakk on 27/4/2010 at 12:00

I really hope things get better soon, not only for the sake of the tourists but for the sake of the people of Thailand as a whole. Not exactly the news I was waiting to hear. *le sigh*
I definitely picked the worst time to travel to Thailand. Boy oh boy.

#2 bakpakk has been a member since 4/4/2010. Location: Cameroon. Posts: 38

Posted by ZPeppiatt on 28/4/2010 at 17:23

I'm really confused - I spoke to my travel insurance company last night and they said that Thailand was still on their list of countries that they covered despite the FCO warning. The adviser I spoke to said that they 'are not bound by FCO' and have their own list of excluded countries.

He basically told me that:

If Thailand gets put on their excluded list I will not be covered for ANYTHING if I choose to go (except cancellation/curtailment), regardless of whether or not it is a direct result of the protests. So if I go somewhere completely out of the way, e.g. Koh Phi Phi and got food poisoning, I would not be covered.

If it gets excluded before I fly out, I will be covered for cancellation but will not be entitled to a refund of the policy should I choose to go ahead with the trip/find alternative insurance elsewhere who WILL cover me.

If it gets excluded while I am out there, they will cover curtailment & repatriation costs, but cover for anything else will end as soon as it goes on the excluded list.

Other than calling them on a daily basis while I'm out there (not top of my list of holiday activities!) I'm not sure how I'm meant to know if/when it gets excluded while I'm away, as I did not have to specify countries of travel when I bought the policy, so it's not like they'll be able to alert me by email.

Secondly, their terms and conditions specifically say that they won't meet any claims resulting from me travelling to a specific area "against foreign office advice", which contradicts what I was told verbally.

Finally, according to news reports ABTA are saying that no travel insurance is valid in Thailand (although I'm not sure how ABTA can speak for all insurance companies) - although the reports suggest that you wouldn't be covered if you got caught up in any violence, rather than a total exclusion.

I don't know what to do - I'm going to Cambodia & Laos (which are presumably still OK) as well, so if worst comes to worst I can just spend minimal (transit) time in Thailand. Obviously we won't be doing any 'protest tourism', I'm keeping abreast of the situation and will change plans accordingly, so not particularly worried about getting caught up in any hotspots. My main concern is not having any medical cover, especially as we'll be taking our 4 year old.

#3 ZPeppiatt has been a member since 12/4/2010. Posts: 38

Posted by ZPeppiatt on 28/4/2010 at 18:07


So I've just spoken to someone else at the travel insurance company - basically, everything I was told last night is rubbish!

They DO go by the FCO advice, they DO NOT have their own exclusion list...

Needless to say, Thailand IS now on the excluded list, and they were informed of this fact by their underwriters prior to my phonecall last night...

Cancellation is NOT covered unless the British Govt prohibit ALL travel to the region...

If I had been in the country when the exclusion came into force, I would not have been covered for curtailment or repatriation costs...

On the plus side, I will be covered while I am in Cambodia/Laos and in Thailand from the day after any FCO warnings are lifted. I've still got time to cancel the policy if I want to, so I'll have a think about it.

I feel a bit stupid for taking the adviser at their word last night - I'd even scanned through the T&Cs before I called and queried what he was telling me, but he assured me what he was saying was correct.

Lessons learnt -

Don't listen to anything the sales team tell you at Travel Insurance Web! Their Customer Services team were brilliant though - very informative, their advice matched the T&Cs and she even called me back (without being asked to) to clarify something she didn't think she'd explained properly.

Which 'Best Buys' are not always a guarantee of quality service...

#4 ZPeppiatt has been a member since 12/4/2010. Posts: 38

Posted by sayadian on 28/4/2010 at 21:14

This is from GETMY travel insurance.I have yearly insurance with them because they insure up to 90 days.

'General exclusions
We will not pay for claims arising directly or indirectly from General Exclusions applicable to all
sections of the policy.
1. War, invasion, acts of foreign enemies, hostilities or warlike operations (whether war be declared
or not), civil war, rebellion, terrorism (except under Section 8 - Emergency Medical and Other
Expenses and Section 10 - Personal Accident), revolution, insurrection, civil commotion assuming
the proportions of or amounting to an uprising, military or usurped power.

12. Your travel to a country or specific area or event to which the Travel Advice Unit of the Foreign
and Commonwealth Office has advised the public not to travel.'

this is probably standard industry protocol so I would expect Thailand's tourist industry to go down the toilet pretty quickly if other countries follow the Brits advice.
Have any other countries over-reacted like the UK yet?

