A close friend of one of our researchers, Englishman Carl Bart, is in a coma on Ko Samui after having a motorbike accident. While he was insured when he left the UK, the travel insurance lapsed and he wasn't able to renew it while overseas. As a result of this, his family is looking at £65,000 to £70,000 in total to get him home.
This is not money Carl's parents have and they've taken a mortgage to raise some of the money, but they've launched a public appeal to try and raise the extra money needed to get him home.
They have set up a website to raise awareness of their plight and you can read more there.
If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times -- do not travel without adequate medical insurance.
This should be a sticky.
If this story isn't enough to convince someone on the importance of travel insurance, then I don't know what is. I cannot understand travellers who are prepared to spend $100's on alcohol over the course of their travels, but not stump up for insurance.
(I'm not referring to Carl's circumstances but to those who make the "My insurance quote is $300 - is it worth it?" posts).
I hope Carl makes a good recovery - what a tragedy for him and his family.
What a tragedy.
I have never been to Koh Samui, but a friend of mine has, and he says that motorbike accidents are endemic there (even more than the rest of the country) - too many inexperienced drivers on the road.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hi exacto. Thanks for asking about Carl. He's my boyfriend's brother. He's still in a coma on Koh Samui. His mum arrived there on Monday and is trying to sort out the best next steps as the earliest availability on an air ambulance is 9th September but if they book that and then the doctor's decide he's not fit to travel they are faced with a cancellation charge. Alternatively they book for end Sept and continue paying the extortionate £1,200 a day hospital bills.
The fund-raising is going OK - up to about £11,000 now with lots of events planned. Still a drop in the ocean but every little helps.
Marilyn (his mum) is absolutely amazing and has been tirelessly appearing on TV and radio shows to help publicise the cause and warn others of the dangers of not having insurance.
Thanks to everyone for reading this, for visiting the website and for the donations. It's a really tough time right now but there is a ray of hope that we'll be able to help cover at least some of the bills and that he'll recover eventually.
That's a great web site. I'll make a donation next month when I get paid... sad situation.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
While not specific to Carl's situation, heard today that two friends of friends have died in motorcycle accidents in the last week in Bali. There are apparently around 150 motorbike accidents a DAY in Bali and at the moment there are over a dozen unidentified foreigners in the morgue at Sanglah Hospital.
As an added complication, practices like riding without a helmet may invalidate your insurance and if you're evaced - someone has to pay for it.
If you're going to ride a motorbike anywhere (not just Bali) wear a helmet and make sure you have insurance.
Edited by Somtam2000
So glad someone is giving this advice, so many tourists come to SEA with no motorcycling experience and then insist on not wearing helmets because they don't have to - and the end result is often going to be tragedy. You may have good insurance, but if you have an accident in my home town, the local hospital is little better than a clinic and half-decent (and only half) medical care is just a 2 1/2 hr taxi ride away. Just what you need if you have concussion or some other complication. How about setting a good example and being a role model to the people who live here? Most of them don't have insurance and access to quality medical attention. It behooves us to be role models. Every time you ride a bike without a helmet you are advertising a lack of self-respect and care that can achieve nothing positive. Please wear a helmet ALL the time. I know they're not good quality, I know they're not cool, and don't start bleating about freedom and some outdated 60s hippy feelgood factor, think of the image you as a member of a privileged minority projects to the poor (economically and educationally) of this region. People aspire to our lifestyles and wealth. Give them a reason to where their helmets, however poor they may they might just save a life... ALWAYS WEAR YOUR HELMET!
Hi. Just came back to this thread after responding to another post and thought I'd put on a quick update. Unfortunately, although Carl is now back in the UK, he is still in a coma - 4 months after the accident. The prognosis is that he'll come out of it but that's still not much comfort. Fund-raising was going well - up to about £38,000 - but has unsurprisingly slowed down now. A few more events are planned for 2012 though, and we're selling Christmas Cards in the UK now, so we're still working on it. Just a reminder to think about these things before you head off travelling.
i never understand why people dont get insurance mine has cost me £30 thats nothing to what it can cost. i got a moped last year in chang mai and its not sonething i will do again. thai and westerners turn into idiots . some girl raced past me shouting at us as she passed about a mile up the road this girl was on the floor passed out bleeding from the head.i know there are benefits to getting mopeds but i will be paying a tuk tuk driver from now on . hope your friend recovers and will pass and will tell as many people i meet to donate.
#10 morse96 has been a member since 11/12/2011. Posts: 27
Thanks for your good wishes morse. I completely agree that there's no reason to not get insurance but unfortunately in Carl's case he wasn't able to extend his policy whilst away and wasn't aware that there were policies that you could take out after your trip had started. If your trip length is unknown, just make sure your policy covers you for long enough or is extendable.
I wanted to share this article, and thought this was good thread to bump up at the same time while doing so (hope Sarah doesn't mind!).
There is a story in our local paper today about a NZ guy who had a motorbike accident in Phuket. He was wearing a helmet, but was still badly injured. He had insurance, but it
turns out that there was a small exclusion for riding motorbikes and mopeds which he didn't realise. So now his family have to fork out $16,000 towards medical expenses. (My thought was 'only $16k?' - they got off lightly!).
The lesson to be learned here is firstly, to have insurance in the first place,and secondly to understand what is and what is not covered. Bugger the laptop, camera etc - have you got enough cover for you, and for the activities that you will be doing so that you don't end up bringing financial hardship to you or your family back home? Understand what you can and cannot do within the limitations of your policy.
To intentionally not have adequate cover is a selfish act when you consider the financial hardship that can be imposed on your family. (As an aside, I know a girl in her mid-30's, lives on her own and works in a well-paid job that won't take out health and income insurances because if she gets sick and can't work, her family will support her. Never mind that they are not wealthy and are approaching their retirement years. .. )
No problem with bumping up the thread - it's good to keep reminding people of the risks and the importance of adequate insurance. Sad tohear about this guy, but thank goodness he survived - if he's still in Thailand though the chances are those bills will keep climbing: the hospital Carl was in on Ko Samui charged about £1,500 a night. Let's hope he can get home soon.
Something else that's also worth mentioning - make sure you keep your insurance details / card with you or easily accessible at all times. An expat girl out here was involved in a motorbike accident (I think she was a passenger on a motorbike taxi) and went to the one of the private hospitals - I think it was the French Hospital - but they wouldn't treat her without her insurance card, which her company had and she couldn't get hold of. They wouldn't even give her pain relief. So she ended up having to go to a local hospital nearby - something you should avoid for serious injuries, if not all injuries.
My own research earlier this year confirmed that NO insurer will cover you if you have an accident on a motorbike or moped UNLESS you have a full license to ride such a vehicle in your home country. I suspect the vast majority of tourists riding around do not have a full motorbike license and therefore are not insured at all - whether or not they have a helmet on.
Good point Nokka - that's exactly the case. You're only covered if you are legally allowed to ride that motorbike in your own country (and/or the country you are driving in). Alternatively, I drive a 50cc motorbike here in Hanoi , but neither in Vietnam nor the UK am I required to have a license for that vehicle, hence I'm insured. They're not great bikes for a HCMC to Hanoi marathon though!