A Jet Airways flight with 161 people on board veered off the runway at Dabolim airport in Goa while aligning for take off to Mumbai early today, with 15 passengers suffering ‘minor’ injuries during the evacuation. Sadly, this is not the first incident of its kind. Earlier also, on many occasions, travellers have got hurt while travelling – either by plane, rail, car or bus.
This explains why travel insurance has become a must in today’s world. True, you cannot avoid financial losses from miss-happenings occurred via travelling but you can secure your financial losses by taking a travel insurance plan.
What is travel insurance?
It is a general insurance which covers the medical and non-medical loss occurred while travelling. Loss covered under such policies are mainly: flight accident, medical expenses, cancellation of the trip, loss of luggage, home insurance, personal liability, personal accident insurance and much more.
Whether it is travel insurance or life insurance, you can easily avail both the insurance through online by visiting the websites of insurance companies.
Do we need travel insurance every time?
Not necessarily. There are annual plans under which you can go for as many trips as you want to ensure certain term and conditions mentioned by the insurance companies. Single trip insurance plans need to be availed every time before boarding for a new journey.
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Does travel insurance cover life insurance too?
Life insurance is covered during the travel time. However, health insurance is covered throughout the trip. The policy differs from company to company. It is necessary to read the terms and conditions carefully.
“It primarily covers accidental death. An occurrence of death due to pre-existing illnesses is majorly not covered under the travel insurance plan, but a few companies these days offer cover for pre-existing diseases, especially for life-threatening diseases,” says Dhruv Sarin- Head of Health and Travel Insurance, Policybazaar.com.
Is travel insurance mandatory to take?
Though travel insurance is not necessary, but it is a must to have. Even IRCTC provides travel insurance from ICICI Lombard at just Re. 0.92, which is not necessary, but if you avail, it will secure your financial loss.
“It is not mandatory for all countries except Schengen visa countries. But it is the most important thing required when you are travelling abroad. People usually avoid taking travel insurance, viewing it as an extra cost along with other travel expenses. However, the fact remains that it gives you protection against medical expenses that are extremely high in foreign countries. Additionally, it also provides cover for trip cancellation, lost luggage, flight or other accidents either internationally or nationally. Therefore, it is worth investing in a travel insurance plan to avoid any unnecessary stress due to unexpected circumstances.” says Sarin.
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Covers offered during the time of booking air tickets are sufficient or we should take travel insurance?
You should take the cover as per your need. Unnecessarily paying a high premium for something which is not relevant for you will only increase the load on your pocket. The same amount can be utilised for various other activities during the trip. Although the cost is not too high for travel insurance, but then insurance is always taken as per the financial liabilities demands.
“It will mainly depend on the type of travel. Coverage for medical expenses has a significant portion of underwriting in travel insurance. If you are travelling domestic and already have an existing life cover along with a health insurance plan, then it holds little value. The airlines would usually compensate for any baggage loss and trip cancellation. But if you are travelling aboard, then the cover becomes extremely important. Suppose, you are travelling to the US and fall sick there, in that situation, medical expenses can cost you huge. For example, a heart valve replacement surgery would cost the patients $200,000 in the US, but the same treatment would cost you around $8000 in India. If you have travel insurance in place, this will help you on your pocket,” says Sarin.
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The best way to choose a travel insurance plan?
The best way to choose a travel insurance is to analyse your requirements – what necessities you require while travelling? Policy coverage is defined as per the age and accordingly the premium is charged.
Adding to it, “Before buying a policy you should compare and look for the plan which provides the highest coverage for your medical expenses. Since, in an unknown place meeting with the treatment charges instantly is extremely difficult. Secondly, depending upon geography, age and trip duration, you should pin down how much protection you might need in case of any loss. This will further help you select a plan which covers your belongings, electronics, stolen or damaged possession etc. Your trip duration decides a lot for the possessions you need to get covered. If you are a student, you are more vulnerable in a new place for a longer time. You would need help if there is any sort of study interruption, compassionate visit, baggage and document loss etc,” says Sarin.
What are the additional covers under travel insurance?
Every insurance policy comes up with top-up plans which provide multiple other benefits by paying a little additional amount over your premium.
“There are additional covers available such as cover for the hijack, passport and documentation loss, cover for personal liability, etc. Suppose, you are in the US and driving a rental car. You met with an accident, your travel insurance can provide third party liability in that case,” says Sarin.