You’re on vacation with your family in the Maldives. You’ve been basking in the sun, lazing on the beaches, reading a book and gorging for a coupl
e of days. On day three, however, your wife announces that she is feeling unwell. You dismiss it as a result of over-exertion.
But a few hours later, she is worse and seems to be throwing up frequently. She is finally diagnosed as having a bad case of gastritis and the doctors advise that she should be hospitalised immediately. Help is actually a phone call away, provided you are covered under a travel insurance policy.
The insurer simply need to give the details to the insurance company, which gets in touch with the hospital and makes it possible for you to avail of cashless treatment. In addition to sudden hospitalisation and unforeseen medical expenses, there are also other non-medical situations where travel insurance can come in handy. SundayET lists out the FAQs on travel insurance.
When does it come in handy?
One of the most common inconveniences associated with travel is the delay of baggage. With all your personal belongings packed away in your suitcase, you may have no choice at that moment but to go and shop for new clothes. But take good care of your bills.
If you submit them to your insurance company along with the claim form and necessary documents such as a property irregularity report from the airline and copy of your passport with entry and exit marked, you will be compensated for the expenses incurred.
In case you lose vital travel documents like your passport and need to approach the nearest Indian embassy to obtain a duplicate passport, the policy reimburses expenses incurred in respect of obtaining duplicate passport/ travel document.
“The expenses covered are fees paid to Indian Embassy, photograph charges, attestation fees, conveyance charges for visiting Indian Embassy etc,” says Shreeraj Deshpande, head, travel insurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance.
Similar compensations can be availed in the case of loss of baggage, hijack, missed connections, accidents, medical emergencies, financial emergencies and so in. While cashless medical treatment is offered by many companies, there are still a few which compensate you later for your expenses.
So, in addition to bills/ invoices, all reports also need to be kept safely. “A travel insurance policy also provides coverage for emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of mortal remains,” says M Ravinder, head of underwriting, A&H, Tata AIG General Insurance.
How to choose ?
While many people talk about travel insurance, particularly with regard to overseas travel, it is also available for domestic travel. But you need to pay immense attention to this process as different plans have different extents of coverage.
“While choosing a plan, an individual should ensure that the travel insurance plan covers the entire duration of the trip, destinations are properly selected, amount coverage is right and that the benefits are adequate,” says Ravinder.
Calculation of the premium also depends on criteria such as sum insured, age, destination of travel, duration of travel and the plan chosen. Policies are generally available up to the age of 85, but after the age of 70, the policy will be issued only after a health checkup.
How long does it last ?
Unlike a life insurance policy, which is renewed on a yearly basis, a travel insurance policy is available for a maximum period of 180 days. This can be further extended for another 180 days. “However, this will depend on the number of claims filed by the traveller in the first 180 days.
Also, this extension is only available for individuals under the age of 70 years,” says Sudhir Menon, head of travel insurance, ICICI Lombard. However, the period may vary in case of a student loan. According to Deshpande, “Student policies are issued for 365 days which can further be extended for another two years (three years in total) depending on the duration of course opted for.”
A travel insurance policy is generally easy to acquire and the process can be completed in a day. It is also available online and even via your mobile phones.
Riders and exemptions
There is generally a long list of exemptions to travel insurance policies. Pre-existing diseases, suicide or attempted suicide, death or disability from war, expenses from HIV or AIDS or similar diseases do not come under the framework of travel insurance.
Moreover, you cannot use a travel insurance policy to compensate loss of objects like manuscripts, money, securities, stamps, coins, ornaments and precious stones etcetera.However, if you are willing to pay an additional sum to the premium, then the extent of coverage can be increased.
“If additional premium is paid under student policy we give added coverage for mental and nervous disorder, including alcoholism and drug dependency and medical expenses incurred for sport injuries,” says Deshpande. Moreover, in-flight coverage can be given to students going abroad for pilot training.
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