If you are planning to travel outside India anytime in the near future, it is advisable to get a proper travel insurance cover to protect yourself from any unfortunate incidents that could take place on your holiday or business trip.
Depending on the person you are travelling with and the destination, it is wise to do your own research before blindly opting for an insurance cover provided by your travel agent.
Even if you do stick to the insurance cover opted by your travel agent, you should still consider the following points and check if these risks are covered:
The insurance cover would have to be higher based on the destination of your visit. For example, if you are visiting countries with a higher cost of living like Singapore or the United States, a visit to the doctor could take a toll on your life's savings without insurance.
2. Consider the age factor
One of the biggest risks on a trip is emergency medical care. Getting treated in a foreign country not only has legal complications but could also prove to be very expensive without a health insurance cover.
If you are travelling with a senior citizen, get additional insurance cover that will also appropriately cover their existing medical complications apart from unexpected risks.
Check for hospitalisation limits and treatment costs limits set on the cover. It is important to get the right health cover for older travellers irrespective of the duration of your stay.
3. Pre-existing medical conditions
If you are travelling with a senior citizen or someone who already has medical complications that he/she is being treated for, it is important to disclose it to the insurance company and get the appropriate cover.
Generally, the premium on health insurance covering pre-existing health conditions is higher as the risks are higher.
By not opting for it, you hold the risk of not being able to provide the right medical care at a time when it could be most needed. While you may have a good insurance cover for the person in India, if visa complications or medical conditions do not allow them to fly back to the country, it is useless. Insurance coverage for treatment within Indian jurisdiction won't help cover first-hand treatment required after say a car accident.
Further, your trip could be delayed beyond the visa limit from the medical emergency, causing further complications in flying back to India.
Ideally, travel insurances cover OPD medical and dental treatment that should suffice to provide first-aid to the patient before flying them back to their country of residence for full treatment.
You could also carry past medical reports with you to show at the local hospital in the tourist destination to understand the insured person's medical history. If the person is on existing medications, the reports and prescriptions could also be helpful at the security check done at an airport.
4. Purpose of the visit
If it is your child travelling to a foreign destination for a school/college trip or if your spouse is visiting an exotic location for surf training, the purpose of the visit will decide the risk that the insured will be exposed to and for how long.
One could fall sick from the change in climate or a food allergy or become a victim of theft. Either way, your insurance should cover these possible risks.
If the location holds the risks from an ongoing political turmoil, the traveller should be covered for flight cancellation and associated incidents.
If you are planning to travel more than once to the same location, you could ask for annual plans offered by the insurance company.
5. Keep all the receipts
Some insurance companies reimburse your expenses. It is wise to keep the receipts of all your extra expenses incurred from any inconvenience caused.
For example, you could have to spend extra on your holiday due to loss of baggage by the hotel staff or airline staff. You can present these bills to the insurance company for reimbursement.
It is especially important to get all the bills on hospital charges and medicines in the case of a medical emergency.
You may also call or e-mail the insurance company's helpline to seek clarity on the requirements to avail the reimbursement on your expenses.