Travel insurance is particularly recommended in a remote and wild region like Tibet. Check especially that the policy covers ambulances or an emergency flight home, which is essential in the case of altitude sickness. Some policies specifically exclude ‘dangerous activities’ such as rafting and even trekking.
You may prefer a policy that pays doctors or hospitals directly rather than your having to pay on the spot and claim later. If you have to claim later, make sure you keep all documentation. Some policies ask you to call a centre in your home country where an immediate assessment of your problem is made. Note that reverse-charge (collect) calls are not possible in Tibet.
It is very useful to have trip- and flight-cancellation insurance for Tibet. Many travellers only pick up their Tibet Tourism Bureau (TTB) permits a day or two before flying to Tibet and if the agency can't get the permits in time or the permit gets lost or delayed in the post then you will not be allowed to board your flight to Tibet. Insurance is especially useful if you are heading to western or eastern Tibet as these regions are frequently closed with little to no warning. The announcement for opening is made in March or April each year, but some years the region closes again suddenly after a brief opening, or opens later in the season after a prolonged closure.
Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online any time – even if you’re already on the road.