#5 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
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Posted by ZPeppiatt on 28/4/2010 at 22:19

Yes, that's pretty much what my T&Cs said upon close inspection. It's a bit cheeky though, because they won't cover you if you go against FCO advice, but they won't cover cancellation unless the British Government prohibits all travel to the region.

Similarly, for travellers already in the region, their cover ends but curtailment & repatriation costs are not covered, so they're stuck there without any insurance!! So in a way, I'm lucky I haven't left yet...

I'm more cross with the FCO's total overreaction - I wonder if they realise they're putting tourists currently out there in jeopardy? I wonder what implications this has for tourists still stuck out there due to volcanic ash...?

#6 ZPeppiatt has been a member since 12/4/2010. Posts: 38

Posted by somtam2000 on 29/4/2010 at 09:59 admin

Just updated the title of this thread to reflect that Canada has now also increased there warning to encompass all of Thailand.

People really need to check the small print of their insurance policies.

In part:
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to the Kingdom of Thailand due to ongoing large-scale political demonstrations, which have been marked by violence, death, and injury. The security situation is very volatile with significant potential for further civil unrest, violent clashes, and attacks. Canadians currently in Thailand should avoid all non-essential movement, exercise extreme caution, follow the advice of local authorities, closely monitor local media, and, if violence erupts, remain indoors.

The full Canada alert can be read here:

#7 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,652
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Posted by Risha on 29/4/2010 at 15:36

I do hope that the next time any incident happens in London, Canberra, Ottawa or Washington DC that the Thai government issues a travel warning to avoid the whole of those countries completely.

Oops, but then again, fatal clashes involving protestors have already happened in the past year in Oz, the States and the UK. So for those countries' govts, why have they not advised us to go their countries!@? It's not fair!

The matter of the fact is this, there have been no protests or unrest outside of the capital affecting foreign tourism. And even in Bangkok itself, ther ehaveonly been 2 (Two) incidents where foreigners got hurt. And all because they didn't pay attention to warnings advising them to miss out on touring protest sites.

#8 Risha has been a member since 23/2/2010. Posts: 20

Posted by ZPeppiatt on 29/4/2010 at 18:32

Looks like the US have jumped on the bandwagon too now...


"Due to escalating violence in central Bangkok, demonstrations in Chiang Mai, and other incidents throughout Thailand, all U.S. citizens should avoid nonessential travel to Thailand. This replaces the Travel Alert dated April 22, 2010, to update information on security concerns and to recommend against nonessential travel to Thailand at this time. This Travel Alert will expire on July 28, 2010."

#9 ZPeppiatt has been a member since 12/4/2010. Posts: 38

Posted by somtam2000 on 30/4/2010 at 19:18 admin

I've just added a new post containing advice from our recommended travel insurer, World Nomads.

You can read it here.

#10 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,652
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Posted by yogakhaolak on 1/5/2010 at 09:45

This makes me a bit angry. I live in the South and there is absolutely nothing going on here. Definately safe to travel. Business as usual here. But unfortunately we are now all suffering in the South due to incorrect information from the media.
It is really sad that tourists insurance will be void throughout the entire country.

#11 yogakhaolak has been a member since 1/4/2010. Posts: 45

Posted by khunwilko on 1/5/2010 at 19:18

Firstly the "all of Thailand" warning.

OK - thailand is a big pla=ce - but today (MAY 1) is labour day and there will be 2 holidays next week.

This will facilitate time off for demos etc.

There are now EXTRA groiups getting involved - e.g. Yellowshirtsd etc.

As Bkk is gradually closed down the movements may well bring their protests to the provinces.

there have been incidents most notably in Chiang Mai but also Khon Kaen and Udon earlier.

there was a small demo by Yellows or Multicolored for a few nights in Pattaya and a counter demo by the Redshirts. these are likely to spring up anywhere, and while not explicitly dangerous, they may prove inconvenient and could possibly turn nasty.

so just because people haven't seen anything YET - don't bank on it

#12 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by khunwilko on 1/5/2010 at 19:21

Insurance - it looks like many companies are saying you are covered for "normal"claims but nothing related to the "unrest" - I can see that leading to interpretation problems in the event of a claim.

Others just say you are not covered......

so there is a need to check with YOUR OWN co0mpany and not rely solely on the ramblings on the net.

#13 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560

Posted by Jleef on 2/5/2010 at 21:35

After speaking to STA Travel here in the UK I can confirm that their insurance policies do not cover Thailand at this point either. I've had to plan my return journey to SE Asia around starting and finishing in Hanoi for this reason.

#14 Jleef has been a member since 6/7/2009. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 36

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