International travel is fun. However, not only does it cost a lot, but also needs careful planning. While the reasons for travel can be anything - from leisure to business and bag packing to family time, and even students traveling abroad for higher studies - every travel and stay comes with varying amounts of risks.
International Travel Insurance - Yes You Too Need It
Even if you feel that the odds of an emergency striking you are negligible, there are ample statistics that prove otherwise. Being cautious alone will not mitigate the risks because some things are not within your control. You might be an experienced traveler or might even know the foreign country like your own backyard; in any case, you can never be 100% certain that things will pan out just as planned.
There are several things that can go wrong, and when they do, there will be consequences - some financial, some physical and others psychological. There is a way to save you the trouble and reduce the losses.
Welcome to International Travel Insurance.
* Any claim due to or arising out of pre-existing medical condition/ailment whether declared or undeclared is not covered under the policy.
Benefits of Availing Travel Insurance
The biggest benefit of availing travel insurance is peace of mind. An international traveler will not have to worry about the risk he/ she is at during the trip. Be it loss of documents, accidents, cancellation of pre-paid trips or delays - your travel insurance covers it all.
Risks Covered by Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is a form of non-life insurance tailored to free the customers of their travel worries by offering a financial safeguard against untoward incidents. Common concerns include medical emergencies, flight cancellations or delays, lost baggage and defaults on the travel agent/ supplier's end, etc.
Even extreme situations, such as accidental death or disablement, are covered under these policies. Different insurance companies offer policies that are tailor-made for the needs of the insured. Moreover, there is a separate and unique limit for the reimbursement depending on the kind of emergency.
A few of many risks covered under these policies are as follows:
1. Trip Delay or Cancellation
Technical issues, bad weather or ticketing issues - there are several factors that can result your trip getting delayed or even cancelled. In case a trip is delayed for over a certain amount of time due to problems at the airline's end, natural disasters or personal problems covered under the policy, a specific amount per day can be reimbursed. Even if the aircraft is hijacked for over 12 hours, compensation is payable on per day basis for a fixed number of days.
2. Trip Interruptions
In case your trip is interrupted mid-way, a travel insurance policy covers the costs incurred for the unexpected return home. The reason for such interruptions can be the ill health of the policyholder or that of a travelling companion.
3. Hospitalization and Claims ;
Hospitalization coverage is particularly useful in case of unexpected medical treatment abroad. With facilities for availing cashless hospitalization, travelers can ensure that they are able to afford the high costs of treatments abroad. In fact, some institutes of higher education have made it mandatory for foreign students to avail medical insurance.
Travel insurance policies also offer compensation in case of death or permanent total disability caused due to an accident.
4. Loss of Baggage and Passport
Losing your baggage or passport during an international trip can be a stressful experience. Travel insurance allows claims for expenses towards reissuance of passport. Under this policy, all baggage, including hand baggage may also be insured. In case the checked-in baggage is lost, the compensation depends on the value of contents in the baggage while in case of burglary or theft, a fixed compensation is provided, except in case of jewelry.
5. Unexpected Hotel Accommodation
Sickness, flight delays or cancellation; when things go wrong, you might need to alter your plans and take unexpected decisions to put your itinerary back on track. This might include expected hotel accommodation. A travel insurance policy covers claims for expenses incurred towards such forced change of plans.
Some Value Added Services
International travel insurance policies can offer assistance to your family back home while you are abroad. This add-on or optional feature in your insurance plan provides peace of mind to you as well as your dependant family members under any medical, automotive or logistical emergency situations.
Services like arranging for a medical concierge or a car mechanic can be easily availed. Some of the other services provided are electrical assistance, pest control assistance and plumbing assistance.
You may also opt for a comprehensive insurance plan that covers your house against the risk of fire or burglary during your trip abroad. Such plans provide compensation on bounced booking of flights and hotels among other benefits.
Hospitalization Abroad - How Does It Work?
Your travel insurance policy also includes worldwide cashless hospitalization facility, where the insurance company settles the hospital bill of a traveler directly. In case prior approval is required to avail the services, one can simply contact the insurance company on the helpline number provided by them.
The insurance companies usually have a tie-up with international healthcare providers for facilitating medical privileges, and cover a large number of hospitals. The limit for medical sum insured is fixed by the insurance companies.
Special policies are also available for senior citizens (individuals between the age group of 71 and 85 years).
Availing a Travel Insurance Policy
Travel insurance can be obtained online. For individuals up to 85 years of age, a travel insurance policy is usually available without any medical check-up. A legally valid hard copy of the policy is usually sent to the insured by the insurance company, and a soft copy may be available instantly. This document includes in writing, all the risks that are covered under the policy, as well as the exclusions. The definitions of technical terms are also provided, along with terms and conditions.
Terms and Conditions
Even though the key medical and travel risks are covered, there are some instances which are not covered, e.g. accidents due to alcohol consumption or drug addiction, mental disorder, loss of passport due to one's own negligence, etc. A duplicate passport can be issued for about US$200.
Depending on the kind of emergency, a few documents are required for claiming the expenses covered under the policies. These may vary from company to company, but mainly include a copy of travel documents such as visa, passport, ticket, etc. In case of a medical emergency, an attested claim form and original medical documents given to the patient by the hospital are also required. Based on the case, any other documents requested by the insurance company are also to be submitted.
Travel insurance is highly recommended while traveling abroad and the details of the same can be found easily on visiting the website or a branch of any insurance company offering non-life insurance policies. A little planning can go a long way in helping one enjoy a trip abroad without any hassles or interruptions.