Travel insurance is part of the travel booking process that some travellers will happily forgo, despite also being the one thing standing between them and potentially thousands of dollars of debt.

It may not be vital in getting people to their holiday destination, but it is a fairly important way to ensure they don’t return from their trip financially bankrupt.

So shouldn’t it be compulsory?

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The question was raised this week after Thailand’s tourism leaders announced plans to roll out a new travel rule, which would require all international visitors to show their travel insurance papers in order to pass immigration.

Although a representative from the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) told KarryOn that the ruling may still be years away from being enforced, she said it was part of a larger plan to increase safety among tourists and in turn, reduce the three billion baht or AU$117 million in medical treatments spent on overseas arrivals.

The decision has been both welcomed and praised by Australian travellers and trade on KarryOn’s Facebook page, who believe more countries need to impose similar travel insurance requirements on their international guests.

Among them was Travel Agent David van der Meer, who described the new rule as a “no brainer”, especially for international tourists to Thailand who have history of behaving badly.

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Kayla Broughton said she believes it should be compulsory for “ALL travel”, while Cat Irvine stressed that “if you can’t afford decent insurance, you can’t afford to travel”.

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The comments kept coming, with Josh Zuker describing mandatory cover as “awesome” and Annette Fyfe questioning people’s decision to forgo travel insurance in the first place.

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Travel insurance companies have also praised the decision because according to Southern Cross Travel Insurance‘s Chief Executive, Chris White, “accidents can happen anywhere at any time”.

“Although the vast majority of mishaps are not serious, a significant amount require medical treatment.”

Chris White, Southern Cross Travel Insurance Chief Executive

“Costs can add up quickly and Aussies are at risk of not receiving the treatment they require or being left with large bills if travelling uninsured.

“Although we can’t prevent things from going wrong overseas, making travel insurance compulsory in one of the biggest hotspots for mishaps is a step in the right direction to ensuring travellers have the cover they need should they require medical care.”

Travel insurance

A similar sentiment was shared by Travel Insurance Direct’s Travel Safety Expert Phil Sylvester, who urged Thailand to encourage visitors to purchase “existing products” rather than an “inferior product”.

“We note that past attempts to provide a generic product with a ‘basic’ level of coverage resulted in a poor product being offered, and few people saw it as good value.”

Phil Sylvester, Travel Insurance Direct Safety Expert

“We hope the Thai government sees the sense in encouraging visitors to avail themselves of existing products in the commercial (and competitive) travel insurance market rather than attempt to mandate an inferior product.

“There is a great deal of choice in the travel insurance market, and it is important that people are free to choose a product that suits their individual circumstances.”

What do you think, should travel insurance be compulsory for all travellers?