Travel Insurance for Bali: Mandatory?

Alexis
Modified on January 21, 2024

The travel insurance is a touchy but necessary matter when you go to Bali. Here is what you MUST know.

What is travel insurance?

As the name suggests, travel insurance is an insurance that covers you against various risks when you are away from home.

Travel insurance can cover you in certain specific places where you travel, in a certain country or even worldwide. It depends on the offer you want to subscribe to, your needs, and your risk aversion.

By definition, travel insurance is a contract with a fixed term. Its term is known in advance and corresponds to the end of your trip.

What risks are usually covered in travel insurance?

Travel insurance often covers several types of risks related to your trip:

  • Illnesses and accidents on site (medical expenses)
  • Emergency repatriation to your home country or a third country
  • Trip cancellation
  • Loss or theft of luggage
  • Civil liability in case of damage to third parties

Each travel insurance contract is unique and depends on several factors: your insurance company, your credit card, the duration of your trip, the countries you plan to visit, etc.

What are the main risks in Bali that travel insurance can cover?

Let's face it, losing luggage or a flight delay to return home is generally the least of your worries when you are traveling in Bali.

What some have learned the hard way is that a good insurance allows them above all to avoid paying exorbitant medical expenses out of their own pockets.

The last thing you want when you are traveling in Bali and have a medical problem is for your life to depend on a Leetchi fund, a gofundme, or a transfer from grandma.

It may sound amusing, but ask anyone living here: we see dozens of these cases every year.

Medical expenses due to road accidents: the main risk in Bali

motorcycle accident bali

The number 1 reason for serious medical problems in Bali comes from road accidents (often on scooters).

Not surprisingly, falling off a scooter hurts and can cause very serious injuries, to the point that hospitalization costs can quickly amount to tens of thousands of euros.

If you don't have reliable insurance, you will have to pay the expenses yourself, otherwise no hospital in Bali will operate on you for free, even if you are in a serious condition.

If you have travel insurance that covers you, you, your entourage, or the hospital can contact them and agree on how to settle the bill so that you can receive treatment as quickly as possible.

Hospitalizations due to diseases: a low but existing risk

Again, even though these diseases are generally treated quite well in Bali, they can require hospitalization for several days in some cases, and the cost can quickly skyrocket.

Just like accidents, a prior agreement from your travel insurance will often allow you to avoid paying upfront and be hospitalized more quickly.

Sports accidents: relatively common in Bali

Bali is an island where many sports are practiced, including many that can be considered extreme or at least dangerous.

Surfing is undoubtedly one of the most emblematic. While fatal accidents are fortunately rare, "ordinary" accidents are still numerous. Having a head-on encounter with a coral reef rarely ends in something very positive.

Scuba diving accidents are also relatively common. Bali is quite well-equipped with hyperbaric chambers to treat decompression sickness, but they are, of course, not free.

Emergency repatriations in Bali are much more common than you think

One might think that emergency repatriations are quite rare, but they are actually very common. The vast majority of these emergency repatriations are due to road accidents.

If you have a road accident that has caused damage ranging from relatively significant to extremely significant, your travel insurance may decide to send you back home to receive specific medical care.

I personally know three people who were repatriated for these reasons, all for motorcycle accidents. One had broken his jaw, the other his hand (in a thousand pieces), and the last his shoulder (also in a thousand pieces). In these three cases, their respective insurances put them on a plane back to their home country, sometimes even in business class!

In cases of very serious repatriations, travel insurance may also charter medical planes. Obviously, these specially chartered medical planes are absolutely expensive and impossible to finance out of your own pocket.

A French expatriate of long standing without insurance who had a very serious motorcycle accident in Bali in 2018 experienced this. The cost of his repatriation to France by medical plane was €500,000. Unsurprisingly, his family never managed to raise the necessary funds, and he died in Bali from his injuries.

What happens in case of accident or illness in Bali when I don't have travel insurance?

When you don't have travel insurance in Bali, you have to pay every time you go to the hospital, regardless of the reason or severity of your situation.

No hospital will treat you without having received proof that it can be paid. When you don't have travel insurance, it means that you are treated when the money is in their account, or at least proof of the bank transfer is sent to them.

When you have travel insurance, a prior agreement can be reached between the hospital and the insurance company. So you can be treated without the money being on the hospital's account yet.

Remember: you are not in Europe or the West in Bali. The risk is not just waking up with a hefty bill. The risk is not being treated at all and potentially dying as a result.

When can one take out travel insurance for Bali?

Travel insurance for Bali, like elsewhere, must be taken out BEFORE your departure.

Too many people wake up too late and think that taking out travel insurance after an accident or illness will allow them to avoid their lack of responsibility.

Obviously, insurance companies are not fooled on the subject. If you have had an accident or illness before the effective date of the contract, you will not be entitled to any reimbursement.

Do I need travel insurance for Bali if my credit card already provides insurance?

Travel insurance offered with credit cards is very rarely sufficient for destinations like Bali where risks are significant, and hospitalization costs can quickly become very high.

The reimbursement limit for most credit cards is around €10,000, which is very little for a place like Bali. To give you an idea, a friend of mine spent €4,000 for a simple broken nose, which was neither an emergency nor a particularly complex operation.

A road accident with multiple fractures, long hospitalization, or heavy treatments will quickly exceed the limits of your credit card in a few hours or days!

Also, remember: your credit card insurance is limited to 90 days of travel only, and medical expenses are practically never advanced.

Travel insurance is often much better than credit card insurance. The reimbursement limits are often higher, around €300,000, the duration is not limited to 90 days, and the contract often allows for advancing hospitalization expenses under conditions.

How much does travel insurance for Bali cost?

The prices of travel insurance for Bali depend on several factors:

  • Your coverage area (Bali / Indonesia / all of Asia / worldwide)
  • The duration of your stay
  • Your risk profile (especially your age)
  • The options you want (deductible, first euro coverage, etc.)

For younger individuals with limited needs, the minimum for travel insurance in Bali is around €30 per month, which is generally peanuts compared to the cost of hospitalization.

More comprehensive travel insurance for older profiles or with more options is usually around €100 per month. The longer you travel, the more rates become discounted.

Is it mandatory to have travel insurance to get a visa in Bali?

Travel insurance is not part of the mandatory documents to enter Bali via a Visa On Arrival (VOA).

However, it is often required for other longer-term visas.

During the Covid-19 epidemic, it was mandatory to show an insurance certificate to enter Indonesian territory, including for VOA.

Travel insurance or expatriate insurance: what are the differences?

Travel insurance is not the same as insurance for expatriates.

Insurance for expatriates has no end date, unlike travel insurance.

Some travel insurance can be taken out for relatively long periods (1 year or more) but cannot be renewed. When you settle in a new country, including Indonesia, you should opt for expatriate insurance.

Conclusion

The question of travel insurance in Bali is a non-issue.

Yes, you absolutely need travel insurance for your stay in Bali, whether you are there for a month or the long term.

If you ride a two-wheeler, it is totally suicidal to do so without good health insurance.

Travel insurance is certainly not free, but it is nothing compared to what could await you in the event of a significant problem.

It's better to save on another aspect of your trip (accommodation standards, activities, transportation, etc.) rather than trying to save a few pennies on something that

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