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Guide to Choosing the Best Travel Insurance for Indonesia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
When I speak with short-time travelers in Indonesia, I am baffled to realize only a few have a proper travel insurance or a medical evacuation insurance. Among long-term residents and expats, there are also many who do not have health insurance, particularly among those without a working permit.

The objective of this article is to convince you that spending a few dollars per day on an insurance is not a waste of money. Even if you are on a tight budget, you can get a cheap one (as low as 3$ per day if you take a yearly subscription - check here) that will at least save your ass in case of a serious illness or accident. If you cannot afford it, then you probably should not travel to Indonesia.

Why you need a travel insurance in Indonesia
While you certainly need insurance everywhere, there are even more reasons to get it when you travel in Bali, Jakarta or the rest of Indonesia:

You are exposed to more risks
There are several risks specifically related to being in Indonesia. Some are unfortunately too common: Dengue fever, malaria, dog bites, food poisoning or motorbike accidents are really not that rare. If you've lived in the country long enough, you probably know a few people who had these problems.

There are generally lower safety standards in everything in Indonesia: Construction, food, transportation, roads, activities, etc. This increases the likelihood of an unfortunate event as well. You can read more tips about this topic here: WorldNomads Travel Safety Tips.

Medical care in Indonesia is very expensive
According to the AAMI, a day in an intensive care unit in Indonesia can cost up to 3,000$. Even in the cheapest hospitals you can expect to pay 800$/day.

Facebook groups like Bali Expats or Jakarta Expats are full of horrible stories of people who had their lives ruined in a few minutes because they did not plan their trips properly. Here are just a few examples (click on the photos for the whole story):
Some of them actually had an insurance, but they didn't read the fine prints. Not having a a motorbike license is often a reason for not being reimbursed for instance. I will give you tips later in this review on what you should be looking for to make sure your risky activities are covered.

More banal problems can be quite costly as well. Among my friends, several ended up in shitty situation for common accidents or diseases:

First one hit his head by diving into a pool: 1000$ in Sanglah Hospital (local one) for a few stitches and X-rays.

Second one got bit by a street dog in Legian: 3,000$ including anti-rabies medication.

Third one got a very bad case of dengue fever combined with malaria. He went into a coma and he had to stay 4 weeks in hospital. Total bill: 25,000 dollars. Luckily, he was covered and everything was paid for. It was after this unfortunate event that I rushed to get an insurance actually.

Private hospitals will never accept you if you cannot pay
In Indonesia, the decent hospitals are run as a strict business and not a charity. If you arrive bleeding to death after an accident, the doctors will not treat you until they make sure you can pay. If you can't, you'll be left outside. It's as simple as that.

An American will probably understand that. For a French, this concept is a bit hard to grasp as we are used to get healthcare for free.

Hospitals will overcharge you
You should know that as a foreigner with or without a working permit, you will be charged more for medical treatment in Indonesia. Expect to pay at least 2 times more than locals, more if you don't have a resident visa.

Many doctors have a poor ethic. If they can find a way to inflate your final bill, they will probably do it. It is a bit like going to a random auto repair shop in Europe: Most likely you will be charged for stuff you don't need.

Serious accidents will need a medical evacuation
Since many hospitals cannot treat the most serious patients, medical evacuation is often needed. To give you an idea of current prices:

Evacuation from Indonesia to Singapore: From 25,000$ to 50,000$
Evacuation from Indonesia to Australia: From 40,000$ to 70,000$
Evacuation to Europe: Up to 100,000$

Don't expect compensatory damages
The concept of third party responsibility is foreign to most Indonesians. If you are hit by an Indonesian drunk driver, don't expect you'll get any money from the person who was responsible. Actually, even if he is at fault, he could possibly still manage to get money out from you if he is a well-connected assh*le. The same thing apply if you have an accident within your hotel or while doing an activity with a company. If you are dealing with a local company, don't even think about getting compensatory damages.

