Exploration and safety have played an integral part in the development of human species. To travel is to explore, to know the world around you and know your relationship with it. From dangerous sea voyages to venturing out in space, curiosity has been the driving factor when it comes to travel. However, successful travels throughout mankind’s history weren’t just mindless adventures. Most of them were well thought-out plans with adequate safety measures.
Nowadays, you do not need to be a sailor or an astronaut to explore, you simply need to be a tourist. As unknown exploration is now replaced with known travel itineraries, insurance became an additional safety net for modern tourists. Travel insurance helps people to explore their desired destinations without worrying about financial losses in case of major mishaps during their trip.
What Is Travel Insurance?
You are exposed to several risks while travelling. Such risks might lead to financial losses. Travel insurance is a measure to prevent such financial losses. It is designed to cover financial losses associated with unexpected events during domestic or international trips. Just as any other kind of insurance, you have to pay an insurance premium to purchase travel insurance.
Usually, travel insurance covers loss of baggage, flight delay, medical expenses, hospitalization, etc. A basic policy is included with travel packages organized by tour operators. However, if you are making your own travel plan or want enhanced coverage while travelling in a packaged tour, there are other coverages available as well. There are travel insurance plans for adventurous travelers as well as senior citizens.
Travel insurance can be availed for a single trip or for multiple trips. The multi-trip travel insurance plan comes in handy for frequent travelers as it insures multiple trips within a designated period. The cost and coverages depend upon the exact nature of your trip.
What Is the Need For Travel Insurance?
People generally travel for work or go on vacations with friends and family. Whatever the reason, no one wants to be stressed while traveling. Insurance makes your travel stress free. Insurance not only takes care of the inconvenience in case of lost baggage or delayed flight, it acts as a saving grace in serious cases involving medical emergencies.
Conditions in a foreign land can be unpredictable. Natural calamities and social issues in a country can turn your travel plans upside down. Also, medical expenses in a foreign land can be expensive. Such events cannot be controlled and it is best to avail insurance and stop worrying about them. Insurance lends the necessary balance between adventure and safety.
Importance of A Travel Insurance Plan
The importance of a travel insurance plan can be gauged from the fact that it is mandatory in some regions. For example, it is compulsory to have a travel insurance policy if you want to visit the United Arab Emirates. Even Schengen countries have strict rules related to travel insurance. Considering the high cost of medical expenses in the United States of America, it is suggested to purchase a travel insurance plan before traveling there.
Generally, there are a lot of happy thoughts that come to your mind while you are about to travel. Negative thoughts such as medical emergency, lost baggage, etc. do not cross your mind. Unless it is mandatory or the travel agent includes it in the tour package, people do not consciously think of buying travel insurance. However, this can be dangerous.
Leave aside the financial back-up, roaming around foreign shores without adequate insurance coverage can prove fatal in case of an unfortunate event. Lost passport, missed flights, etc. are scary scenarios for tourists. One can feel lost without an insurance cover in such situations.
It is important to not only purchase a travel insurance plan but also to select the right one. By paying for insurance premium, you are safeguarding your trip against financial losses, physical inconvenience, and mental stress. Do not dismiss insurance as just a formality. Play an active role in understanding the features and benefits of a travel insurance policy and select the most suitable one as per your travel requirements.
Features & Benefits of Travel Insurance
It is better to have a cushion of travel insurance while travelling within or outside the country. Listed below are some features and benefits of travel insurance. Note that these vary from one insurer to another. The extent of the coverage will depend upon your policy’s inclusions and exclusions along with other terms and conditions.
If you are admitted to a hospital in a foreign land, you do not have to pay for the treatment from your pocket. Major insurance companies have a cashless arrangement with international hospitals. The insurance company settles the hospitalization expenses with the hospital directly because of this cashless hospitalization arrangement.
Loss of Baggage
Airports can sometimes misplace your checked-in baggage. It can be robbed as well. Loss of baggage can leave you helpless. Insurance companies compensate you (the insured person) for such losses.
Loss of Passport
It is common knowledge that your passport is the most important document in a foreign land. It is the primary identity-related document and essential to travel back home. With travel insurance, the insurance company guides you in case you misplace or lose your passport and helps you in ensuring a smooth passage while coming back.
Missed Flight Cover
Missing a flight can derail the entire tour. You might miss your flight or miss interconnected flights during your travel. Missed flight cover takes care of such scenarios and protects you from suffering financial losses.
Sometimes, all that planning is of no use because you might have to cancel your trip due to a medical emergency or any other issue. Travel insurance comes in handy in such cases as you do not suffer a huge financial blow.
Emergency Stay Extension
Certain emergencies might force you to extend your stay in a foreign country. You will need a place to stay for those additional days which will cost extra. Arranging for the extra amount at a short notice can be tough. Thus, insurance companies offer a Hotel Extension cover to cover such situations.
