With travel-related risks on a constant high, it is important for the travellers to take necessary precautions and protect themselves with adequate travel insurance when planning a vacation outside the country.
The quest of Indians to travel abroad has increased considerably in the last few years. As per a recent report by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), over 25 million Indian tourists travel abroad each year for vacations. It is further estimated that by the end of the year 2020, the country will account for 50 million outbound tourists every year. Along with a visible surge in the number of outbound travellers, there has been a constant rise in the demand of travel insurance as well. As per various industry reports, the travel insurance market has witnessed a sale of Rs 580 crore (US$90 million) from international travel insurance in the year 2017. The numbers have increased significantly from Rs 536 crore in the financial year 2015-2016.
However, despite these impressive numbers, there are numerous reports which state that there is still a good number of people who do not consider travel insurance as one of the top-most priorities for international travel. People often fail to understand and evaluate how important is travel insurance and what all it actually covers. With travel-related risks on a constant high, it is important for the travellers to take necessary precautions and protect themselves with adequate travel insurance when planning a vacation outside the country.
Losses Incurred Due to Pre-Existing Illness
Your travel insurance does not cover any pre-existing medical conditions, meaning any illness that you have prior to purchasing the travel insurance is not covered. The insurance does not even cover losses due to any such condition for which there were either symptoms or treatment while or before you purchased travel insurance. However, you will be certainly covered for any losses incurred due to any sudden health condition which emerges post purchase of travel insurance.
Losses Due to Dental Care and Mental or Emotional Disorders
In case you take a routine dental care while on a trip outside the country, your travel insurance will not cover the incurred expenses. Though dental trauma may be covered under certain policies, casual check-ups are never covered. Apart from dental care, casual visit to a physiatrist for treating disorders related to emotions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression are not covered under travel insurance. However, if both these treatments are taken during hospitalisation for treatment of a specific illness, the travel insurance covers all the expenses incurred.
Adventure Sports or Risky Activities
Adventure seekers planning an exciting trip to their favourite destination must know that most travel insurance companies exclude any loss incurred due to adventure sports or activities, including skydiving, rafting, scuba diving, bungee jumping, snowboarding and many more. However, a few travel insurers cover adventure activities but as an add-on cover for international travel. One such insurer is Go Digit General Insurance Ltd that covers most adventure activities as a part of their basic policy; however, the premium for such policy is relatively higher than the basic insurance policy.
On-going Natural Disasters
Travel insurance only covers natural disasters that have occurred or have been announced/named post your purchase of travel insurance. Under a travel cover, you must purchase the insurance before a particular cyclone or hurricane is named by the metrological department. In case of any other natural disaster like volcano eruption, if you purchase travel insurance when the volcano is already erupting, you will not be covered if your trip gets interrupted due to volcano eruption.
Everything in Your Luggage
Your baggage loss, delay or damage under travel insurance policy does not cover all the contents of the bag. Under most of the insurance policies, the items are covered up to a certain dollar limit and in case you are carrying multiple expensive electronic items in your bag, do remember your insurer may not cover the entire loss. Some of the very common travel insurance inclusions include sun glasses, passports, mobile, tickets, cash and dental bridges.
Flights Purchased with Miles
Most travel insurance policies do not cover flights purchased with frequent flyer miles or points. However, the travel insurance may cover the associated fees if you decide to cancel or change an award fare.
(By Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer-General Insurance, Policybazaar.com)