What types of insurance do you need in Indonesia?
The type of insurance you need in Indonesia depends on your activity (working, retired, tourist, etc), your length of stay, your activities and your area of travel.

Travel Medical Insurance:
An insurance that will cover your medical bills for a limited duration (usually less than 90 days) when you are traveling outside of your home country. If you are traveling to Indonesia, it is the minimum you should get. For expats it is not necessary as long as they have an expat insurance.

Travel Insurance:
A generic term for an insurance that will cover several aspects of a trip: Medical problems, but also flight cancellation, theft, lost luggage, etc.

There are several websites where you can get a price estimate for your travel insurance in Indonesia. You can check WorldNomads which is a partner of Lonely Planet and Rough Guides. Among the famous ones you also have SmartTravel from AXA and Travel Guard from AIG.

You can find more options in your home country. The advantage of WorldNomads is that it is very easy to apply online and you do it even if you've already left home.

You can also search through the comparator Insure My Trip.

International Health Insurance or Expat Medical Insurance:
Travel insurance is for travelers and covers emergency situations. If you live permanently in Indonesia, you need coverage for regular health expenses such as dental care, optics, medical check ups, pregnancies, cancer treatment, etc. Those are typically not included in Travel Insurance policies.

Expats working in Indonesia should subscribe to the mandatory BPJS health insurance scheme. It is cheap, but don't expect to much from it. Many will also have their employer's insurance.

For the other expats without a company plan, you can either purchase a normal travel insurance for long term travel (but then you won't be covered for non-emergency situations) or purchase a dedicated Expat Health Insurance from a private company.

The latter is usually more expensive, but you should consider that you'll get more reimbursements as well. Reputed companies include Allianz, April-International, AXA, GMS, etc.

Repatriation/Medical Evacuation Insurance: An insurance that guarantees your medical evacuation will be paid for if needed.  The cost is usually reasonable, as little as 150$ per year, and it can save you tens of thousands of dollars. Remember that for serious injuries, you will not be able to be treated properly in Indonesia. This insurance is particularly needed if you plan on visiting remote areas.

If you purchase an insurance from WorldNomads, it is already included.

Things to check before purchasing a travel insurance

The obvious first step before purchasing a travel insurance is to make sure you don't already have one. You are probably aware that when you buy your plane tickets with a Visa or Mastercard, you are entitled to some kind of (limited) insurance. If you are traveling on a tour group, you may also already have one automatically added (though you can refuse it and buy your own instead).

Once you know for sure that you will need a travel insurance in Indonesia, you should be careful to check the following:

What is the maximum payable amount that I can get?
I think 200,000$ is the minimum amount to get considering how high some hospitals bills can be in Indonesia.

Is the medical evacuation included or not?
If not you will have to pay extra with another company. This is an essential part of your insurance and you need a high ceiling as well (minimum 150,000$).

Can you contact your insurance company 24/7? Can they approve a quotation 24/7?
This is a must in case of a major emergency. If you cannot prove quickly that you can pay for your treatment, the best hospitals may refuse you.

Do you have to advance the money?
Some insurance can give a guarantee to the hospital that your bill will be covered so you don't need to pay upfront.

Are there any exclusions?
There are always a lot of exclusions (things that the insurance does not cover). Read carefully to avoid any surprises. If you are planning to do dangerous sports and outdoor activities in Indonesia, ask for instance if surfing, scuba diving, diving, rafting, hiking, jet-skiing or paragliding are included.

What is the motorbike situation?
Motorbikes are a major cause of accidents for foreigners in Indonesia. Be careful as almost all insurers require a valid international license for the driver (even if you are a passenger). A specific motorbike license is also required for vehicle with more than 150cc. If you were drunk, high or not wearing a helmet at the time of your accident, you can also say good-bye to any potential claims.

What if you hurt someone?
Check if you can get reimbursement for third party damages.

