One can travel abroad for various reasons – education, work or fun. While travelling, incidents like loss of baggage or passport, medical emergency, flight cancellation are not uncommon. This is when a travel insurance policy comes to the rescue by providing financial protection against risks and losses encountered during the trip.
Travel insurance provides coverage for the expenses and damage associated with travelling in India and abroad. It covers financial loss due to many unforeseen events like theft, death, medical emergencies, loss of luggage, flight delay, etc. that one usually tends to overlook while planning the vacation or a trip.
Travel insurance can be put under different categories. You can choose it according to your need and requirement. Following are the types of travel insurance you can purchase while travelling:
Student Travel Insurance: The student travel insurance plan offers medical and financial aid to students travelling abroad for their education. This plan will cover sudden medical or financial emergencies faced by students in a new country throughout their stay. It can be availed by a student who is already pursuing education abroad or by a student planning to go overseas for studies.
Domestic Travel Insurance: If you are travelling anywhere within India, you can avail domestic travel insurance. Under this plan, one gets the medical and financial aid for medical emergencies, loss of baggage, delay and cancellation of the trip, etc.
Family Travel Insurance: Family travel insurance can be bought for all direct family members of the policyholder. This policy covers accidental costs, hospital allowance and the loss of baggage.
Senior Citizen Travel Insurance: It is a comprehensive plan for people in the age group of 61-70 years to make their travel a pleasant experience. It provides coverage for medical services, healthcare facilities and pre-existing conditions.
Group Travel Insurance: If you are a group of 20 or more people, you can buy group travel insurance plan. It covers trip cancellation, baggage loss or damage, medical evacuation and delay of trips.
International Travel Insurance: This type of travel insurance is taken while travelling outside India. This is further divided into different types for different regions and countries. For instance, a travel insurance required for Middle East would be different from the one needed for travelling to the US. The 2 common types of international travel insurance are:
- Schengen Travel Insurance: It is mandatory to buy Schengen travel insurance if you are travelling to 26 countries under the Schengen countries like Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Poland, Germany, etc. The policy covers medical emergency services, 24/7 assistance, accident or injury coverage, death and disability cover, repatriation, etc.
- Asia Travel Insurance: If you are travelling to Asian countries, you can opt for Asia travel insurance. Under this policy, your medical and other unexpected expenses will be covered
The coverage offered by insurer varies for different providers. Following are the most common inclusions under travel insurance policy:
- Loss of baggage and personal documents
- Loss of passport
- Emergency medical expenses
- Repatriation of human remains
- Hospital cash allowance
- Accidental death or permanent total disability
- Hijack distress allowance
- Compassionate visit of relatives
- Personal liabilities, in case of injury or damage to third party
- Delayed trip and missed flight connection
- An individual should buy travel insurance before travelling either abroad or within India irrespective of the purpose for travelling
- Make sure to read the guidelines, terms and conditions carefully to know the coverage suitable in your case
- While travelling, in case of an eventuality, you would need to file a claim
- Provide the necessary documents to the insurance company for processing the claim. The process is different for different types of claims
- One can pay for the necessary expenses if it is covered under the insurance. Later, the amount will be reimbursed by the insurance company
Travel insurance has different types of plans under its umbrella, so eligibility criteria and age limit will also differ from policy to policy. Let’s understand this.
- Family travel insurance plan: It covers two adults up to the age of 60 years of age and their two children up to 21 years of age.
- Student travel insurance plan: Students between the age of 16 and 40 can buy this plan who are studying abroad for their higher education.
- Senior citizen travel insurance plan: This plan is for senior citizens up to 85 years of age.
- Schengen travel insurance plan: To be eligible for Schengen travel insurance, adults should be up to the age of 70 years and infants must be older than 90 days.
- International travel insurance : It offers coverage for two adults who should be up to the age of 60 and two children up to 21 years.
- In case of an emergency during your trip, inform the insurance company by calling or emailing them.
- To contact them, use the contact details of the insurance company like a toll-free number or the email address mentioned on the policy document
- Claims Service Representative will help you register the claim, understand the process to file claims and the supporting documents required for that specific coverage
- Download the relevant claim form
- Submit the duly filled in claim form and the supporting documents
- The documents will be assessed by a surveyor appointed by the insurance company
- After an assessment, the company will decide whether to accept or reject the policy
Different situations would need different sets of documents. Some of the essential documents which need to be submitted to the insurance company to process claims are:
- Original ticket or boarding pass
- Copy of the passport indicating travel dates
- Claim form
- Original bills, receipts and vouchers
- For medical claims – medical practitioner’s consultation notes, original admission/discharge card, bills with prescriptions
- Emergency travel certificate and new passport copy (in case of loss of passport)
- Details of compensation provided by Airlines, if any (in case of loss of checked baggage)
- Letter from policyholder citing the reason for the cancellation of trip
- Copy of cancelled cheque
Note: This is not an exhaustive list and insurance company might ask for additional documents.
On the submission and acceptance of the required documents, it will take approximately 15 working days for the final settlement of the claim.
Travel insurance does not cover all the cases and situations that you might face while travelling. The insurance will not be liable to pay if the claim has been raised due to the following conditions:
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Radioactive injuries
- Fatal sports injuries
- Self-induced injuries
- Travelling via transportation that is not licensed to carry passengers
- Surgery expenses unless it occurred due to an accident
- Loss of baggage, if not reported within 24 hours of the incident
- Partial loss of checked baggage
- Medical emergencies regarding pregnancies like abortion or miscarriage
- Claims due to war breakout
- Medical emergency caused due to alcohol consumption
- Claiming treatment other than allopathy
Some of the insurance companies offering travel insurance in India are as follows:
- Bharti AXA
- SBI General
- Future Generali
- Apollo Munich
- HDFC Ergo
- IFFCO Tokio
- Bajaj Allianz
All travel insurance plans do not cover all the aspects of travel risks. The aspects which are not covered may disappoint you. Below are some of the aspects which one should know about travel insurance:
- The claim may be rejected if you modify your travel itinerary due to personal issues
- If you have pre-existing health condition, you will not be insured for that particular condition
- You need to give genuine evidence for your claim. If it is known that your sickness was self-induced by any means, your claim will not be approved
Medical expenses: When you are travelling abroad or within India, hospital expenses is the last thing we want to spend on. A travel insurance covers the risk of unwanted expenses for cases like injuries, surgeries, and emergency medical evacuation. Depending on the plan you have chosen, you may get a 24/7 care service that will cover your travelling expenses to the nearest medical facility.
Baggage mishandling: It is common for the baggage to get misplaced, stolen, or mishandled duting flights or travelling. In such a situation, if you have not bought a travel insurance, you will lose the money spent in the baggage, along with the valuables stored in the bag. With travel insurance, either your money will be reimbursed, or your luggage will be replaced with a new one, as per your policy.
Trip cancellation: Some weather conditions or technical issues may force you to cancel your trip. As disheartening as it may seem, you will also lose the money you paid for the travel booking and the hotel bookings. But with the help of trip cancellation coverage in travel insurance, you can get your money back.