A medical cover of a fixed sum of money is offered under a travel insurance plan. Under this, medical expenses up to a pre-defined amount are covered by the insurance company.
Accidents can happen anywhere. An accident cover takes care of the expenses incurred in treating the injuries suffered.
Social issues might force tourists to move out of a certain country at the earliest. Political unrest, natural calamities, and other such instances can disturb day-to-day lives. The insurance company takes care of your finances in case of emergency evacuation.
The importance of cash in an emergency cannot be denied. Insurers understand this and thus provide emergency cash advance if needed.
You can unintentionally injure a person or damage someone’s property. This makes you liable to compensate the third party as per the damage. Travel insurance plans provide personal liability coverage as well. Under this cover, the insurance company pays for the losses incurred.
Guidelines to Select the Ideal Travel Insurance Plan
Go through the following points to understand the things to consider while determining the extent of your travel insurance plan. You can select a suitable travel insurance plan after reading the following pointers.
Your destination forms the base of your insurance policy. It has a direct effect on your insurance premium and the coverage. The cost of medical services is on the higher side in western countries thus the travel insurance policy will also be expensive. Some countries are prone to natural calamities, example Japan. Thus, the cost of a travel insurance policy for Japan will be on the higher side. Thus, the cover needs to be decided accordingly.
Duration and Frequency of Your Trip
You can choose whether you want to go for a single trip or multi trip policy depending upon the duration and the frequency of your trip. A long trip will lead to higher premium as the probability of an unfortunate event increases.
Those who fly frequently can opt for a multi trip plan. This way, they will not have to buy a travel insurance policy every time they travel. This reduces the insurance company’s administrative costs. Thus, multi-year policies are less expensive compared to purchasing a single one every time.
There are different plans for senior citizens. Travel insurance plans also vary depending upon your age and medical conditions. There are covers for pre-existing illness as well.
Type of Trip
There are trips where you relax beside a beach and read a book, and then there are trips where you jump from an airplane for the adrenaline. Your ideal insurance cover will depend upon the type of trip you are going on. A basic travel insurance plan might not cover specific risks. For that, you will have to select an appropriate plan and strengthen it with relevant Add-ons.
You can opt for Add-ons to customize your travel insurance plan. You can also go for burglary and fire insurance to insure your house while you are on vacation. Your house will be under the insurance cover for the duration of your trip. Add-ons have a direct impact on your premium amount. They increase the premium but offer wider insurance coverage.
Once you are familiar with the above-mentioned pointers with respect to your travel insurance policy, it is time to research different insurance companies. You can visit insurance providers’ websites and check for plans. Remember to compare insurers based on the features and benefits offered by the plan and not just the price. A low-priced insurance plan that does not feature the insurance cover you need is of no use.
Convenience is also a major factor while determining your insurance provider. The ease with which you can buy the policy, the support provided and the efficiency of their claims team needs to be considered. It will be a good idea to check for reviews or speak to your friends and family about the shortlisted insurance company before finalizing.
It is important to make an informed decision. Otherwise, you might spend extra money in purchasing a travel insurance plan that you do not need. There has to be a balance between the money spent and the coverage received. You can get in touch with your insurance provider to understand the terms and conditions of your policy.
You will end up with a foolproof travel insurance plan if you follow the above-mentioned guidelines. Remember, there is no standard ‘ideal travel insurance plan’. Everyone’s needs are different and it is natural that everyone’s ideal plan will also be different. Discuss with your co-travelers if you are confused about the feasibility of a particular cover. When in doubt, remember that it is better to be safe than sorry.
How to Purchase A Travel Insurance Plan Online
Purchasing a travel insurance plan online is convenient as it can be done in a matter of minutes. Just as you buy air tickets and book hotel rooms online, you can also purchase travel insurance online.
Few years ago, travel insurance was purchased and packaged by your tour operator. Nowadays, we live in the age of wanderlust and solo travel. Millennials are more than comfortable with internet and ecommerce websites, thus purchasing a travel insurance plan online is a natural evolutionary action for the young generation.
Read ahead to know basics regarding purchasing a travel insurance plan online.
Travel insurance can be availed by young and old. A three-month-old infant can also have a travel insurance policy. Generally, the senior citizen plan is given to people who are above 70 years of age. Infants and the elderly are more susceptible to health hazards in a foreign land. Necessary precautions need to be taken for them and other passengers whose health can be affected on tour.
Insurer and Plan
After conducting thorough research, zero-in on your preferred insurance company. After that, it is time to visit their website and select the appropriate plan – Single trip, Multi trip, and Senior Citizen are popular plans. Student Travel Insurance, Group Travel Insurance, Family Travel Insurance and Corporate Travel Insurance plans are also available.
