We all have bucket lists – brimming over with destinations we want to visit and experiences we want to have. Perhaps getting awed by the spectacularly beautiful archaeological wonders at Wadi Rum or a wine tour at the scenic Yarra Valley may be witnessing the majestic Northern Lights in Finland or partying in Ibiza.
While no two bucket lists are the same, there is one element that should be a part of the journey i.e. travel insurance policy which will cover risks associated while travelling whether you are travelling internationally or on a domestic route.
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Travel insurance is non-negotiable not only for leisure travellers but also for those travelling for business or for studies. There are multiple travel insurance options available in the market and you can easily pick the one that suits your needs. If you are a frequent flyer, you can go for an annual multi-trip travel insurance plan which is valid for one year and therefore it saves you from the hassle of buying a travel insurance plan every time you travel.
Otherwise under single-trip travel insurance plan one can cover self and his/her family. Most insurance players also offer travel insurance plans suited for the requirements of senior citizens and students.
When plans go awry
Here’s a factoid to pick your brain: In 2020, 6.3 million luggage bags were lost or mishandled globally. And an estimated 27% of those were damaged! The lucky few who have, so far, escaped being part of this statistic can only empathise how traumatising and disorienting it would have been to be stranded on an alien land, running from pillar to post to sort one’s belongings.
While a travel insurance policy does not guarantee an immunity from such unfortunate mishaps, it does arm you suitably to counter the adversities with financial resilience. Be it the loss/delay of baggage, theft of passport, flight cancellation, medical emergency, or even a fatal accident, these are all unforeseen circumstances that never come with any warning whatsoever.
Apart from the hassles that one has to bear during such unfortunate events, what equally hurts is the burden that it casts financially. In fact, the financial implications, especially in case of an illness in a foreign land, usually negatively impacts the family’s fiscal future in the long term as well.
In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, getting a travel insurance cover has almost become a norm. A 2022 survey by Rakuten Insight found that the majority of Indians who planned international travel also preferred to purchase travel insurance.
Most of the travel insurance policies are tailored to meet the primary and the most important need i.e. coverage for the medical expenses arising out of Covid infection as well. A few policies even offer compensation against the losses incurred due to cancellation of trip due to the positive diagnosis for Covid-19.
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The policy terms
Be mindful of the detailed terms and conditions including exclusions while choosing a travel insurance policy. For instance, most policies do not provide cover for adventurous activities such as skydiving and scuba diving. Read the fine print to know the terms.
Every travel insurance product is different in some way or other and it is all about choosing the one that suits your needs the best. For instance, while most travel insurance policies provide for medical emergencies, some even cover damages caused by the insured to any property in an accident.
Coverage is also available if a claim is made or a suit is brought against you for medical expenses as the result of an accident caused by you and resulting in bodily injury to another person under the personal liability coverage offered by travel insurance policies.
Look for value additions. Like, in the case of students, some travel insurance policies have the provision to compensate for tuition fees in case the insured has to cease education to attend to his/her own health or a family member’s death. Some plans even provide cover for compassionate visits to ensure that the insured isn’t alone in case of hospitalisation.
While buying a policy for senior citizens travel insurance, opt for the policies offering comprehensive coverage for medical emergencies, including dental coverage, emergency medical evacuation to the nearest hospital or even back to India.
The last word
Make sure you get a policy that is sufficient in all respects. It should not only have a sum insured limit that takes care of all kinds of emergencies but also the comprehensive product offering that might be helpful in most of the travel related contingencies.
Choose a policy and a respective limit as per your destination and number of travel days. It is worth paying a slightly higher premium and getting a peace of mind that comes with it.
Amit Ganorkar is the President & Chief Operating Officer, Tata AIG General Insurance Co. Ltd.