You have packed your bags and ready to fly to your favorite holiday destination. Unwinding, adventure, fun and entertainment are on your mind but what about travel insurance? Have you taken one? Amongst various things this is important too. Imagine you losing your baggage or passport or just falling sick. Who would foot the bill? Internationally, the medical costs are high. That is where the travel insurance can help you out.
A travel insurance covers you not just for medical but various non medical emergencies like loss of checked baggage, passport etc while you are on holiday. Abhinav Dhingra realized this the hard way. Twenty seven year old fell sick on to the visit to Australia last year and had to pay a hefty bill that burnt a hole in his pocket.
Many insurers including ICICI Lombard, Bajaj Allianz, Religare general, Tata general have travel insurance policy in place. Most of them even let you buy it online. You must remember that there are two types of travel insurance policies in place-A Single trip policy and a multi trip policy. While the former covers you for the single trip, a Multi-trip policy is the one which can cover an unlimited number of trips within a set time frame. A travel insurance provides you with cashless hospitalization worldwide. Cost of medical evacuation and repatriation of mortal remains are also included in the plan. Insurance companies come out with variants like platinum, gold, silver etc with each having a different sum assured figure assigned to them. Also remember that travel insurance can be availed right up to the day of travel.
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Students can also avail a travel insurance policy when they go abroad to study. Insurance companies have in place separate travel policies for students. It includes compensation in case of accidental death, permanent disablement, medical evacuation (cost incurred in sending the insured to his country), loss of passport, loss and delay of checked baggage, study interruption. The Student Suraksha from HDFC Ergo for instance is a comprehensive travel insurance policy that also includes compensation for dental treatment and personal liability. The policy tenure goes upto 2 years. And like a normal travel policy it too doesn’t require a medical check up.
Senior Citizen Plans
Planning foreign trip post retirement is no longer a dream nowadays. Most retired couples undertake foreign tour. Insurance companies have designed special travel policies for people in the age group of 61-70 years. Besides normal features, the policy also covers home burgalary insurance and provides financial emergency assistance. It also has provision of covering pre-existing disease in case of life threatening situations. The duration of the policy ranges from 6 months to a year. Again, there is no medical check up required.
A travel insurance doesn’t cost you much. In fact it is a fraction of your travel expenses. Take individual travel insurance plan from Apollo Munich insurance company. You just need to pay Rs 1578 for sum assured of $500000 for a 7 day trip. On the other hand, silver variant of Senior citizen plan with sum assured of $100000 would cost Rs 3124 from Apollo Munich insurance company.
Its important to pay attention to exclusions in a travel insurance plan taken by you. Otherwise you might be taken by surprise. So the cases where you are not compensated include pre-existing medical conditions unless of life threatening condition, suicide, self inflicted injury or illness, mental disorder, anxiety, stress or depression. Then there are venereal diseases, alcohol/drug abuse, HIV/AIDS. Traveling against the advice of physician also doesn’t work in favour of a travel policy. Also, your policy would not compensate you if you are travelling for the purpose of availing treatment. Other cases include receiving a terminal prognosis for a medical condition. Also if you lose your passport and failed to inform police authorities you are not compensated. Same works in situation of a breakout of war or nuclear threat.
What to look for?
While choosing travel insurance keep in mind the following factors:
Capping on duration of the stay
You have to see the number of days the policy would cover you. Every insurance provider has different limits in place. The maximum duration should be atleast 30 days. Even if its over by a day, your policy would expire.
Also check the number of destinations your policy covers. The destination you are about to go should make it in the list. Make sure you have worldwide coverage in the policy. That makes it easier for you to plan your journey. Otherwise your money would just be wasted and you would be left stranded.
If you want to cancel your policy, there are cancellation charges levied by the insurance policy. If the policy hasn’t started, you would be charged around Rs 250 as cancellation charges. For this you have to inform the travel insurance policy via email and furnish policy number in the same. Similarly, if you want to cancel the policy after the start date when you haven’t travelled then it would take atleast one working day for the policy to get cancelled. However, for this you need to provide proof that you haven’t travelled, reason for policy cancellation, photo copy of the pages of the passport, and visa rejection letter in case of visa refusal by embassy.
You also have to check for the sub-limits. For instance some insurance providers only offer you just 50% for the loss of checked baggage limit. Even in cases of personal accident only 50% of the sum assured is provided. So do not assume you would get entire sum assured. Also check for single limit claim in the policy. In cases of checked baggage loss, the sub-limit on individual items is around 10%.
If you lose your belongings, you will need to report it to the police as soon as possible. Insurance companies provide time ranging from 24 to 48 hours after the incident to report the theft. If you report it later on or don’t inform the police and get FIR registered, you may not be covered.