June 1, 2015

Get insurance to steer clear of hassles on a vacation abroad: Someone had rightly said “the average vacation is one-tenth playing and nine-tenths paying”. The expenses are even higher if you are planning a vacation abroad. However, in the midst of all your planning, do not forget about insurance, especially if you are travelling abroad.

Though you may find it difficult to consider the possibility of a health problem ruining your vacation, insurance is a precaution that will save you from unnecessary hassles during a short or a long break. Because if you thought your domestic mediclaim policy covers you outside India – you are wrong.

Travel Safe

A necessity these days

Applying for travel insurance has become more of a necessity than a need. Purchasing a travel insurance policy that meets your requirement is the first step towards protecting yourself and your family while travelling abroad.

Most general insurance companies are trying to educate vacationers about the importance of travel insurance. In fact, some countries have made it mandatory for travellers to be adequately covered by insurance.

For example, Schengen countries insist on travel insurance as part of a traveller’s visa documentation.

Australia, too, has made it mandatory for people above a certain age to apply for this cover.

Also, students travelling abroad for higher studies are usually advised to apply for travel insurance.

In India, the concept of travel insurance has still not picked up because of lack of awareness among a majority of the population.

However, of late, travel insurance is gaining ground with more money at one’s disposal along with relatively cheap fares.

Besides the increase in the number of online ticketing platforms and cheaper air fares, online policies offered by general insurance companies have added to the growth in the sale of travel cover.

What to consider

Before buying a plan, you should compare various plans. Factors such as the premium amount, medical cover and the upper-age limit should be given prior consideration.

The premium for an insurance plan depends on the place of travel, the duration of stay abroad, the age of the traveller and the level of cover chosen. One has to shell out more for travelling to the US vis-à-vis other countries.

Many insurance companies also provide exclusive cover to customers. Loss or delay in getting baggage, which is a common problem faced while flying, is covered by travel insurance.

However, one should keep in mind that the cover is offered only when it is in the custody of a common carrier, which in most cases is the airline.

Also, a policy will cover only checked-in baggage and delay in receiving baggage outside India. So, if there is a delay in receiving baggage in India, the policy would be of no use.

Travel insurance also has other plans, which cover inconvenience caused because of trip delays, cancellations, missed connections and the loss of passport.

The possibility of personal liability is also covered, which may lead to litigation in the foreign country. Companies also provide cover if a burglary takes place in a traveller’s house while he/she is abroad.

Terms & conditions

If you are in the age bracket of 6 months to 70 years, you are eligible to purchase travel insurance. People aged 71 years and above can still purchase travel insurance but with limited cover.

The duration of travel insurance policies is up to a maximum of 180 days per trip. The premium is determined by the amount of sum insured under medical expenses. It ranges from $50,000 to $500,000.

Pre-existing ailments are normally excluded in travel insurance.

Further, both outpatient and inpatient treatments are covered when the insured is abroad. The insured may apply for reimbursement when he/she returns to India in the case of outpatient claims.

For students

Students can get special cover, in compliance with the institutes abroad, and it can be opted for a period of one year. A student cover includes mental and nervous disorders, rehabilitation for drug and alcoholic addiction, sponsor protection, study interruption and compassionate visit. Students will do well to check whether the policy they plan to buy is recognised by their institute.

Always remember to purchase a travel policy from a reputed company, which has an international presence and a strong track record. One should also take into account the claim settlement record of the insurer.

All travellers should opt for travel policy to avoid any unforeseen contingencies that may take place and turn their trip into a nightmare abroad.

So, the next time you are booking a flight to that long-awaited holiday in Greece, do not ignore the pop-up on your screen that prompts you to apply for travel insurance.