Just buying any travel insurance policy will not solve your purpose as it is equally important that you choose the right insurance plan.
The very thought of getting emergency medical treatment at a foreign land is scary as it can prove to be way costlier than you may think. To avoid getting trapped in such a situation, it is better to invest in a comprehensive travel insurance policy that protects you and your travel companions from a financial catastrophe at an international destination. However, just buying any travel insurance policy does not solve the purpose as it is equally important that you choose the right insurance plan.
You need to check all the offered benefits very carefully and also the exclusions. Blindly depending on the travel agent for your travel insurance can later prove to be very expensive for you. This World Tourism Day, let us all make sure that before going for a holiday or a business trip outside India, we always take the right travel insurance policy. Here are some important things that you must consider to ensure you have the right travel insurance cover.
Existing Medical History
While buying a travel insurance, do check if any of your travel companions has any pre-existing medical conditions that may require emergency attention. If yes, go for a policy that adequately covers pre-existing diseases especially in life-threatening situations. During your holiday abroad, you would never want to be in a situation where you are not able to have access best healthcare when you need it the most. Before buying a policy, do properly discuss with your travel companions, understand their health conditions and make a clear and complete declaration in the proposal form well in advance, else your claim may get rejected.
Extent of Coverage
Since one of the most crucial elements of travel insurance cover is emergency medical care, it is important for you as a policy seeker to accurately mention the date of birth of all the travellers as mentioned on the passport. In case you are travelling with any senior citizen, it is important that you have more than adequate cover, irrespective of the destination or the duration. To know the extent of coverage, it is important that you inquire with your advisor about the policy document. The policy document will help you better understand the medical cover completely and keep an eye on any additional limits in the cover. Usually, insurers put a cap on hospitalisation limit or on the cost of specific treatments cost, especially for senior citizens.
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On the Basis of Destination
If you are travelling to a developed country like the United States, United Kingdom or Singapore, it is important that you have a large cover, especially if the duration of the trip is more than two weeks. The average cost of a single emergency room visit in the US is $1000, while the average cost of a single emergency room visit in Singapore is ~SGD 300. Keeping these expenses in mind, even a short visit to a hospital can burn a huge hole in your pocket. In order to avoid being trapped in such a situation, it is better to go for a higher sum insured when travelling to developed countries. However, while travelling to developing countries, travel insurance with lesser sum insured also solves the purpose.
Purpose of Travel
If you are travelling abroad for a leisure trip and plan to participate in different adventure experiences/sports like bungee jumping/ scuba diving, you must invest in travel insurance that covers all such risks. In case you are sending your child abroad for higher studies, you must explore special long-term travel insurance covers that are specifically customised for student travellers. Also, make sure that the plan covers expenses for you or your spouse travelling abroad to attend your child in case of he/she falls sick in the foreign country. All student travel plans are generally available for a duration of 2 to 5 years. Always choose your plan yourself and wisely, and never rely on your travel agent alone to choose your insurance policy.
(By Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer-General Insurance, Policybazaar.com)