As mentioned earlier, travel insurance is compulsory if you are travelling to certain locations. The medical expenses in some countries can be extravagant, your policy needs to be decided accordingly.
You need to enter the exact departure and arrival dates. You will be insured for the duration that you select.
Those with a severe medical condition will have to pay more premium. Necessary documents will have to be submitted. Health check-up will depend upon the insurance company’s policy and your insurance plan.
You will receive your policy document once you select your plan and make the payment. Make sure to go through the policy document and check for the inclusions and exclusions. If there is any mismatch regarding the plan chosen and the plan offered, the same needs to be rectified at the earliest. It is suggested to take a printout of your policy as well and carry it along with you on your trip.
Overview of What Is Covered In Travel Insurance
The exact nature of what’s covered will depend upon your selected plan. There is a difference in the extent of the coverage as well. You might be covered for a medical emergency, but the amount for which you are covered might vary from insurer to insurer and from plan to plan.
Generally, a comprehensive travel insurance policy with suitable Add-ons covers the following:
- Loss of checked-in bags
- Loss of hand bag
- Personal accident
- Personal liability
- Medical emergencies
- Cash allowance
- Passport loss
- Flight delay
- Trip cancellation
- Delay in receiving baggage
- Missed connecting flight
- Fire at home
- Burglary at home
- Hotel extension in case of emergency
Overview of What Is Not Covered In Travel Insurance
Exclusions also depend upon your chosen policy and are mentioned in the policy document. The following are not covered under travel insurance:
- Pre-existing medical issues
- Mental disorders
- Radiation due to nuclear weapons
- Cosmetic surgery
- Specific sporting activities
- Anxiety-triggered instances
- Depression-related issues
- Venereal diseases
- Therapy and treatment related to Naturopathy/Homeopathy/Ayurveda
Being Claim Ready
No one wants to be in a situation where they have to raise a travel insurance claim. However, if you happen to be in such a situation, it is better to be claim ready rather than run helter-skelter in trying circumstances.
Take a printout of your travel insurance policy, keep it handy. Making copies of the same is always a good idea. The policy document will have the insurer’s contact details. You can raise a claim by calling or emailing them. Submit as many supporting documents as you can while raising a claim. For example, medical bills in case of an emergency.
Your insurance company might need your passport to verify trip details such as immigration stamp of the country travelled, police report if required (depends upon the type of claim), etc. Once you submit your claim application along with all the supporting documents, the assessor will have a look at it and then decide the claim amount if everything is on track.
5 Reasons Why You Should Opt For Travel Insurance
Knowingly and unknowingly travel has become an integral part of our lives. Just think of how many people from your friend circle or how many of your relatives have travelled abroad in the recent past? People have conferences to attend, religious places to visit, adventure sports to be indulged in, or a vacation to enjoy. Travelling is no longer a distant dream, it has become a part of our lives. Read ahead to know 5 reasons why you should opt for travel insurance.
Oh No! I’ve Got The Flu
Even a minor cough on a foreign trip is capable of sending shivers down your spine. After all, medical treatment is so expensive! How are you going to search for hospitals and manage the bills? And from where will you pay all that money? With travel insurance, you do not have to worry about all this anymore.
Hey Dude, Where’s My Bag?
You reach early at the airport, endure the long flight, wait endlessly for people to get off the plane, and then wait for your bag. The wait continues. And finally, you come to know that your bag has been misplaced. Suddenly, the airport turns dark and negative thoughts cloud your mind. What do you do? Call your travel insurance company and they will sort things out for you.
What! How Can You Miss The Flight?
That’s what your manager yells from the other side of the call when you miss your flight. But you missed it due to the traffic jam that happened because of the politician’s impromptu rally. But no one will understand that. No one except your insurance provider. Travel insurance takes care of financial losses suffered in case of a missed flight.
You’ll Pay For My Lawn And The Lamp Post
Your teenaged-son drives his cousin’s car but fails to comprehend the ‘keep left’ rule and messes things up big time. A rash turn throws the car off guard and lands it in Mr. Andrews’ lawn, damaging it and the lamp post. Your ward damaged third-party property, and now you have to pay for the damages. Scary, isn’t it? It shouldn’t be, as your insurer will pay for it under your son’s travel insurance.
Travel, Unwind, Beat The Stress
Travel shouldn’t be stressful. Travel insurance cannot prevent your bag from being stolen or stop the flight from getting delayed, or control the tsunami! What it can do is help you in case of unfortunate events and prevent financial losses. Go for travel insurance and beat the stress.
Note that different insurance providers’ policies offer different features and benefits. The terms and conditions of the travel insurance policy might vary from insurer to insurer. Understand the details and make an informed choice. Bon voyage!