It is peak summer and just about everyone has plans to take a vacation and beat the heat. As you make plans to travel to cooler climes, do not overlook the possibility of a medical emergency.
The harsh truth is that a medical emergency can happen to anyone at any time. Imagine dealing with the exorbitant costs of having a health crisis while you’re travelling to Europe or the Americas. It could dent your finances badly. So, will your travel insurance cover your hospitalisation costs if you travel overseas? Will your pre-existing diseases get any coverage?
Picking a plan
Instead of randomly choosing any travel plan or one with the lowest premium, it is always beneficial to take some time out and compare insurance plans to pick the one best suited to your needs.
If you are travelling overseas, you are better off taking a travel insurance plan that covers any hospitalization costs. Unless if it’s a domestic travel insurance plan, most travel plans offer hospitalisation cover. This alone is a good reason to never leave home without a travel insurance plan. Additionally, you can also avail cashless hospitalisation with travel insurance in place.
Opt for plans with per illness limit
Some travel plans offer limited cover for various diseases. For example, if you opt for a travel insurance plan with a total sum assured of R 50,000 with a R10,000 limit per illness then effectively you are limiting your travel insurance to R10,000 for that disease.
Opt for plans covering pre-existing diseases
By default, pre-existing illnesses are not covered in a majority of travel insurance plans. So, why would travel insurance be beneficial? That is because travel plans are designed to safeguard you from unforeseen medical emergency. However, there is still a way in which you can get coverage for pre-existing diseases: you scan buy a pre-existing condition waiver add-on.
Worldwide health cover plans vs travel insurance
Recently, some health insurance companies have come up with plans offering health cover worldwide. These policies come under high value health insurance plans and have a hefty premium. For a budgeted traveler, a combination of travel insurance and a regular health cover may offer similar protection at lower premium costs. The fact that travel insurance plans also offer additional coverage for loss of baggage, theft, flight delays, etc, mean that they can still be bought despite having such an multi-featured health insurance plans.
What to keep in mind
Focus on the destination, frequency, and duration.
Before buying travel insurance, account for the countries you’re travelling to. If making multiple visits, opting for multiple travel insurance plans is more cost effective.
Know your exceptions
Every travel plan comes with many exclusions. For example, if you are travelling for adventure sports, you may not be protected under travel insurance.
The uncertainty of natural calamities and man-made ones like terror attacks means that you cannot be absolutely safe while travelling. Opt for insurance plans that have a dedicated evacuation plan in place should you get in trouble. Hospital costs overseas can drain your pocket and leave you financially vulnerable. Opting for travel insurance therefore safeguards you against any such eventuality.
The writer is CEO, BankBazaar.com