Travel Insurance: Must include in your travel plans this summer !

I was very excited to meet my friend Amita Kapoor who had gone on a Christmas Holiday to London and Paris. But when she returned to office after her 2-week long holiday, she looked very glum and ran almost into tears when I asked her how was her trip. She told me her bag containing her passport, other relevant documents, precious jewellery, hard cash and travellers cheques was stolen.  She had real hard time in getting a passport issued and return to London from Paris.

After initial consolation I asked her if she had applied for Insurance claim. She said she did not take travel insurance as she thought it was unnecessary, but now she learned the value of travel insurance hard way.

Now that you are planning for your summer holiday, don’t forget to take travel insurance which is issued by all general insurance companies. It is a small cost for your high cost trip.

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All of us ignore travel Insurance when planning a trip. But even if you feel that the chances of things going wrong in your otherwise well-planned holiday or business trip are slim, a good travel insurance cover is a must have in today’s context. It can be quite reassuring if something goes awry.  Now covers especially for foreign travel are easily available. Two basic covers are available to travellers: one a simple overseas medical insurance cover and two a more comprehensive travel insurance covers. Both these types are available to leisure and business travellers as well as to students going abroad for studies. Travel insurance seeks to minimise financial losses of various kinds during your travel period. This is done either through reimbursement of costs, mostly for smaller expenses which you pay from your own pocket during your stay abroad or in cases of greater expenses, through a cashless system set in place through tie-ups in various countries or transfer of funds.

In case of an emergency, depending on the type of emergency and cover purchased, most travel insurance policies are issued for seven to 180 days. They can be extended to 360 days for business travellers and students. A policy can be either for a single trip or for multiple ones where the duration of each trip does not exceed 30 days. Many insurers provide country or region specific covers such as policies covering travel to Americas or to Asia or to the rest of the world excluding the Americas. You can choose according to your destination.

The main areas of travel insurance coverage include:

Health: Travel Insurance policies cover expenses for hospitalisation abroad. This medical cover is quite different from health insurance within your country of residence. It will not pay if you have hospitalisation requirements in India. Similarly your local health insurance will not cover you for hospitalisation abroad. Some companies have tie-ups with health insurance companies in other countries. This is quite a considerable help. Some offer cashless settlement across the world. You must necessarily have decent cover size for this portion of the health insurance. Smaller covers may bring down the cost of a policy but might not provide adequately in case an emergency actually arises. Pre-existing illness is not covered under this policy. Some companies offer some respite in case of life threatening conditions due to pre-existing diseases, but under very specific terms and conditions.

Baggage: Delay or loss of baggage can be expensive as you then would have to purchase stuff in a foreign country for the duration of your stay. Most policies offer cover on the loss of checked –in baggage beyond a certain number of hours, which can range from certain number of hours 6-48.

Loss of Passports: Being without your primary identification – your passport – in a foreign land can get you into trouble. Travel policies provide for financial aid to cover the costs involved in procuring travel papers for the rest your journey or for return to your home country.

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Safety First

  1. Ensure that adventure sports are covered in a standard policy or pay extra and secure such cover
  2. People travelling with you should know emergency numbers and processes for help, if required.
  3. Keep insurance papers, hotel bookings, ongoing tickets, phone chargers and important medicines in hand luggage
  4. Bundled travel insurance products available with forex cards etc. are usually insufficient for your needs

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Travel: There could be cancellation or delay of a trip for personal reasons or due to circumstances beyond your control such as sudden illness of self or a family member, death in the family, or natural calamity such as earthquakes, storms etc.

Theft/ Burglary/ Loss of Money: In the unfortunate event of losing all your money and requiring emergency cash assistance, some travel policies provide you with cash assistance through their service providers.

Stay: In case you have to extend your stay for some reason such as cancellation of flight due to a natural calamity or your own ill health, etc. you will be able to obtain some relief through your travel policy towards paying the extra costs.

Bienu Verma Vaghela

 

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