A travel insurance policy safeguards you from the financial losses you may encounter during a trip, domestic or international. It is important to choose a travel insurance policy that suits your needs, to prevent financial worries while you are in a new land.
General insurance companies in India offer both domestic and international travel insurance. Different insurance providers may call them by different names. It is important to understand the type of travel a particular policy covers before going ahead with the purchase.
How to Choose a Travel Insurance - Highlights
A travel insurance policy covers losses against unexpected expenditure such as medical treatment, loss of baggage, loss of passport, flight interruptions or cancellations, etc. during your trip.
Based on the destination, travel insurance policies are of two types - domestic and international. Domestic travel insurance covers financial losses due to medical expenses, accidents, loss of baggage, cancelled trips, etc. within India. They are available at a nominal premium and are optional if you have existing health and home insurance policies.
Get a travel insurance
policy before you fly out
If you are travelling to an international destination, it is advisable to opt for an international travel insurance policy, considering the cost of healthcare treatment overseas, risk of losing your passport, theft of valuables, etc.
Other factors that determine the type of insurance policy to opt for is the purpose of your trip, whether you are travelling alone or as a group, your age, etc. Based on these, international travel insurance has been broadly classified into the following categories:
It covers employees of an organization and is relevant where employees are required to travel frequently. It helps organizations save on additional costs due to flight cancellations, trip interruptions, hospitalization charges, etc
A comprehensive insurance policy, it covers losses incurred during a student's tenure overseas such as baggage loss, accident, study interruptions, etc.
This is a single cover that covers hospitalization, medical expenses and baggage loss of all members of a family covered under the policy.
It is applicable for medical and non-medical expenses incurred by senior citizens while travelling abroad. The age group catered to under this insurance plan varies based on the insurance provider.
It provides coverage for expenses incurred during a single trip for a specific period of travel. For such policies, check the duration for which the policy is valid. If your trip exceeds the specified period, the entire policy becomes invalid.
This is relevant for frequent fliers, especially businessmen and professionals who need to travel overseas multiple times in a year. It generally covers expenses during any number of trips within the year and saves individuals from paying multiple administration expenses. It is also convenient, as you do not have to buy and submit forms multiple times in a year.
Depending on the insurance provider, each of these categories is further classified into Gold, Silver, Platinum, etc. based on the premium rates and coverage.
While there is no ideal amount for coverage, it is recommended that your insurance policy covers 4-8% of your total trip cost. In addition to the purpose and duration of your visit, there are certain other factors to consider while choosing an international travel insurance policy:
The country you are travelling to, the risk and cost factors associated with it, etc. will help you to identify the plan that is best suited for you. According to ICICI Lombard's
survey on travel insurance
, many people feel that travel insurance is not necessary while travelling to Asian countries and is required only for trips to the US and UK. This is a misconception, since the risk of misplacing baggage or losing one's passport is equal in both the cases.
Certain countries, like the
group of countries, compulsorily require tourists to have international travel insurance. It is possible to increase the sum assured and premium based on the destination you are visiting. For countries where the medical and hospitalization expenses are high, you can choose a larger cover. Similarly, for countries with high crime rates, a larger cover can be opted.
If the purpose of your visit is shopping and sightseeing, the regular international travel insurance plan will suffice. However, if you are planning for adventure sports or activities, you will need to supplement your travel insurance with other covers at an added cost, since these are excluded in the travel policy.
Travel insurance policies
are available for all ages. Senior citizen plans can be fortified to include greater cover for diseases and hospitalization.
Certain insurance policies also safeguard your home in India, offer assistance to your dependents at home, etc. at a higher premium.
With the digital revolution in India, the mode of purchasing insurance policies has also been transformed. You no longer need to interact directly with an agent. Instead, you can compare insurance products online, read the policy document thoroughly and make an informed decision with complete transparency.
Avail the desired travel insurance via the insurance provider's website by filling your basic personal details and making an online payment. Ensure you fill in the correct details regarding destination, period of travel, etc. You will receive your insurance document instantly in your email.
Now buy, renew and register claims online
Remember to carry your policy document along with you during the trip. The policy document usually has the contact details of your insurance provider. Notify your insurance provider at the earliest, in case of any mishap, to register a claim. In some cases, an FIR filed with the police department might be essential.
Your claim may not be honoured if it is not supported by the right documents or falls in the category that is not covered under your insurance policy.
While travel policies are a one-time affair, you can opt to extend your policy if you change your travel plans and decide to stay on for a longer period. ICICI Lombard offers a convenient
where you enter the details of your policy and make an online payment.
1) Is domestic health insurance policy adequate to cover my risks abroad?
No. Unless your health insurance policy is valid worldwide, it will not cover any medical risks that you might face on your international trip. Also, you will not be covered against the various other risks such as baggage or passport loss, flight cancellation, terrorist attacks, etc. Certain travel insurance policies offer value-add services such as protecting your home in India, assistance to family in India, etc.
Know what is covered and
make an informed decision
2) Adventure sports are on my itinerary during my overseas trip. Will my international travel insurance policy cover any injuries or losses sustained due to these?
No, losses incurred due to adventure sports are not covered under the regular international travel insurance policy. You will need to opt for other policies or add-ons at a higher premium to cover these risks.
3) To avail cashless hospitalization, when must I notify the insurance provider?
For a planned hospitalization, notify the insurance provider prior to admission. In case of emergency hospitalization, notify the insurance provider within one day or at least before discharge. You can opt for this feature only if these timelines are adhered to.
4) How do deductibles and sub-limits affect my travel insurance policy?
A deductible for a health or hospitalization cover in a travel insurance policy means that you would have to bear the costs of certain aspects and the insurance provider will not reimburse these. Similarly, a sub-limit for a hospital room rent or doctor's fees implies that there is a cap on the amount reimbursed by the insurance provider. Above the particular limit, you will need to spend from your pocket.
5) Is there a minimum trip duration for which I can avail a travel insurance policy?
The duration of your trip influences the premium amount. The trip duration is usually considered in bands; therefore, there would be a specified minimum range or band.
It is important to read your policy document carefully and understand the terms and conditions. Opt for the features and services that are applicable to you, even if they are at a slightly higher premium, for a hassle-free journey.