The website of WorldNomads provides a lot of great tips to help you choose the right insurance. You can also make a simulation for your trip so you'll know exactly how much it will cost you and how long you will be protected. Don't forget to read the fine print very carefully to make sure you won't have any unexpected surprise.

How to save money on travel insurance?
The companies I've mentioned before are quite affordable. You'll only pay a few dollars per day for coverage. You can try to make a test on WorldNomads to see how much you will pay depending on your age, your country of origin, and the number of people you want to protect.
Click to get a a travel insurance quote from WorldNomads
If the amount is really to big for you, there are a few ways to lower the price even more:

Buy longer
This need some commitment, but naturally the longer you purchase, the cheaper it get. I made a test on WorldNomads for myself and got the following:

  • 7 days travel insurance to Indonesia (for a French): 26.70 euros (3.8 euros per day)
  • 4 weeks travel insurance to Indonesia (for a French): 93 euros (3.3 euros per day)
  • 365 days travel insurance to Indonesia (for a French): 804.30 euros (2.2 euros per day)
Make your own simulation here: Quote from WorldNomads.

Buy for several people at once
If you travel with your girlfriend or your family, you should choose the same reputed company for everybody.

Don't insure flights and valuables
This is what I do. Considering I travel alone with cheap flight tickets, last minute hotels bookings and few valuables, I don't really care about getting reimbursements on those things. The only thing I care about is not jeopardizing my whole life with an accident I can't afford to have.

Choose high deductibles and excess
Your insurance deductible and your excess are minimum amounts your insurance will charge you on any claims, not matter what. If your deductible for an accident is 1,000$, the insurance will reimburse you any medical expenses above 1,000$.

The philosophy of choosing a high deductible is the same as the previous point: It is for people who only want help if they are in big trouble. Having to pay 1,000$ from your own pocket sucks, but you can always find the money.

Don't buy it from your airline
When you book a flight, your airline or your tour operator will offer you to buy an insurance. Those are usually pretty bad deals and the prices are not interesting.

Compare
You can use Insure My Trip to search for the best deals. Be careful with cheap insurance companies though. If they can give a very cheap price, it probably means they don't reimburse much. You cannot have it all.

Rely on your credit card insurance only
This is possible but you must know the limitations of this strategy. In general, when you pay your trip with a classic Visa or Mastercard, you get 3 months of insurance with maximum reimbursement of less than 15,000$ (please check again with your banker to be sure). This ceiling is really too low in my opinion. You also have a lot of restrictions on what you can claim as well as high deductibles.

What insurance do you use?
This article would be greatly improved with your input. Which insurance did you choose for traveling to Indonesia? Did you succeed in making claims? If you are an expat, do you have a health insurance? Do you recommend it?

Personally, I have an expat insurance company that only insure French nationals. The name is CFE, if you are French and need more information about it you can email me thibaud@jakarta100bars.com. I pay 100 euros per month and I've made 2 claims that went well. The main one was for a gallbladder infection that kept me a week in Kasih Ibu hospital in Denpasar. The total bill was 7,000$ for 8 days and I had 5,000$ reimbursed.

Abortion in Indonesia: My Personal Experience

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Note from Jakarta100bars: One of my readers sent me the following email regarding abortion in Indonesia. I'm publishing it because it might interest some people. This is NOT a professional medical advice. Please consult a doctor if you need to perform an abortion. You can also get support from Indonesian women's group such as Samsara (email: samsara.indonesia@gmail.com) or Misocare.

"Hi Thibaud,

As you know, abortion is officially forbidden in Indonesia. My girlfriend got pregnant a few weeks ago and since we didn't want to keep the baby, we had to find a solution.

We considered several options, including going to Vietnam where abortion is legal. Finally, we met an expat who told us it could be done in Jakarta because my girlfriend had been pregnant for just a couple weeks.

