Choosing the right insurance is always difficult. Health insurance is a lot more expensive than travel insurance in Cambodia. Therefore, if you are here for a short time, it is perfectly acceptable to only have travel insurance. If you are staying for a longer period, international health insurance is a better idea. Cambodia might not be dangerous, but the roads and traffic are!
Besides that, you don’t want to stay in most Cambodian hospitals for any length of time. In an emergency or for specialised treatment you may need to be flown to neighbouring countries. This is where international health insurance will protect you from huge bills, just make sure medical evacuation is included in your plan.
Let us start with travel insurance. When choosing a policy, take a look at the following points of discussion:
- Dangerous activities. Not every travel insurance will cover you if you fall during mountainbiking or parachuting for example.
- Country exclusions. This may sound obvious, yet you need to be sure that your travel insurance covers Cambodia.
- Other exclusions. The policy may outline that cover will be restricted under certain circumstances. For example, if you are involved in an incident whilst under the influence of alcohol or drugs you might not be covered.
- Maximum amount per item. If your brand new mobile phone is worth US$700, it does not mean you will get all the US$700 back when someone steals it.
- Excessive excess. This is the amount which you will have to pay to lodge a travel insurance claim. For example: If the stolen goods part of your policy has an excess of US$300 and you have a phone of US$500 stolen, you must pay the first $300. Some excesses are so high that it is hardly worth claiming.
But most important, insurance should cover the following:
- medical and health (injuries and illness)
- 24-hour emergency service and assistance
- personal liability
- lost and stolen possessions
A good international health insurance plan is essential for expats staying any length of time in Cambodia. Unfortunately, many expats have discovered the hard way that health insurance is vitally important. In Cambodia, the cost of health care is not regulated. You will pay more depending on the level of care which is provided. This depends on which clinic or hospital you are in. Having an accident may result in an expensive ambulance and night in the hospital. Often this will cost thousands of US dollars.
Do some research and choose if you would rather have a basic plan (which covers just the essentials) or a complete plan.
Driving in Cambodia can be dangerous. The Cambodian Law Blog states that, “every year, more than 2,000 people die and over 15,000 are injured” due to car accidents. The streets are crowded and not everyone adheres to the rules of the road.
In the unfortunate event of a traffic accident, it is most likely that if an expat is involved they will be the one to pay. This is simply due to the fact that most citizens do not have enough money to pay for compensation, damages or injuries. It is not unusual for someone to drive off after an accident because they cannot afford to pay. Without car insurance, this could lead to very large bills.
According to Asia Insurance, “all organization, company and commercial vehicles are now required by law to have Liability Insurance Coverage”. Not following this law will result in a fine. While this is great, it does not guarantee that all private car owners will have cover.
For more information about driving laws in Cambodia, we would recommend reading The New Traffic Law.
Property insurance provides protection against potential risks to your property; for example, fire, theft or weather damage. Unfortunately, as an expat you have few rights. For example, if fire does occur, you will be held responsible for damage to your property. This will only change if the cause was due to negligence of the landlord or a tradesman. You do not want to held liable for the costs, so make sure you know your rights.
In Cambodia, insurance against fire is the minimum that you should take out. If you do wish to have additional risks covered, you will pay more.
Insurance in Cambodia is based on the amount of money that will be needed to replace items or repair damage. This means that you will receive the actual cash value. If your property is insured for less than its true value, then you will receive a proportion of it. Under-insuring is a big problem in Cambodia so it is crucial that you know exactly what you are covered for; familiarise yourself with the exclusions of your insurance policy.
The relatively low cost of insurance in Cambodia is a much better option than the extortionate costs you could incur when you run into trouble without cover.