Travel insurance Vietnam

Vietnam, a land with a troubled past, but a vibrant future in tourism opportunities. From great food, to buzzing nightlife, and beaches dotted all along its coastline, this Southeast Asian nation has lots on offer. 

Whether you’re floating down the Mekong Delta, riding scooters through Hanoi, or trekking the Central Highlands to get a bird’s eye view of the country from its peaks, pack a travel insurance policy to ensure you’re protected in the event the unexpected happens. 

While the Australian dollar is strong against the Vietnamese dong, there’s still the possibility of being stung with surprise expenses if your flights are cancelled, you end up in hospital, or your luggage goes missing.

What should my travel insurance policy for Vietnam include?

The kind of insurance you buy will depend on what kind of traveller you are. When comparing international travel insurance policies, consider how long you are travelling for, what benefits you might need, and if there are any optional-extras you’re interested in.

Whether you’re travelling around Vietnam in a rental vehicle or motorbike, backpacking, or sightseeing, an international travel insurance policy should fit your needs and budget. If you’re looking to cruise down the Mekong river, then make sure your policy offers cruise travel insurance as an optional-extra. Some providers will offer motorcycle and moped insurance as an optional extra, if they don’t already include it in their policy. 

Also, if you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, make sure that your insurance provider covers your condition. You don’t want to foot the bill in an overseas hospital if your health acts up while travelling. 

Many travel insurance providers will offer different tiers of cover on their international policies. These often range from basic or essential policies, to premium or comprehensive policies. 

Generally, a basic policy will cover benefits like overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses, and personal liability. However, cover for things like flight delays, cancellations, loss of travel documents or cash, might only be available if you pay a higher premium. The question you have to ask yourself is, what can I afford to risk?

Do Australians need a visa to travel to Vietnam?

As an Australian, you’ll need to apply for a visa before you leave home. You won’t be granted a visa when you arrive there, so come prepared, or risk being turned around.

However, it’s not difficult for Australians to apply for a visa for Vietnam online. To apply for a tourist visa, head over to the Vietnamese Government's e-visa portal, and follow the prompts.

Can I get COVID-19 travel insurance for Vietnam?

According to the Smartraveller website, Vietnam’s borders are slowly re-opening to international travellers after the COVID-19 pandemic swept across much of the world. 

The entry requirements for any international travellers entering Vietnam are easing slightly compared to earlier this year. This is in line with a marked decrease in case numbers from their February-March peak. 

You will no longer need to provide a negative COVID-19 test result to enter Vietnam, however some airlines may require a negative test before you can board, at their discretion. 

The existing Covid-related requirements and rules for travelling to and within Vietnam are:

  • Isolation if you contract the virus
  • Self-monitoring if you’re a close contact
  • Capacity restrictions 
  • Social distancing measures.

However, if you’re travelling overseas, your international travel insurance might not cover you for any COVID-19 related claims, depending if your destination is considered high-risk by the Australian government’s Smartraveller warnings. So, before you go booking your Vietnamese adventure, make sure you check the travel advice warnings for your destinations. 

If your policy does cover COVID-19 related events, it may only provide cover for overseas medical and cancellation costs if you contract COVID-19, and may not cover things like mandatory quarantine or government-mandated border closures.

Travel insurance tips for Vietnam

  • Excess fees. When you need to make a claim on your travel insurance policy, you may be required to pay a certain part of the total value of your claim. The rest would be paid by the insurance provider. This amount that you need to pay yourself is called an excess. This excess fee can vary according to your policy. Generally, the cheaper the cover, the more likely your excess fee will be higher.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Travel insurance providers ask you to declare any pre-existing conditions at the time of purchasing the policy. If you fail to do so, the insurance company can reject a claim you later make regarding that condition. Also, remember that pregnancies are considered as a pre-existing condition.
  • Unattended baggage. Remember that if your bags go missing while you’ve left them unattended, your insurance provider may reject your claim. In fact, even when you leave your bags with the hotel concierge after you’ve checked out, that’s often considered ‘unattended’ in the provider’s eyes. So, leaving your luggage with the concierge at the hotel could result in your provider refusing to reimburse you for it, if it goes missing. 
  • Report incidents ASAP. Whether you’ve injured yourself while riding a moped through Hanoi, or had your purse stolen, you need to report any incident as soon as possible. Again, if you’ve read your policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully, you’ll know the exact documentation that you will be required to submit with your claim. Generally, these will be doctors reports, hospital bills, police reports, or receipts, depending on the nature of your claim. So, make sure you hold onto these when it comes to contacting your travel insurance provider. 
  • Driving in Vietnam. First of all, don’t drive a vehicle you aren’t licensed to drive. For non-Vietnamese citizens, you’re only permitted to drive if you hold a temporary Vietnamese driver’s licence. Make sure you have the right paperwork when you hire a car in Vietnam, and consider whether or not your policy covers rental vehicle insurance excess, in case there’s an accident in your hire car. And like in any part of the world, don’t drink and drive – your insurance will not cover you for any accidents while under the influence.
  • Drink responsibly. Given the price of alcohol in much of Southeast Asia, it’s easy to sink Saigon Red tinnies like water, but always remember to be responsible with your drinks. If you face a medical emergency or injury while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your insurance company could refuse to reimburse you for those expenses. The worst type of hangover doesn’t come from cheap beer – it’s induced by bills.