In my home country in Europe, chemical abortion follow this procedure:

→ 1st step: The girl takes one pill of Mifepristone (Mifegyne) to stop the pregnancy to develop further
→ 2nd step: After two days, she must take Cytotek (Misoprostol). This is to make the bleedings start (and therefore the flushing of the fetus).

You can read on the net about details, possible side effects, etc.

However, it seems like in Indonesia, the focus is only on the Cytotek if doing abortion by pills.

A friend of mine (who is a doctor) said Cytotek is enough if pregnancy is in early stage (but if later, better to take both pills like described before, for better chance of success).

It was surprisingly easy to get Cytotec in Jakarta. The reason is that this drug is primarily used for healing ulcers in the stomach, but the “side effects” is making cramps in the uterus and if 4 pills are taken, it will make heavy bleeding – making abortion happen as a “side effect”.

One would think that Cytotek was forbidden in countries where abortion is forbidden, but because Cytotek has another purpose, it seems easy to get.  

My girl called a “pramuka” (a grocery store for apoteks - pharmacies) and bought it online, also ordered home delivery. Very easy. Maybe you can get it in ordinary apotek also, I don’t know. There are also many illegal reseller on internet, for instance on Instagram (you can check the tag Cytotek for instance). The price depends on the number of pills you need, which depends on how long your girl was pregnant. You can expect to pay IDR1M for 1 month pregnancy and double that for 4 month pregnancy. I can't vouch for them as I didn't try.

Also remember, if taking Cytotek for abortion, the girl should also take Ibuprofen (ibux) as painkillers as the possibility for big pain is very high. Ibuprofen does not influence the effects of the Cytotek. One can also buy Ibuprofen from the pramuka together with the Cytotek, of course.

Remember also, the pain and bleeding can be very strong (as my girl experienced), so one should be able to contact doctor or hospital as a security if pain / bleeding is very heavy. It is for your own safety.

It is better to be looked upon as a “bad girl” than to bleed to death. My girl experienced heavy pain and bleeding so she had to go to hospital. There, she got painkillers and treatment, but she said the doctors looked at her with an attitude (did not believe her because she would not tell about abortion). So this is big stigma in Indonesia. To be pregnant if not married – very bad.

Okay, hope you can use this information in Jakarta100bars."

If you have had a similar experience, please don't hesitate to share with readers below in the comments.

There seems to be a private clinic in Cikini that performs abortion as well but I don't have more details. You can see their Instagram profile here: Klinik Aborsi Cikini.

STDs / HIV Check-up and Treatment in Jakarta

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars) →
Many readers ask me where they can get a medical check-up for STDs such as AIDS, HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Hepatitis, Herpes, HPV (Human Papillomavirus), Genital and Anal Warts, etc. I will give you a list of recommended places in this review, plus some tips about safe sex in Jakarta.

If you are wondering whether STDs are prevalent in Indonesia, the answer is "of course". If you are wondering whether you should get checked after sleeping with someone without a condom, the answer is "of course".

Sex education in Indonesia is almost non-existent, and very few people know about STDs. For many, condoms are just a way to come inside a vagina without making babies. It is very common for Indonesians, guys or girls, educated or not, to have sex without any protection.

Prostitutes working in famous bordellos are usually screened regularly and they will force clients to use condoms. It is not always the case for low-end working girls and freelancers. Many expats and Indonesians have multiple partners, switching from "normal girls" to "prostitutes". For this reason, even good girls can be infected and when they do, they are too shy to seek treatment or even visit a gynecologist.

AIDS has killed over 34,000 persons Indonesians according to the UN (see report) and yet the subject is still considered taboo. Instead of waiting for mentalities to evolve, I recommend you to stay safe and to get a regular check-up in one of the facilities mentioned below. 

Angsamerah
Angsamerah is one of the best and cheapest places in Jakarta for HIV and STD check-up. They are currently in the process of relocating to Jalan Johar in Central Jakarta.

In the meantime, you can visit their Foundation Clinic on Jalan Panglima Polim Raya 6 in South Jakarta.

