scorecardresearchPlanning an international trip? 4 benefits of travel insurance you should

Planning an international trip? 4 benefits of travel insurance you should know

Updated: 06 Jul 2023, 10:35 AM IST

When was the last foreign trip you had taken? Do you remember the struggles and sudden events that impeded your travel or troubled your journey? Why not ease your next foreign trip by buying an adequate travel insurance policy?

A trip to a foreign location may make you susceptible to unforeseen conditions including terrorist attacks, which explains the importance of buying travel insurance

A trip to a foreign location may make you susceptible to unforeseen conditions including terrorist attacks, which explains the importance of buying travel insurance

Remember when news sites started screaming about how travellers to France are now finding it difficult to return amidst the recent chaos and riots in Europe? Tourists who recently flew to England and Switzerland are looking to escape the clutches of the rabid syndrome of the radicals there. While such incidents are unprecedented, it is the rare nature of such experiences that underscores the importance of having travel insurance in place. The emotional setback during such situations can be severe apart from the unforeseen financial losses that cause many people to rue the absence of ensuring one such plan while deciding to travel.

Travel insurance is a valuable resource for handling the uncertainties associated with travelling abroad. Despite its numerous beneficial features, many individuals are unaware of its potential and fail to recognize its usefulness during challenging circumstances.

Benefits of having travel insurance

Buying insurance is futile if you have not opted for enough coverage. This is the foremost consideration in buying an insurance plan, be it any kind of insurance covering travel, vehicle, life, or medical needs.

The idea behind buying travel insurance is similar. You must secure enough insurance coverage before deciding on an international trip. If the trip is expected to last for a continued period, say weeks or months, you must opt for a policy that would stay active during the entire tenure. No policy should be inadequate. For trips extending over several weeks or even months, it is advisable to select a policy that provides continuous coverage throughout the entire duration. It is crucial to verify that the insurance plan encompasses the entirety of the trip, including medical expenses and emergency evacuation provisions, should the need arise.

Features essential in travel insurance

Taking an international trip means getting used to the varied cultures and lifestyles in a foreign land. This also explains why navigating through even minor issues can be a daunting affair in a foreign country. Challenging situations come unannounced, which is when you may feel helpless and unsure about how to proceed. International travel begets the need to plan carefully to ensure you have a support system in place to provide guidance during emergencies and offer physical assistance on the ground. A comprehensive insurance scheme can help mitigate some of the problems and tensions that arise during unforeseen circumstances.

Naval Goel, Founder & CEO, said, “Firstly, international travel insurance provides coverage for medical expenses in case of unexpected illnesses, accidents, or medical emergencies during your trip. Second, travel insurance safeguards your investment by reimbursing non-refundable expenses or providing compensation for interrupted trips. Apart, this type of insurance coverage offers coverage for lost, stolen, or delayed baggage. It provides financial assistance to replace essential items or purchase clothing and toiletries during the delay.”

When buying travel insurance, you must ensure that your policy covers the following features.

Third-party cover: Notwithstanding the several precautions that you may take, an untoward accident can cause damage to a third party. A domestic travel insurance policy offers protection in case the policyholder is responsible for causing harm or injury to a third party. This coverage ensures that policyholders have some level of protection if their actions lead to injury or damage to another person or their property.

Medical emergencies: Travel insurance provides protection to policyholders against expenses arising from medical emergencies. It encompasses various costs, including hospital bills, ambulance charges, and more. Moreover, beneficiaries can make claims to cover medical expenses in the unfortunate events of death or disability.

Ashish Lath, Business Head, InsuranceDekho added, “Travel insurance policies provide coverage for unexpected medical emergencies when traveling abroad. This includes emergency medical care, medical evacuation, dental treatment, prescription medication, and trip interruption. Additionally, policies must be purchased before you embark on your trip, and the coverage should span the entire duration of your travels. It's recommended to compare different policies, consider specific coverage needs, and make an informed decision.”

Trip cancellation: What if you have to cancel the trip due to last-minute emergencies or sudden geopolitical tensions? For example, the recent flareup in Europe has caused many people to delay their vacations and business trips to these countries.

