Due to lack of awareness, travel insurance in India is not as popular as it is in other countries. A lot of individuals might consider choosing foreign travel insurance, but they ignore its importance when it comes to traveling within India. But, if you consider the possibilities related to medical emergencies, loss of baggage or increasing crime rate, you will realize that domestic travel insurance is equally necessary.
What is Travel Insurance?
It is a form of insurance that covers the travelers against unforeseen events like loss of baggage or cash, loss of essential documents like passport, medical emergencies, shortage of cash, etc. The popular travel insurance policies are available renowned insurers like Bharti AXA, HDFC ERGO, Tata AIG Insurance, ICICI Lombard, Kotak General Insurance, Oriental Insurance, SBI General Insurance, Bajaj Allianz, etc.
Types of Travel Insurance Policies
The insurance service providers divide the insurance policies into different types, which include:
Corporate Travel Insurance Policy: These policies aim at protecting the employees of a specific organization from unfavorable circumstances that may arise during an international trip.
Student Travel Insurance Policy: These are the long-term plans that are designed to protect individuals who visit abroad for educational purposes.
Individual Travel Insurance Policy: It is the most important form of travel insurance, as someone traveling alone needs a support in the form of insurance. The cover includes protection against financial losses or medical support during an emergency.
Family Travel Insurance Policy: For those traveling with their family, this form of insurance is the suitable one, as each of the family members is shielded against unforeseen circumstances.
Senior Citizen Travel Insurance Policy: These policies safeguard individuals in the age group of 61 years or above against medical or financial emergencies in a foreign land.
The policies are also designed on the basis of frequency of travels:
Single Trip Travel Insurance: For those who travel once a year, single trip travel insurance is the best option, as it comes with fewer premiums. They allow the individuals to customize the plan, as per their travel needs.
Multi-trip Travel Insurance: The individuals, especially the business travelers, who prefer travelling more than once a year, select multi-trip travel insurance.
Benefits Under Travel insurance
The common benefits received by a policyholder after purchasing travel insurance include:
- Trip delay or cancellation – The policyholder receives compensation in case the trip is delayed or cancelled.
- Loss/theft of baggage – The policy covers the loss of checked-in baggage to ensure travelers don’t face issues. In some cases, hand baggage is also covered.
- Emergency cash – In case the traveler loses travel funds because of theft or other reasons, the company provides emergency cash.
- Cover against accidents – The individuals receive compensation in case of permanent disability caused by an accident. Treatment for accidental bodily injury is also covered. The nominee receives compensation if an individual dies due to an accident.
- Medical treatment – The individuals get cover against medical emergencies that may arise during their domestic or foreign trip. Senior citizens can also receive cover against already existing illnesses.
- Third party cover – The insurers provide compensation to the third party in case the involuntary action of policyholder results in physical damage or demise of third party individual(s). This also covers damage to the property.
- Emergency medical evacuation – This includes medical expenses related to emergency medical evacuation to India.
Tips for Purchasing Travel Insurance
There are various factors and tips you must keep in mind before choosing best travel insurance plan. These factors include:
- Choose a policy that provides cashless hospitalization facility, especially if you are a solo traveler.
- Read the brochure to check medical exclusions, as they may vary from insurer to insurer
- There is a maximum limit related to medical expenses offered by an insurance company to avoid dispute during a medical emergency.
- If you want to indulge in adventurous activities during the trip, select the policy that has cover related to it. Some offer cover against injuries caused during adventurous sports in the form of add-ons.
- Make sure the insurance service provider is registered with IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India)
- If you have aged parents back home, opt for a policy or add-on that offers medical and general assistance to them while you are abroad.
- Check how the insurance company offers assistance during emergencies. Also, check how simple is the claims process.
- Perform a comparative analysis using policy comparison websites to check basic features like premiums, sum assured, inclusions and exclusions
This is the most important, and often the most ignored part, for obtaining the benefits of policy. You must have documents like:
- Medical expense bills
- Stamped visa copy
- Investigation reports and consultation papers
- Duly filled and signed discharge form
- Physician statement that has to be filled and signed by doctor
- Police complaint, along with a copy of passport, in case cash or baggage has been lost
As a smart traveler, you should not refrain from not choosing travel insurance while traveling to another country, or even during your travel within India. Read the brochure carefully before paying the premium, as there are some terms and conditions that are not mentioned in advertisements or promotional pieces.