Insurance is Very Important in Nepal, You need to have a policy that includes High Altitude Trekking (Obviously if you don’t intend trekking then this does not apply) and make sure that it covers “Helicopter Rescue ” (Casualty Evacuation).
Then Once you arrive in Nepal and before you go trekking you Must register your insurance with whoever will “Manage” your rescue.
You have two main options here and although, So far (Luckily) I haven’t need a rescue I have tried both options
1) Register your Insurance with Your Embassy, I did this on my first trek in Nepal and was Less than satisfied, I am from UK and the welcome I received at The British Embassy was unfriendly, and that was after 3 trips there to eventually find them open !! Then later I realised that if I needed rescuing and the embassy was closed then I would have to wait until the embassy re-opened – Particularly over weekends people there might be difficult to contact so this might not the best of options !!
2) Register your Insurance with a Trusted and Reliable Agent, This is easy if you have a Good Agent and especially if you are hiring Guides from them, You have to make a copy of your insurance certificate, point out the emergency telephone numbers, the policy number etc and leave it with him Some agents will also offer you this service if you are buying Lukla Flights, TIMS / ANCAP in advance so it is always worthwhile asking, even if you have to offer reimbursing any expenses the agent incurs with international phone calls etc – It is better that laying in pain – Or worse for days waiting !!
Agents can usually be contacted out of hours as they nearly all have mobile phones so this is my own preferred choice of where I leave my own insurance details.
Then if you need a rescue you contact whoever you have registered your insurance with and ask them to put one into action, they would then telephone the insurance company, giving the details of both the policy and why the rescue was needed and then as soon as the insurance company authorised the rescue they would telephone one of the Himalayan Rescue Associations and if necessary the helicopter would be dispatched.
A word of caution is that the helicopter won’t be dispatched until the Himalayan Rescue Associations are 100% sure that they will receive payment for the rescue
As insurance policies are all different, it is well worth checking with your own as to what happens next. in many cases you will have to fund your own rescue and pay for it before leaving Nepal and then claim the money back once you are back home. Some insurance companies will make a direct payment to the rescue service and some won’t – So it’s a case of checking, and preferably before the event to avoid any necessary surprises !!
Personally, I have used “Columbus Direct” (08708940005) for my last 2 trips to Nepal and they cover high altitude trekking on recognised paths as well as the usual lost baggage and cancellation clauses etc
My last annual policy with a 60 day trip limit was £99 so not so expensive either.
Prior to using Columbus I was with Direct Travel Insurance and they badly let me down on my 2006 trip to Nepal when the British Government put a warning to travellers out on Nepal.
I rang Direct Travel Insurance to see how my cover was and they said if I chose to go in spite of the British Government put a warning to travellers then I wasn’t covered, They also said that I wasn’t covered if I cancelled my trip because If I cancelled then I was doing so of my own volition and hence no cover – So basically I wasn’t insured if I went and I wasn’t insured if I didn’t go – Talk about the Best of both worlds, For the Insurance company that is
Columbus Direct no longer covers trekking at altitude, even with a policy loading, therefore it is no longer any good for trekking trips to Nepal.
So – After shopping around I have now insured myself with “The True Traveller” Insurance and have to say that I am Very Impressed with their professionalism, taking time to go through exactly what is covered – and what isn’t.
Helicopter Rescue is covered, but one thing that was pointed out to me is there is no cover on a total group size of less than 3 – When I asked why this was, I was told simple, one to raise the alarm, one to stay with the injured party and of course, the injured party themselves – It All make perfect sense to me
Prices are very good too, with an annual multi trip policy including the “Sports Pack” (trekking at altitude cover) and additional “Baggage and Personal Effects” cover coming out at £109
“The True Traveller” offer insurance cover for most European residents.
Give them a go is my Best Advice
Looks like I got in just in time as prices have increased – By Age Group, 19-49's by approximately 20%, and for over 50's by approximately 50%
This was as a direct result of the amount of helicopter rescues in the last 14 months, BUT, If you want a Good Level of cover then it’s far better to pay for it than to find out you aren’t insured when you really need it !!
Visas for Nepal - Writeon
If visa forms are not handed out by airline staff prior to landing at Kathmandu, there will be stacks of them in the Arrivals building just before Immigration.To get ahead of the long queues that will form be sure to have two passport-size photos ready along with the exact visa fee in Pounds or Dollars (check with google for amount). Don't rely on Immigration staff to find change for you. Everything is tediously done by hand; I don't remember any computers being installed yet.
Certain documents are very important to have on you while in Nepal, and others are more important to just bring to Nepal but not have on you.
Documents to have upon your arrival in Nepal: Valid passport, visa (or US$30 cast to buy a tourist visa at Kathmandu's Tribhuvan International Airport), passport photos (1-2 needed for the visa application, one needed for the pass to Kathmandu?s Durbar Square, and many trekking permits require 1-2 passport sized photos, onward ticket or proof that you will exit the country if asked, and inoculation papers if necessary.
If you run into Maoists and they make you pay a "tax" make sure you get a receipt and have that on you when traveling in Maoist territory.
Now, what I was told my by Nepali travel agent was that since I carry a US passport that I should leave my passport at the US embassy in Kathmandu, he said the same thing for British citizens.
Inexperienced travelers take note:
Always carry your essential documents -- passports, money, credit cards, and air tickets -- on your person. Under no circumstances should you pack them, whether in your hand luggage or your checked bag. To do so invites disaster.