The word holidays instantly brings happy visuals of beautiful places we’ve always dreamed of visiting and sailing beyond the shores of our country. And why not? Foreign tourist destinations are becoming cheaper than popular Indian holiday destinations, and naturally a sojourn abroad is on everyone’s wish list.
However, foreign travel involves far more planning than domestic travel. In addition to visas, permits and currency exchange, you also need to insure your international travel. After one unpleasant incident, we learned our lesson the hard way!
Travel insurance is a comprehensive coverage for health, baggage loss, thefts, trip delays and cancellations and this is something one must never take lightly. In fact, don’t even dream of traveling abroad without it!
But why is your travel insurance policy a critical part of foreign travel?
Charting out that overseas travel plan is exciting, to say the least. But many unforeseen circumstances can play spoilsport with your vacation plans. One way to ensure that your travel plan is foolproof is to purchase a travel insurance policy that covers emergency medical conditions, baggage loss, trip cancellations, and theft. This way, you can be confident that even if things go wrong, there is always help at hand. So, the moment you book your tickets and get your visa, obtain an international travel insurance policy immediately.
Just take a look at the chart below to get an idea of the types of travel insurance claims people generally make.
Did you notice that most travel insurance claims are a result of trip cancellation(40%)?. Delays come a close second at 37% of the claims.
Medical expenses are third at 13% and baggage loss, probably the most frustrating ordeal ever, is next with (thankfully) only 9% of the claims reported.
There are more grisly factors such as damage to the person and rental cars takes up the rest of the claims
What should you know about Travel Insurance?
While traveling abroad, whether you’re off on a vacation or for pursuing higher studies, overseas travel insurance is critical for medical coverage. Don’t even think of skipping it. A few years ago, I remember a family friend’s daughter went to attend college abroad and had a nasty accident while playing sports. She was not covered by travel insurance and the medical expenses were a major drain on her resources. Lesson learned the hard way.
- Emergency medical care
- Surgery and dental charges
- Cost of prescription drugs, medical costs, and hospitalization
- If you have an accident, medical care related to that
Some insurance companies also provide additional coverage to include emergency evacuation, legal assistance and repatriation if there is an illness/accident /death.
How about Travel Insurance for seniors?
These days it is common for senior citizens to visit their family and grown up children settled abroad. There are specially designed travel insurance for seniors to take care of all their medical and non-medical exigencies when they travel abroad. So even if your parents are off to the US, you can buy their travel insurance in India.
How to buy Travel Insurance
With traveling abroad becoming so much easier than it used to be, it is a good thing that there’s an increased awareness about the need for Travel Insurance, as it covers you against all the inherent risks you might face while traveling. There is no dearth of insurance companies offering excellent travel insurance plans.
One can opt to buy it online or go the conventional way from a company of choice. Of course, there is always fine print to consider as with any insurance policy. Chat up your frequent flyer friends for tips, so that you can pick a policy that offers comprehensive coverage at a competitive premium.
What happens if you have to make a claim?
A traveler’s insurance policy is meant to ease any hardships likely to pop up during your travel. But there’s always the risk of something going wrong. When this happens, the first worry is: ‘how to make claim in a different country?’
Always carry the insurer’s emergency number – available in the policy document, and the policy number. While small claims are usually settled over the phone, major expenses need to be documented to file the claim.
If you incur a major expense, get in touch with your insurer right away to start the claim process. Your insurer will coordinate with the hospital for cashless remittance. Don’t forget to keep a record of all your case sheets, prescriptions, and discharge summaries as you’ll need to submit these to the insurer once you are back home safe.
So moral of the story? Do Not Forget Travel Insurance. Better safe than sorry!