Does travel insurance cover food poisoning in Thailand?

Most comprehensive travel insurance cover food poisoning as food poisoning, however, each policy is different so be sure to read carefully. Food Poisoning is common for first-time travelers, and with Thailand’s delicious street food scene, it is hard to resist all of the delicious-looking food. While most cases are mild and resolve on their own, some can be severe and require medical attention.  Knowing if your travel insurance covers food poisoning in Thailand can give you peace of mind while you explore all of the street food.

food poisoning street food

Here’s the breakdown:


  • Most travel insurance policies for Thailand cover medical expenses incurred due to food poisoning. This typically includes doctor consultations, medication, and hospitalization costs if necessary. However, it’s crucial to check the specifics of your policy wording to ensure food poisoning is explicitly mentioned under medical coverage.
  • Be aware of exclusions. Some policies might exclude pre-existing medical conditions that contribute to food poisoning susceptibility. Additionally, some might have limitations on coverage amounts or require hospitalization for reimbursement.
  • Always get a medical report. Regardless of policy details,  a doctor’s report detailing your food poisoning diagnosis and treatment received is essential for claiming any medical expenses.

Recommendation:  Contact your travel insurance provider before your trip to Thailand. Ask them to clarify if food poisoning is covered under your medical expense clause and inquire about any specific requirements for claiming reimbursement.

street food tomyum food poisoning

What to do if you have food poisoning in Thailand?

Getting food poisoning can put a damper on your trip. Here’s what to do if you find yourself struck down by this unpleasant illness:


  1. Hydrate! Dehydration is a major risk with food poisoning, especially in Thailand’s hot climate.  Sip on clean water, or an oral rehydration solution (ORS) readily available at 7/11 (which are everywhere in major cities) or pharmacies, to replenish lost fluids and electrolytes.
  1. Rest. Your body needs all its energy to fight off the infection. It’s not always easy to do when you are on holiday but take it easy and avoid strenuous activities.
  1. Diet:  Avoid harsh foods that can further irritate your digestive system. Stick to bland, easily digestible options like plain rice, toast, or bananas. Gradually introduce other foods as your symptoms improve.
  1. Over-the-counter medication:  Consider over-the-counter medications for symptom relief.  These may include anti-diarrheal medication (loperamide) or anti-emetics (anti-nausea medication) depending on your symptoms. However, it’s important to consult with a pharmacist to ensure these medications are safe for you.
  1. Seek medical attention:  If your symptoms worsen or persist for more than 3 days, high fever develops, or you experience severe dehydration (dizziness, dry mouth, little to no urination),  consult a doctor immediately.

To find a hospital you can refer to our guide on hospitals in Thailand. There are some recommendations and how to choose the best one depending on your location.


How to claim for food poisoning?

If you require medical attention for food poisoning in Thailand and have travel insurance, here’s how to claim for reimbursement:


  1. Keep all receipts.  Collect receipts for all medical consultations, medication purchases, and any other relevant expenses.
  1. File a claim with your insurance provider.  Contact your travel insurance provider as soon as possible and  initiate the claim process. They will typically have a claim form to be filled out,  along with your medical report and receipts; some companies like LUMA, have their own app in which you can upload your documents and claim everything online.
  1. Be prepared to answer questions.  Your insurance provider might ask you about the details of your illness, the food you suspect caused it, and any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.
street food fruit food poisoning

How to avoid getting food poisoning in Thailand?

Here are some tips to minimize your risk of food poisoning in Thailand:

  • Stick to reputable vendors.  Choose stalls with high customer turnover and good hygiene practices. Look for clean preparation areas and staff using proper handwashing techniques.

  • Beware of raw ingredients.  While some raw dishes like papaya salad (som tam) are safe at established restaurants, it’s generally safer to opt for cooked dishes, especially when at street vendors. The hotter the better!

  • Ditch the ice.  Ice cubes in drinks can be a source of contamination if made with unclean water.  Stick to bottled water or sealed beverages.

  • Be cautious with seafood. Thailand has a lot to offer when it comes to seafood, ensure your seafood is fresh and properly cooked. Avoid dishes that have been sitting out for extended periods.

By following these tips and having the right travel insurance that covers you for food poisoning, you can minimize the risk and enjoy the delicious world of Thai cuisine with peace of mind.

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