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International Travel Insurance - A lot more than just the flight journey

Posted by - Sanjay Datta, Chief - Underwriting, Reinsurance & Claims
April 15 2014
Travelling abroad on a holiday is something each one of us aspires for. Visiting exotic locations, experiencing the local culture and heritage, relishing local cuisines are things that we look forward to when on an international leisure trip. Not to forget the moments of fun and frolic with family or friends.

Even as we plan for the trip, unexpected events during the tour can potentially disrupt the fun filled moments or worst lead to an abrupt end to the itinerary. Availing of a travel insurance policy can help you mitigate the impact of several incidents that can disturb your holiday. While most of us are aware about the availability of travel insurance policies, surprisingly many of us mistake this product to be offering cover only for flight delays, cancellations and lost baggage. In reality, a travel insurance policy offers a much wider spectrum of coverage.

These include:

  • Cover for Medical emergencies: In case of emergency medical treatment, your travel insurance policy can reimburse the expenses incurred on the treatment. You can also avail of cashless facility at network hospitals. A noteworthy point here is that pre-existing diseases are also covered in case of emergency and life threatening situations. In addition, one is not required to undergo medical check up till the age of 85 years.

  • Emergency Medical Assistance: This part of the travel insurance policy can assist you in getting immediate medical help for transfer to a hospital in case of an accident when abroad.

  • Cover for Trip cancellation, curtailment or interruption: Your policy can also compensate for any financial loss resulting out of cancellation or cutting short a trip abroad.
  • Personal Accident cover: This feature provides insurance to the policy holder's family, in case of his/ her unfortunate demise or a permanent total or partial disability such as loss of a limb or loss of eyesight.

In addition to the above covers, a travel insurance policy offers many other benefits that not only you but your wife, old parents or any other family member back home can avail of Insurance firms nowadays offer value added services like medical concierge, automotive assistance, lifestyle services e.g. gifts or flower delivery assistance, home movers assistance, plumbing or electrical assistance etc.

While choosing the right travel insurance policy based on your needs is important, it is equally critical that you keep a few things handy so as not to face inconvenience at the time of claiming the cover after an unforeseen event. While travelling abroad, you should ensure that you have the customer service numbers of the Third Party Administrator (TPA) or the Assistance Company handy, so that you can intimate the TPA regarding the cashless or reimbursement claim ensuring hassle free claim processing. The assistance Company can also help the insured at the time of crisis be it in the form of contacting the embassy, locating the nearest cashless clinic, hospital admissions etc. It is important that you read the fine print to make the best out of the insurance policy and are informed of the coverage provided. While requesting for a claim, it is important that you complete the documents properly. For instance, in case of claims pertaining to flight cancellation, trip delays you should obtain a written proof from the airline authorities stating the period of delay. Other documents like copy of passport, visa with entry and exit stamps, copies of boarding pass, ticket and baggage tags should also be retained and submitted while filing a claim. Similarly, for claims pertaining to medical emergency the duly completed claim form signed by the treating doctor, original documents of doctor's medical report, admission and discharge cards, original bills, vouchers, payment receipts stating the details treatment and prescriptions, copy of X-ray, pathological and investigative reports will be required. Also all the documents must be sent within 30 days of your return to India or expiry of policy, whichever is earlier.

So the next time you travel on an international holiday, be sure to subscribe to a comprehensive travel insurance policy and ensure an enjoyable trip abroad.

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