While the growth of international traffic can be touted at around 5-8% in India, the role of travel insurance cannot be ignored.
Travel insurance is insurance cover for the risks a traveler might face during the trip. Also known as visitor insurance and overseas medical insurance, it covers everything a range of risks while traveling abroad ranging from medical expenses and personal accident to trip delays, trip cancellation, baggage loss or loss of passport. Unfortunately it is still not given its due importance due to lack of information about it.
So here are 5 things one should keep in mind before getting that travel insurance.
Destination plays a very important role for travel insurance. In terms of being mandatory, only 15 of the 26 Schengen countries insist on an insurance cover. Also, if you are over 60 years of and travelling to the United States, Canada or Australia must have an insurance policy.
Besides the mandatory component, destination also plays an important role also because it helps determine the size of the cover required. Medical insurance is the main component of travel insurance and countries vary in their costing for medical treatment. For example, medical treatment is significantly costlier in countries like the US and Canada than in South East Asia. More expensive the medical treatment in a country, more the cover required for travel insurance while visiting it.
How many times you travel and how long your duration is are vital in determining what kind of a travel insurance cover is required. The general rule is that the longer your trip, the more cover you need, leading to higher premium being paid. Also, based on your frequency, there are two types of travel policies available- Single Trip and Multiple Trip. In Single Trip, you can visit abroad once. The cover commences from the moment you board flight for abroad trip and ends on your return back to India.
The cover is available for up to 180 days. In Multi Trip, you can visit abroad multiple times. The cover is available for a period of 365 days. The maximum duration of each trip should not exceed 45 days and the total number of days spent abroad should not exceed 180 days. Most of the insurance firms have custom made plans for frequent flyers which make them economical to buy.
The next thing to keep in mind is the features one needs while travelling. Getting sick or sustaining an injury on an overseas trip can be a huge expense, so medical insurance is a must-have feature in any travel insurance policy. Over and above it, one can look for content insurance that will cover our fancy phones, cameras and pricy jewelry. Another useful feature is riders on delay and cancellation or airline and tour insolvency. These are a great hedge against losing the money you spent on the travel bookings. Home insurance, personal accident and personal liability are also some additional features one can opt for.
It is essential you declare any medical conditions before purchasing travel insurance. This is because most pre-existing diseases are excluded from the cover. So if you have any pre-existing disease before travelling, go for a policy which has a component to include the same. This way, even if you fall ill whilst on holiday such a policy could help you with cover for emergency treatment and hospital costs relating to that pre-existing condition.
Finally, comparison is a must. Never buy a policy only on the basis on sum insured and premium. Take time to go through the policies in detail to find out who is offering what. Conduct a comparative analysis of companies and their offerings like online services, claims process, toll free number, payment options, network of hospitals, and other features to figure out what works for you best. If you find such add-ons unnecessary, go for the most basic package on offer.
Authored by: Mr. Yashish Dahiya, CEO & Co-founder, Policybazaar.com