In order to avoid last-minute inconveniences, modern-day travellers often make advance bookings for their flights, hotels, and other arrangements. Travel insurance can offer protection in case you need to cancel your trip due to a medical emergency, unfavourable weather conditions, or political unrest. Certain insurance plans may even provide refunds for such circumstances, ensuring peace of mind for travellers.

Sudden trip interruptions: What if your trip is delayed due to climatic conditions or if all flights are cancelled due to a sudden emergency-like situation? If you are facing delays in your journey, it helps to have a proper travel insurance plan in place. Also, if you were to cancel the trip due to certain reasons, you can always seek reimbursement for the expenditure incurred due to the delay.

Loss of luggage: When embarking on a journey, particularly to unfamiliar places, there is a considerable likelihood of misplacing or losing luggage. In these situations, a travel insurance policy offers the benefit of reimbursement for the costs involved in replacing your checked-in baggage and its contents, subject to the specified limits detailed in the policy document.

Coverage for pre-existing illnesses: Are you already suffering from any kind of health disorder? Does it make sense to travel if you are already affected by a life-threatening disease? Also, if travel is essential, it makes sense to have some arrangement in place to pay for your bills in case your health condition deteriorates or you have to be suddenly hospitalized. It would be highly irresponsible to make any travel arrangements without ensuring sufficient coverage through travel insurance.

Unplanned trip extensions: An unforeseen health condition or a sudden political coup may force you to extend your trip. This implies cancelling your current trips and rescheduling your travel to a further date. In the event of a medical emergency, natural disaster, political unrest, or similar circumstances, it is possible that you may need to extend your stay in a foreign country beyond your original plans. In such situations, the emergency trip extension cover provided by travel insurance can be utilized to cover expenses like flight changes or rescheduling, hotel bookings, and other related costs.

Add-on covers in travel insurance

Should you opt for add-on covers while buying travel insurance? When purchasing travel insurance, considering add-on covers can offer supplementary advantages and expand your coverage. These optional additions can be personalized according to your specific travel requirements and preferences. Insurance providers offer a range of add-ons, including coverage for adventure activities, rental car protection, trip cancellation or interruption, lost passport assistance, and more. Evaluating your travel plans and potential risks will assist in determining if any add-on covers are essential to ensure comprehensive protection throughout your journey.

Suresh Sadagopan, Founder, Ladder7 Financial Advisories shares, “I always suggest a good travel insurance that comprehensively covers medicals while on travel abroad, loss of baggage, documents, missing connecting flights, etc. This is covered in any travel insurance and this is essential. Beyond that, if there are specific add-ons that one may want, one can go for it on a need basis.”

Deciding between bundled vs standalone policy

Travellers may argue against buying a separate travel insurance plan citing how the travel booking sites offer them a bundled policy, the charges of which are included in their ticket prices. Though this seems like an affordable option, is it worth it considering that you are going to a far-off destination where the needs may be starkly different than what you comprehend here? Also, have you studied the benefits that this bundled policy offers? Is it suited to your needs or is it just another generic insurance plan with no standalone benefits?

Purchasing a bundled travel insurance policy offered during flight bookings may not be customized to cater to individual needs. These policies often include benefits that may not be necessary for some users. Therefore, it is recommended to conduct thorough research, carefully assess the benefits provided by these travel insurance plans, and select a policy that aligns best with your specific requirements. By understanding the coverage and features of different policies, you can make an informed decision and choose the travel insurance policy that best suits your needs.

Goel explains, “Bundled insurance is often cheaper but it takes away the flexibility to choose different plans or sum assured or coverage for different individuals. Travel insurance policies provide lots of optional coverages that can be chosen as per one's requirements. These optional coverages can be important depending on the person’s destination, needs, frequency, etc., so it is advisable to go for individual policies.”

A foreign trip need not be limited to one country alone. In case of trips to more than one foreign land, a standalone policy can really help as it can offer coverage for the entire journey.


Why travel insurance is important
First Published: 06 Jul 2023, 10:35 AM IST