During the ongoing pandemic, international travel was open only sporadically. Several international flights were banned for an unusually long time, while some countries understandably discouraged travellers from entering their border unless they were fully vaccinated. High cost of quarantine at hotels on foreign shores, needlessly circuitous routes and mandatory isolation in a hotel on account of a positive COVID test report have become a norm in the changing times.
To curb, or at least minimise, the uncertainty on account of pandemic, several insurers now offer COVID cover as part of the international travel insurance. Though travel insurance policies are sometimes seen as two peas in a pod, it is still vital to read the fine print so that you can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Before you zero in on a travel insurance, make sure you know the following points:
1. Medical and non-medical covers: Be careful that medical and non-medical covers are different and must be treated as such. The medical expenses would cover medical expenses on sickness and other treatment but excluding pre existing conditions, whereas the non-medical cover would cover lost baggage, lost passport and airline or hotel cancellation, etc.
2. COVID cover: With COVID entering the lexicon of international travel, most insurers have started offering the COVID cover as part of the policy which also includes treatment of patients infected with virus during the travel. So, make sure that your travel insurance policy covers it.
3. Hospitalisation or out-patient: Although most insurers are only covering treatment of Covid patients in case of hospitalisation, a few insurers also cover out-patient treatment such as Care Health Insurance (erstwhile Religare). So, before you take the policy, be mindful of what kind of cover the policy offers.
4. Cancellation of trip: In case of cancellation of trip, travel insurers are also offering non-refundable unused service costs including hotel or airline booking.
5. Additional expenses: Some insurers such as Tata TIG are also covering additional travel and accommodation expenses that are incurred due to trip interruption.
6. For quarantine: A few insurers such as HDFC Ergo Travel are also covering the hotel cost to isolate in case the traveller is tested positive during travel.
7. Compassionate visit: If you are travelling alone and fall sick during the journey, there is a provision of ‘compassionate visit’ offered by Reliance General Insurance and Care Insurance (platinum) that allows a close family member to come to your aid in case you fall sick.
So, before you schedule your international itinerary the next time, make sure that your travel insurance policy covers all key contingencies arising out of pandemic.