What Travel Insurance Covers & How It Benefits You!
That's like asking if you need oxygen to breathe, because the answer is YES. Every time you take a flight, whether to a domestic location or an international one, you must be armed with a good travel insurance policy.
Perhaps the most important function of travel insurance is to pay the costs of emergency medical treatment abroad. There is always a chance of falling ill after eating food that does not agree with one, or a change in climate triggering severe allergies, or even an accident causing severe injuries. If you were to try and get treatment abroad, you would realise what a costly proposition it really is. But if you have a travel insurance plan, you can rely on it to see you through a medical emergency. Similarly, it pays for duplicating your lost or stolen travel documents and cash.
You might be tempted to take the first travel plan that you come across. The moment you book your flight tickets, the airline may prompt you to buy travel insurance as well, but this is often restricted to flight cancellations and illness only. You might not get the same coverage as listed above, so it is better to look up plans offered by reputed insurance providers only.
What does travel insurance cover?
Whether taking your first trip ever or the first trip this year, a good travel insurance plan must cover you from the moment you head out to your vacation.
If you are a frequent traveller, you probably take travel plans every time you book your trip. But there is a strong chance that you take the plan after everything else has been booked, packed and stowed away. A word to the wise: buy a travel policy right after booking your flight tickets. That way you will not be rushed for time later, and you are also less likely to forget to do it altogether!
It is astonishing to note that a large number of people still do not believe in taking travel insurance, because they do not see the merit in it. You are aware that travel insurance protects you from the risk of baggage loss, theft, illness while on travel and many other contingences while you are on your trip. But these are just broad descriptions of various heads covered under your travel plan. Are you certain of the exact coverage and terms therein that your travel policy provides? Let's consider the most essential heads that the best travel insurance plan covers:
Medical expenses. You may become unwell on your trip or suffer injuries from an accident or illness. Your travel plan will cover the expenses you incur when treating yourself abroad, with or without the options of deductible. The travel plan takes up the expenses associated with emergency hospitalisation, treatment, airlifting by ambulance in case of returning home for treatment, etc.
Baggage loss/delay in arrival. You arrive at your destination airport on time but your bag is nowhere to be found! Do not panic, because your travel policy compensates you if you need to purchase essential items to make up for those that are in your bag. Some insurers pay a specified coverage in case of lost bags.
Passport loss. Instances of tourists being mugged or robbed abroad are on the rise. If you ever face such a situation, remember that your travel insurance pays the costs of duplicating the passport and related travel documents, subject to a police report being filed.
Accident and disability. The worst can happen on a trip – but your travel plan can provide coverage against death or permanent disability arising from an accident on foreign soil.
Emergency coordination and assistance from India. In case you run out of money or your bag containing your cash and valuables are misplaced or robbed, your travel insurance provider can coordinate with your family based in India to quickly transfer money to you.
Inconveniences. A good travel plan covers expenses you may incur in case your flight/trip is delayed or cancelled, or if you need to cut your visit short owing to illness or family emergency, and even for extreme situations such as hijack and terrorism events. The plan also provides coverage for third party claims over accidental damage to life and property.
Coverage is not provided for:
Following are the possible reasons/scenarios for which, travel insurance does not cover
- Legal liabilities and injuries arising out of misconduct such as deliberately causing harm to life and property, arson, participating in a criminal activity, etc.
- Illness caused by substance abuse and alcoholism
- Injuries incurred due to a suicide attempt
- Illnesses and disorders linked to HIV/AIDS
- Treatment for and injuries/illness sustained due to mental disorders, depression, self-sustained injuries
- Pre-existing health conditions and related illnesses
Choosing the right insurance provider!
Getting the right policy is a matter of choosing the right insurer. There are many good insurance providers in India, but not all of them offer flexible, intuitive solutions that customers require. The area of travel insurance, especially, is one that is evolving steadily over the last five years. However, Future Generali are way ahead of the rest in terms of product quality and customer service.
So what should you look for in a good insurance provider? Start with track record. If the insurer's product has been around for more than five years, you can track its progress and make your deduction about whether it is a popular product or not. If a certain travel plan is more popular or has recently been awarded with a prestigious industry prize, you can research it for more details. Lastly, the insurance provider's claims settlement record is extremely important. This shows the responsiveness and turnaround time of the company in settling customers' claims – a crucial factor when you are stuck abroad, ill or with no money!