Why Travel Insurance Is A Must

If your flight is cancelled or delayed or you miss one, a travel insurance policy can cover the costs at such times and help you book a new one.

As summer vacations open up, travel picks up. Before heading abroad, travellers should ensure they have a comprehensive insurance policy.

Travel insurance ensures protection against a range of emergencies and mishaps.

If you plan a vacation anytime soon, here are important things to keep in mind.

Purpose of the trip

It is important to select your travel policy based on the purpose of your trip.

If you are travelling for work, you can opt for a basic plan that provides coverage for trip or flight cancellation, loss of baggage, passport, or mobile devices, personal accident cover, cover for medical expenses, etc.

“If you are travelling for personal recreation purposes, then in addition to these covers, you can also opt for add-ons like the adventure sports cover, which provides coverage for accidents, death, or permanent total disability arising out of partaking in adventure-driven sports activities. Travel policies can also be customised as per the needs of the customer,” says Aditya Sharma, chief distribution officer, Retail Sales, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.

Raghavendra Rao, CDO at Future Generali India Insurance Company, says, “Students travelling abroad for studies can opt for student insurance plans that are designed to cover the study period and also cover specific risks like sponsor protection and study interruption.”

“Frequent travellers may consider taking the annual multi-trip policy, which will be economical over the single-trip policy,” says Rao.

Claims, medical coverage

Check the claim process and ensure it is easy and straightforward.

“Look for a policy that has a dedicated claims team to assist you in case of any emergencies or international tie-ups,” says Rahul M Mishra, co-founder and director, Policy Ensure.

Look for a policy that provides comprehensive coverage.

Keep in mind the country you are travelling to and decide on a sum insured based on such costs.

“Your policy should cover COVID-19, medical costs, luggage, flight cancellations, and loss of important documents primarily,” says Naval Goel, founder and CEO, PolicyX.com.

Make sure that the policy provides adequate coverage for medical expenses, including emergency medical evacuation.

Sharma says, “It is also important to disclose any health ailments before taking the policy. A proper health declaration will ensure a smooth claim process.”

Make sure you read the fine print and understand any exclusions or limitations in the policy.

“Some policies may not cover pre-existing conditions, adventure sports, or certain destinations,” says Mishra.

Key features of base policy

Personal accident cover provides financial assistance in the event of accidental death, permanent or partial disability, or dismemberment caused by an accident during travel.

Trip cancellation cover reimburses non-refundable trip expenses if you have to cancel or postpone your trip due to unforeseen circumstances like illness, injury, or any other emergencies.

Baggage and personal belongings cover provides compensation for loss, theft, or damage to your baggage or personal belongings during the trip.

If your flight is cancelled or delayed or you miss one, a travel insurance policy can cover the costs at such times and help you book a new one.

By paying a little extra premium, you can get add-on features in your travel insurance.

“Sometimes add-on covers are also clubbed with other base covers, such as accident coverage,” says Sibansi Swain, vice president – Employee Benefits Practice, Anand Rathi Insurance Brokers Pvt Ltd.

Here are a few add-ons to consider as per your need.

Visa rejection: There’s a chance that your visa might get rejected.

“Certain insurers today offer an optional add-on benefit of refunding the visa fee in case the visa application gets rejected,” says Susheel Tejuja, principal officer, founder & managing director of PolicyBoss.com.

Fraudulent Charges: This covers any fraudulent charges that you might be a victim of, which is a good cover while travelling to certain countries.

“In case the policyholder loses or has the notified payment card stolen during the trip, this add-on reimburses the unauthorised charges the policyholder is responsible for on the stolen or lost payment card,” says Tejuja.

Adventure sports: Not all travel insurance policies cover adventure sports.

Goel says, “Therefore, it is important that if you plan to indulge in such activities, you find a suitable plan or a plan that comes with an adventure sports rider that covers the same and the medical costs that may arise,” Generally, incidents arising from adventure sports and activities are not covered under travel insurance products.

“But by opting for an add-on to cover adventure sports, these activities can be covered. However, participation in sports activities in a professional capacity or participating in such activities without the supervision of (a) trained professional shall be out of scope of coverage,” says Rao.

Emergency assistance cover provides assistance for various emergencies, such as legal assistance, bail bond, emergency cash, and emergency evacuation.

Emergency trip extension: Just like you can cut short your trips, you may decide to extend them as well due to medical issues, riots, political upheavals, and so on.

So, some travel insurance policies do provide you with add-on coverage that pays for your elongated trip.

Burglary back home: While you are away, your home is at risk.

Goel says, “Thefts and burglaries happen at such times, and therefore travel plans should provide for the losses that occur at your home while you are away.”

All of these covers are selectively available with insurers and vary between companies.

Ensure you carefully read the policy document which includes conditions applicable during claim payouts.

*Premiums are calculated for an individual age of 30 travelling to France (or any Schengen country) for a single trip of 15 days and are inclusive of GST

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