All You Need to Know About Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is an insurance category that is designed to meet the needs of travellers. It covers the risks that one may face during travel. A typical travel insurance policy covers hospitalization, other medical expenses, loss of luggage or documents, flight cancellations or disruptions, and various other travel-related losses.
Travel insurance is effective from the policyholder’s date of travel till the return to his or her place of origin. Frequent fliers have the option of buying a travel plan that remains applicable for a specific period, covering several travels within that period. Travel insurance is available for domestic as well as overseas travel.
Buying a Travel Insurance Policy
Just like any other insurance policy, a travel insurance policy can be bought online or by visiting the insurer’s office. Travel insurance plans are also offered by insurance brokers and agents. You must ensure that they are licensed by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India. It is worth noting that you may be eligible for discounts if you buy a travel insurance plan online directly from the insurer.
You need to fill in the basic personal details, dates of travel, traveller details, coverage and add-ons required and so on. Based on the quotes shared, you can select the travel insurance policy that is the best fit for you. Your travel policy could be a corporate travel plan, single or family plan, senior citizen or student plan, single trip or multi-trip plan and so on.
When to Buy a Travel Insurance Policy
If you are planning to go on multiple trips, you can buy a travel insurance policy before the first of these trips to cover all the upcoming trips. Even in the case of a single trip, buying a policy in advance is recommended. Buying travel insurance should be one of the first things you buy after you plan the trip. You can buy it at the last moment but doing so is not advisable. There are crucial coverages that cannot be availed if travel insurance is not bought early. If there is any trip cancellation between the date of purchase of the travel plan and the day on which it becomes effective, you will lose out on the cancellation coverage.
Why Travel Insurance Policy is Important
Buy a travel insurance policy for these reasons,
- People are more likely to face medical issues in a foreign land, be it within India or overseas. This happens because of changes in food habits and climatic conditions. Travel insurance is useful in such scenarios.
- Baggage losses in airports are common while thefts and travel scams take place in many tourist destinations.
- Travel insurance also protects you in cases of flight delay or cancellation.
- These policies can cover the traveller in cases of natural calamities, man made disasters, flight hijacks etc.
- Students can choose coverage like study interruption coverage as a part of their travel insurance policies.
- Travel insurance also covers fatalities and repatriation of mortal remains.
- Travel insurance is a compulsory criterion for allowing entry to travellers in over 30 countries. Without it, the visa processing for travelling to these countries may get affected.
Who Should and Can Buy a Travel Insurance Plan?
People who are travelling to a country where travel insurance is mandatory must buy a travel insurance plan. Besides, people travelling to any country, in general, can buy a travel insurance plan.
- It includes individual travellers and families,
- Travelling senior citizens with medical conditions, Corporate travellers while travelling on behalf of their organisation,
Students who need student-specific travel plans with longer validity,
Group of travellers must ensure that travel insurance has been purchased by their tour organizer,
Domestic travellers can buy travel plans designed to cover the travel risks within the country.
To buy a travel insurance policy, a person must fulfil these conditions -
The age limit of the policy buyer is generally between 18 and 60,
Dependent children up to the age of 21 can be added to the plan,
Senior citizens' upper age limit may exist, and may vary from insurer to insurer,
Besides, group insurance plans often have a minimum number of members required,
PAN of the proposer is required if the premium exceeds Rs 50,000 (cash) and Rs 1 lakh (other modes),
Travellers must possess and furnish mandatory documents like copies of passports, visas, income proof, tax papers etc.
Student policy buyers must also provide course and sponsor details.
Types of Travel Insurance Plans
If you are planning to go on a holiday, you must choose the travel insurance that is best suited for you. The various types of travel insurance plans offered by insurers in India include,
Base cover plans – Covers basic travel risks like in-patient medical treatment, maternity benefits and newborn baby cover. Due to the limited coverage, the premium of a basic cover is relatively low.
Comprehensive – Comprehensive plans offer a host of optional covers. Different insurance companies offer different covers, commonly healthcare covers, repatriation of mortal remains, baggage loss or delay, flight delay, cancellation or interruption, loss of passport, driving license, electronic items etc.
Single trip – Suited for travellers who are going on one trip, this policy can be bought before or after booking tickets. This applicability of the policy remains for the duration of the trip.
Multi-trip – If the policy buyer has several trips planned for the year, he or she can opt for a multi-trip policy. Instead of a particular trip, the travel insurance coverage of a multi-trip policy is for a specific period. Frequent fliers can buy this type of plan instead of buying plans multiple times.
Student – International students often go for travel policies with coverage for the course duration. Covers like sponsor protection and study interruption can be opted to make the plan more student-friendly.
Besides, policy buyers can opt for a single plan, family plan, group plan, corporate plan etc. as per their requirements.
Check These Points Before Buying Travel Insurance Policy
Some of the factors that you need to consider before buying a travel insurance policy are,
Duration – If you are planning to travel again, opt for a long-duration multi-trip plan. If your single trip is for a longer duration the premium will be higher, so plan your trip accordingly,
Nature of trip – Choose the plan as per the nature of your trip. Someone planning to do skydiving would have different optional covers, compared to someone travelling to attend business meetings,
Sum assured – Estimate your travel risk and finalise your sum assured accordingly. The premium amount is directly proportional to the sum assured.
Add-on covers – There is a list of add-on covers which you can select from the insurance company. Select carefully so that irrelevant add-ons don’t escalate the premium cost.
Exclusions – While buying a travel insurance policy make sure you familiarize yourself with the circumstances or conditions that are excluded from the travel insurance coverage.
Due to the global scale of the COVID-19 pandemic, most leading insurance companies are providing COVID-19-specific coverages in their travel plans. A COVID-19 infection results in strict isolation and quarantine in most countries Therefore, adequate COVID-19 coverage can be handy in times of need. Make sure your travel insurance plan has COVID-19 protection and coverage.
Armed with all of this information, we hope you can choose the perfect travel insurance policy for you and your family, and enjoy a tension-free vacation.