1. Insurance: A cover for a happy & safe journey abroad

Insurance: A cover for a happy & safe journey abroad

The Indian rupee’s fall against US dollar has come as a dampener for those planning to take a vacation overseas.

By: | Updated: May 29, 2015 9:55 AM
travel insurance

Apart from any medical and financial emergency, travel insurance also covers non-medical emergencies, such as loss of passport, natural calamities leading to trip cancellation, and delays. (Reuters)

The rupee’s fall against the dollar has come as a dampener for those planning to take a vacation overseas. However, if you are planning one, it’s advisable to buy travel insurance to protect your family from any financial or medical emergency.

Before finalising a travel insurance plan, one must look at various cost-effective covers that insurers offer during this time. One must ensure that the insurance is bought from a reputed company and check the fine print, such as online services, claims process, toll-free number, payment options, network of hospitals, and so on.

Apart from any medical and financial emergency, travel insurance also covers non-medical emergencies, such as loss of passport, natural calamities leading to trip cancellation, and delays. Special travel insurance policies, which are valid for a year, are designed for frequent international travellers.

Insurers offer various types of international travel insurance plans and, in most of them, any traveller below 70 years need not undergo medical check-up.

Travel insurance is mandatory for countries like the UK, the US, Austria, Greece, Portugal, Spain, France and Germany (Schengen). Even where it is not mandatory, it is in your interest to get one to enjoy a tension-free holiday abroad.

The first and foremost aspect is medical care. Since medical costs abroad are very high, it could create a big hole in your pocket.

Travel insurance will not only cover medical costs abroad, but also come in handy if one needs to be flown back, even in an air ambulance. The premium will depend on the age of the insured or the family members, country of visit, number of days of the trip and the kind of coverage opted for. The premium will also vary from company to company.

One can buy the policy online as well and it will be cheaper than the offline option. Online travel insurance has picked up substantially in the last few years because of better pricing, convenience and greater transparency.

Travel insurance must be taken from a company that has a long standing in the business and one must be aware of the fine print. Look at essential features like online services, claims process, toll free number, payment options, network of hospitals and exclusions to the coverage. Clarify any doubt before takeoff.

The travel insurance policy covers health insurance and accident covers, but not any pre-existing condition. In fact, you must declare pre-existing medical conditions before travelling. Most travel insurance policies exclude acts of terrorism, war or war-like actions, suicide and self-inflicted injury from coverage.

The insurer compensates for the loss of passport during a trip abroad, which will not exceed the sum insured. The insurer will reimburse the insured for actual expenses, necessarily and reasonably incurred in connection with obtaining a duplicate or fresh passport.  However, it is not liable to make any payment if the loss of the passport is due to delay or confiscation or detention by the customs, police or public authorities. In case of lost baggage, the insurer will pay for your clothing and other belongings.

Insurance companies offer a slew of specialised plans for individuals, senior citizens, students and business travellers taking multiple trips. At the time of buying a policy, look for additional benefits, such as cover for hotel accommodation, missed flight connection and even return fare for a family member in case of hospitalisation abroad for over seven consecutive days.

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