Unlike India, medical and health care expenses are quite high in foreign countries and any medical emergency can jeopardize the entire travel plan.
One of the things that travel insurance covers is medical emergencies while travelling either in India or abroad. Travel insurance, in fact, is an all-inclusive plan which covers any unplanned expenses incurred due to medical emergencies, trip cancellation, delay or curtailment of trip, loss of baggage and personal belongings, among others.
“An individual is most vulnerable to medical emergencies while travelling abroad as he is exposed to different climatic conditions and an unknown terrain. Unlike India, medical and health care expenses are quite high in foreign countries and any medical emergency can jeopardize the entire travel plan. A comprehensive travel insurance cover will not only take care of the medical cost abroad, but will also ensure that an individual is able to return home in order to seek treatment,” says Abhijeet Ghosh, Head-Travel Insurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.
However, one must remember that pre-existing medical conditions are are not covered by travel insurance.
“Generally, most of the international travel insurance covers provided by insurance companies in India only extend coverage for any medical emergencies while traveling abroad. Medical emergencies can be classified as uncertain events where the insured person traveling abroad encounters any bodily injuries or diseases that require medical treatment in hospitals. Travel insurance also covers pre- and post-hospitalization expenses along with repatriation benefits,” says Rajiv Kumar, MD & CEO, Universal Sompo General Insurance.
He, however, adds that generally, no insurance company in India covers the treatment of pre-existing diseases which lead to a medical emergency while traveling abroad, while some provide cover in case of life-threatening conditions.
For instance, if an individual having cardiovascular ailment is travelling abroad and has availed a travel insurance cover, then he will be insured against any expenses incurred by him due to any medical exigencies faced during the travel period. However, “if he incurs any expenses for medical treatment taken for existing cardiovascular ailment, the same will not be covered by the travel insurance plan,” informs Ghosh.
Of late, however, a few insurance companies in India have launched standalone comprehensive health products that allow the insured to undergo medical treatment in a foreign land instead of the home country as optional or add-on cover, although the premium for opting such policies are essentially on the higher side.
Thus, if an individual has availed a travel insurance cover for his foreign journey, he does not need to invest separately in an overseas health insurance plan. An overseas health insurance cover will be required only if someone has a pre-existing disease.