A recent survey shows that 2 in 10 Indians buy travel insurance when planning a trip abroad, of which about 8 in 10 accept that getting their money back for a delayed or cancelled trip is the most important reason. This is particularly happening because international vacations have become significantly popular amongst the people.
However, there are many unforeseen circumstances such as natural disasters as that can throw an unwanted wrench into your well-planned holiday. The truth is, you can never ever control Mother Nature and many stories of loss of life and property are always presented from the point of view of locals and tourists alike. Moreover, it remains quite evident that the impact of any natural disaster always lingers for everyone who’s been through it. With rising climatic anomalies across the globe, it is apparent that the number of natural disasters is sure to rise in the coming years.
Recent Natural Disasters
Over the last few months, the world has seen more than 10 natural disasters. Be it the September 29th earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia that roughly affected around 2.4 million people and killed over 1400 people or the massive hurricane in Florence on September 13th that killed over 50 people or the Kerala floods in the month of August that reported a total damage of estimated $3 billion and claimed over 400 lives.
Now, if you are affected by such a natural disaster while travelling abroad, you are sure to face significant disruption or delays in your trip even if you haven’t been injured in the disaster. Most of the times, the travellers have to spend more than they had planned by taking alternative transport, extra nights of accommodation and food to wait out. We can never control nature, but we can always control how it affects us. The only way to stay protected against any natural disaster as a tourist is buying a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Most travel insurance plans protect you for whatever nature can unexpectedly muster up and against any type of loss that you experience during your international holiday.
Travel Insurance Coverage for Natural Disasters
# Trip Cancellation/Interruption
Under trip cancellation, the insurer provides the policyholder with adequate cover in case a natural disaster hits the destination country. A fixed amount is reimbursed to the policyholder after deductibles if any.
# Non-medical Emergency Evacuations
Evacuation services are even offered to policyholders by the insurer if a formal recommendation is issued from the local authorities, or the government to immediately leave the country due to a natural calamity.
# Missed Connections and Trip Delays
In case you miss your connecting flight or are delayed by more than a defined number of hours due to a natural disaster, your travel insurance will reimburse your unexpected trip expenses and additional transportation costs that you avail to reach your destination.
# Emergency Cash Advance
In case of an emergency situation like natural disaster, access to emergency cash feature will ensure you can continue your trip and pay for important expenses like meals, accommodations and transportation.
# Automatic Trip Extension
Under automatic trip extension, the insurer provides continued medical cover to the insured only in case the trip is extended beyond insurance cover dates due to a natural disaster.
# Permanent Disablement / Death Benefits
If you are seriously injured or get killed while traveling due to a natural disaster, the defined benefits are paid to reimburse the loss. Benefits are also provided to the medical facility that treated you at the hospital or your beneficiaries upon your death. In case of death of the policy holder, the insurer bears the entire charges of bring the mortal remains back to the home country.
# Emergency Medical Evacuation and Mortal Remain Repatriation
In case you are seriously injured while traveling on your covered trip and require immediate medical treatment, your travel insurer will coordinate and pay for you to be evacuated to a good medical facility where you can be treated properly. Also, in case you get killed while traveling as a result of a natural disaster, your travel insurer will pay for bringing your mortal remains back to your home.
It is always recommended to purchase travel insurance as early as possible, to ensure you and your loved ones stay protected from unforeseen or unexpected situations, especially natural disasters. It is, however, best to buy travel insurance online through a web insurance aggregator as you can compare quotes from different companies and buy the best policy that meets your specific needs and requirements.
(By Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer-General Insurance, Policybazaar.com)