Prices
HIV test is around Rp300,000 (including Rp30,000 for administration fee, Rp200,000 for mandatory doctor appointment, Rp20,000 for the needle and Rp50,000 for the test)

For Gonorrhea/Chlamydia, the test is an additional Rp50,000 to Rp80,000 each.

You can get a full package including HIV, Syphilis and Urethral Discharge (+ doctor appointment) for Rp370,000.

Full price list available here: Angsamerah Test HIV.

Waiting Time:
You can get the results within 30-60 minutes.

Opening Hours:
From Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm (last appointment 8pm).

Location:
Klinik Yayasan Angsamerah
Jl. Panglima Polim Raya 6
Blok A, Kebayoran Baru
Jakarta Selatan 12140

The new Angsamerah Clinic will be located on Jalan Johar.

Website (with English version): http://angsamerah.com/
Phone number: +62 21 724 7676

Bio Medika:
Bio Medika is a good alternative to Angsamerah. It is a bit more expensive but they have several locations in Jakarta and in the rest of Indonesia (Bali, BSD, Tangerang).

Prices:
HIV Test: Rp382,500. Doctor consultation not required.
For other STDs, it is advised to have a note from your doctor to make sure you do the right test.
Test for Chlamydia (IGG/IGM): Rp 555,000
Test for Herpes (IGM): Rp305,000

Waiting Time:
Results will be given on the same day

Opening Hours:
From Monday to Friday from 6.30am to 9pm
Saturday from 6.30am to 4pm
Open on Sunday from 8am to 2pm

Location:
In Jakarta: Kedoya, Gandaria, Kelapa Gading, Mangga Besar, Semangan, Angke. More details on their website: http://www.biomedika.co.id

Phone number: 021 568 9942-43

Prodia
Prodia is also reputed for HIV and STDs screenings in Jakarta but it is more expensive than Bio Medika. It is convenient because there are dozens of locations in Jakarta and in every major Indonesian cities.

Prices:
The price for HIV testing is Rp391,000 but, surprisingly, you need to bring a note from your doctor. I don't really understand the point of this, especially considering they do not require it for other STDs check up.

Chlamydia test (IGM OR IGG) costs Rp727,000.
Herpes test IGM I: Rp352,000 and IGM II: Rp318,000

Waiting Time
You need 3 working days to get the results

Opening Hours:
Depends on the branch but most of them open from Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and on Saturday from 8am to 4pm. Always closed on Sunday.

Location:
Almost everywhere in Jakarta and Indonesia, you can check the full list on their website: http://www.prodia.co.id/Lokasi

International SOS 
Many expats prefer going to International SOS because it is their employer's recommended clinic. The standards are supposed to be better but the prices are much higher. Since they don't have their own laboratory, it also take a long time to receive the results.

Prices
You must do a consultation with their own doctor prior to the test. The price is Rp368,000 (for a General Practitioner) + Rp49,000 for Administration fee (Rp24,000 if you already are a client).

Based on the doctor's recommendation, you should pay the following, approximately:
HIV test: Rp550,000
Chlamydia screening: Between Rp500,000 and Rp1,100,000
Herpes: Rp1,500,000

Waiting Time:
You will get the results 5-7 days after the test.

Opening Hours:
From Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm (last appointment 5pm)
Saturday from 8am to 2pm (last appointment 1pm)

Location
SOS Medika Cipete Clinic
Jalan Puri Sakti No. 12, Cipete - Antasari
Phone number: 021 7505973

SOS Medika Kuningan
Menara Prima 2nd Floor, Mega Kuningan
Phone number: 021 5794 8600

Website: International SOS Jakarta

Global Doctor
Global Doctor is another clinic popular with expatriates in Kemang.

Prices:
Doctor consultation required: Rp288,000 + Administration fee (Rp40,000).

