British Columbia

Langley man in health insurance limbo after near-fatal accident in Thailand

A Langley man is in critical condition in hospital in Thailand, after getting into a terrible crash in late January.

The family of 25-year-old Zsombor Toth thought he had travel medical insurance, but can't find a policy number

A collage of photos of Zsombor Toth, who has been in a Thailand hospital since late January with a head injury. (Courtesy Stefan Toth)

Two months ago, Zsombor Toth was in the midst of a six-week vacation in Thailand with a good friend.

Now, he's fighting for his life in a Chiang Mai hospital — and if he's able to recover, his family doesn't know if a massive medical bill awaits them. 

"Nothing is going to be the same, and he's not going to be the same," said his father Stefan. 

In late January, the family says Zsombor had a motorbike accident, resulting in a severe head injury and leaving him in a coma for weeks. After four operations, he's regained consciousness, but a piece of his brain had to be removed and his condition is still critical.  

"There's no reflex, he's not moving. He's able to move his eye ... just his left eye a little bit," he said.

Stefan says Zsombor told him he purchased travel insurance prior to leaving, but after weeks of searching, his family hasn't been able to find a policy number.

'Make copies and keep them with you'

It's the type of potential medical nightmare that many Canadian tourists end up in every year, says Will McAleer, president of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada.

"Whatever types of activities you plan, you want to make sure those types of activities are also going to be covered under your travel insurance policy," he said, adding that this particular case shows the value of making copies of travel insurance and leaving them with loved ones. 

"For typical travelers you want to make copies and keep them with you in your personal effects as well so you have those numbers when you need them the most."

Toth has regained consciousnesses after weeks in a coma, but his family is still unsure whether he has travel insurance that will cover his medical costs (Courtesy Stefan Toth)

Zsombor's family has hired a lawyer to gain access to his bank accounts and credit cards to see if he did in fact buy insurance.

The cost to fly him home when he's released is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.

"Your travel documents, the contact numbers for your assistance company, I would rank that up there as being right along the same parallel as your passport," said McAleer.

Global Affairs Canada confirms it is providing assistance to the family. 

With files from Brenna Rose