Planning a foreign trip for New Year? Here’s some insurance advice

With New Year around the corner, many of you might have your travel bags packed for vacation. While some might be looking at destinations within the country, some have their eyes set on locations abroad.

"A particular emphasis should be put on events in the coming days in connection with beach and club parties celebrating the New Year where a concentration of tourists will be high," part of the warning said. (Reuters)

With New Year around the corner, many of you might have your travel bags packed for vacation. While some might be looking at destinations within the country, some have their eyes set on locations abroad.

If you are planning for a trip abroad, let us tell you that you must consider having a travel insurance in place as much as a detailed itinerary.

International trips are expensive and people often do not want to add more expenses to their budget, so a travel insurance plan is frequently ignored. However, shelling out a few more bucks can lend you a helping hand at the time of unforeseen circumstances such as loss of baggage, robbery, accidents or medical emergency in an unknown place.

Is travel insurance mandatory for going abroad?

Barring the Schengen countries where a travel insurance plan is mandatory, travel insurance is not necessary. It is solely on the traveler whether to add an insurance plan or not.

Why do you need a travel insurance plan?

Travel insurance must be the last thing on your mind as no one wants to think that something might go wrong with them, especially when going on a relaxing trip. However, the advantages associated with it are worth every extra penny you spend on it. Here are a few reasons why you should include it in your ‘to do’ list while setting up a travel plan:

Medical assistance

Falling ill due to change in climate, bacterial or viral infection etc can happen when you are travelling to an unknown place and getting medical attention for it can be a financial challenge for you if you go unprepared. Medical expenses abroad are quite high, unlike India. Here is where an insurance plan comes handy. Overseas travel insurance provides coverage for any medical assistance required, including pre-hospitalization and post-hospitalization charges.

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Additional features

Other than medical assistance, a travel insurance plan also takes care of expenses in case of trip cancellation, delay, loss of baggage or other documents, personal liability, hijack, accidental death, etc. In case of lost documents, it also provides with fees to re-apply for them.

Age no bar

Unlike other insurances, age is just a number here and being young or old doesn’t matter. From infants to senior citizens, overseas insurance covers travelers in all emergency situations. Citizens up to the age of 85 years can avail travel insurance without undergoing any medical test.

What if you already have a cover included in your credit card?

People often avoid purchasing travel insurance plan if they have it included in their credit cards, but do they provide the same amount of protection? The truth is the features associated with credit cards are limited and cannot match up to the benefits of a separate travel insurance plan even on paying high annual fees. For instance, if your foreign trip gets cancelled due to an unavoidable circumstance, your health plan or credit card would not provide the entire expenses incurred on advance bookings.

And, often the annual fees charged by the credit cards are higher than the charges associated with a basic travel insurance plan.

How many types of travel insurance plans are available?

  • The various types of travel insurance plans available include:
  • Domestic travel insurance plans which cover domestic travel
  • Travel insurance plans with worldwide coverage including USA and Canada
  • Travel insurance plans with world-wide coverage excluding USA and Canada
  • Travel insurance plans developed especially for the Asian countries
  • Senior citizen travel insurance plans
  • Corporate travel insurance plans
  • Travel insurance plans based on the frequency of travel – single trip travel plan or annual multi-trip travel plan.

How to choose the best travel insurance plan

With an array of travel insurance plans available, choosing the right one can be a daunting task. However, the following guidelines would help you in buying the right plan:

  • Choose a plan covering your selected destination
  • Opt for a cover that would protect all your family members travelling with you
  • Go online and compare the features and prices of all the travel insurance plans available in the market
  • Make sure the plan covers the entire duration of your trip

Select a plan with the best coverage features and the cheapest premium

(The author is CEO, BankBazaar)

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