HIV test: Rp543,000 or Rp1,121,000 (depending on the test)
Chlamydia: Rp543,000
Herpes (anti-HSV): Rp396,000
Syphilis (TPHA): Rp184,000
Syphilis (VDRL): Rp115,000

Waiting Time:
Same day if you come before 10am for all tests except Chlamydia (on Tuesday only).

Opening Hours:
Consultation:
From Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm
Saturday from 8am to 4pm
Closed on Sunday and Public Holiday

Laboratory:
From Monday to Friday from 8am to 5pm

Location:
Global Doctor Indonesia
Jalan Kemang Raya 87
Phone number: +62 (0) 21 719 4565
Website: http://www.globaldoctor.co.id/

Rumah Sakit Saint Carolus
This public hospital gives free HIV and STD screening (Gonorrhea and Syphilis only). You may have to wait if you visit on a busy day.

Prices:
Free for Indonesians and Expats. For Chlamydia you normally have to pay but it depends on the doctor's appointment.

Waiting Time:
Results within 1 hour

Opening Hours:
From Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm

Location:
Jalan Salemba Raya No. 41 Central Jakarta
Phone number: 021-390 4441
Website: http://rscarolus.or.id/

Lab Klinik Gunung Sahari
This is one of the cheapest places to get an HIV test in Jakarta with locations in Gunung Sahari, Daan Mogot, Kelapa Gading and Depok.

Prices:
HIV test: Rp260,000 (no doctor's note required)

Chlamydia: Rp990,000

Waiting Time:
HIV: On same day
Chlamydia: If you come on Tuesday before 2pm, you can get on the same day. Otherwise, you must wait until the next Tuesday.

Opening Hours:
From Monday to Saturday from 6.30am to 8pm

Locations:
Check on their website: http://www.gunungsahari.com/

Lab Klinik Pramita
Pramita is a large chain with several locations in Indonesia, but only a few in Jakarta.

Prices:
Test HIV: Rp419,000
Test Chlamydia (IGM or IGG): Rp715,000 IGM

Waiting Time:
The results are received within 3 working days

Opening Hours:
Free doctor consultation if you come from Monday to Friday between 8am and 12am.

Locations:
You can see all the cities where Pramita is located on this link: Pramita Branches.

RSCM and RS Dharmais
Those two hospitals are hubs in the treatment of people living with AIDS in Indonesia. In particular, you can get anti-retroviral medication (ART). RSCM (Rumah Sakit Cipto Mangunkusumo) has its own specialized unit called Pokdisus.

Some Indonesians can get free tests, information and treatments there through the VCT program (Voluntary Counseling and Testing).

As a foreigner, you can get cheap tests and treatment but as it is a public hospital, expect to queue.

Prices:
About Rp120,000 for doctor consultation and Rp120,000 for HIV testing.

Waiting Time:
Same day results

Opening Hours:
From Monday to Friday in the morning

Location:
RSCM Rumah Sakit Cipto Mangunkusumo
Pokdisus Special AIDS/HIV Unit
Jalan Diponegoro No. 71, Central Jakarta
Phone number: 021 390 5250 or 021 3162788

Rumah Sakit Dharmais
Poliklinik Special HIV/AIDS
Jalan Letjen S. Parman Kav. 84-86, Slipi, West Jakarta
Phone number: 021 5681570 

OTHER LABORATORIES, CLINICS AND HOSPITALS:

Several other clinics and hospitals I contacted have similar prices, from Rp300 to Rp450,000 for the HIV test. They include the following: Makmal ReproBioMedicineABC LabRS MMC (conveniently located in Kuningan).

Surprisingly, I didn't manage to get one person from Siloam Hospitals who knew the prices. I will try again soon.

Free HIV tests are available at Puskesmas (community public health centers) and public hospitals for people who have the KJS (Jakarta Health Card). For others, the prices is generally very low. The complete list of locations is available here: Location Free HIV test.

This article was based on internet research and phone calls. If you have experience about STD and HIV testing in Jakarta, I'd love to hear about it. Please just write a comment below!