For any Indian traveller who is going abroad, it is very important to purchase travel insurance. While it is not a mandatory product for travel to most countries abroad (except Schengen, UAE and Australia (for certain age groups)), having an insurance cover can give the traveller peace of mind in case of any unforeseen exigency (medical or non-medical) while they are enjoying their holiday/business trip. As most travellers will be aware, the cost of any medical treatment is astronomical when compared to India and hence the traveller could end up spending a large part of their savings for treatment abroad in case of an unfortunate accident or sickness. The cost of insurance is a fraction of the most of medical treatment and hence it is advisable to travel abroad with insurance. Secondly there are many non medical emergencies like Loss of Passport, Baggage Loss / Delay, Flight Delay, Trip Cancellation, Missed Connection etc that can be covered and this will not result in a financial loss to the traveller.
No, as per the insurance rules within India, the traveller must be in India at the time of purchasing their insurance policy. Hence it is ideal that the traveller does not keep insurance purchase as the last document to add to their travel itinerary. It is as important as their visa or hotel reservation. Some insurance companies have a slightly flexible approach and offer coverage (subject to underwriting approval) for a traveller who has already travelled out of India. In this case, the traveller will need to submit a request letter along with a good health and no claim declaration, based on which an underwriting approval can be obtained from the insurance company’s underwriting team. Post approval the applicable premium needs to be remitted by the traveller after which a policy can be issued. Please note that this is an exceptional process to be followed and not the norm. Also please note that this is subject to underwriting approval by the insurance company.
There are many types of travel insurance plans which cater to the requirements of all categories of travellers. At a broad level, there are India travel insurance plans for popular destinations which cover travellers bound to The Americas (North & South American continents including USA & Canada) as well as other countries in the world other than North & South American, which is known as Excluding Americas plans. Most companies offer a specific plan for Asia, which covers their travel to any Asian destination or a Schengen Plan which covers travel to any of the 26 Schengen countries in Europe. A few insurers also offer a Domestic Insurance plan for travel within India. All these are Single Trip plans which cover the individual traveller for a specific trip.
Almost all insurance companies also offer a Multitrip Insurance policy, which is specifically suited for the frequent flier. This is an annual plan which covers the insured traveller for any number of trips during that year.
A simple guide to travel insurance
Travel Insurance can be categorised as "best travel insurance India" if they offer a comprehensive coverage to the insured traveller every time they travel abroad. Depending on the age of the traveller, their destination country and duration of travel, the traveller has a variety of plans to choose from across all insurance providers. But they must ensure they choose a plan with adequate coverage for their trip. For example, if they are travelling to USA, UK or Europe, it is recommended that they choose a plan with a A&S coverage of atleast $250,000. They should also opt for a plan with non-medical coverages like Trip Cancellation, Passport & Baggage Loss, Baggage Delay, Personal Liability etc.
Tips to find the best travel insurance
Most insurance companies have a benefit called Missed Departure/Flight wherein they offer coverage for incidental expenses incurred by the insured traveller on account of the Missed Departure/Flight, by the scheduled airline the insured is supposed to travel on, if the missed connection / departure is due to the following reasons:
Cheapest insurance often represents the insurance plan which offers the least premium to the traveller. These plans normally come with lesser sum insureds and coverages for the traveller and hence it is prudent for the traveller to not only look at the premium but also compare the benefits of the plans available before making an informed choice. Given that the traveller is already spending reasonably large monies for their tickets and hotels, there is a tendency to cut corners on the insurance policy and buy the one with the least premium. By spending a little more effort and a slightly higher premium outlay, the traveller could end up buying a relatively more comprehensive insurance plan that just the cheapest insurance policy which if the best way to proceed. A cheaper premium plan could also mean that the deductible (insured’s contribution to a claim) is higher which may result in the insured shelling out a higher part of the claim incurred later during the trip. Hence it is advisable that the traveller compare travel insurance like products (apples with apples) before arriving at the optimum plan.
Ideally the traveller must buy travel insurance once they have finalise their travel plans and booked their air tickets and hotels/tour packages. The specific reason for booking the insurance at this stage is that for any unforeseen yet covered reasons if the traveller’s trip is cancelled and they have a Trip Cancellation benefit in their insurance plan, then they can make a claim for the non refundable part of the Air Tickets/Hotel & Tour Bookings even before their trip would’ve started. Covered cancellation reasons include:
A pre existing condition means any condition, ailment or injury or related condition(s) for which the insured had signs or symptoms, which was diagnosed and for which the insured received medical advice/ treatment, within 48 months prior to commencement of the first policy issued by the Insurer. This means that if the insured is traveling abroad with a pre existing condition and avails of any treatment abroad, the insurance company will not be liable for paying the claim.
The insurance company normally goes by the guidance of the attending physician in the medical facility abroad while deciding whether a condition is pre existing or not. If the attending physician declares that the cause of the treatment is a pre existing condition carried by the insured, then the treatment costs will not be reimbursed under the policy.
Some insurance companies offer a limited India travel insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions medical expenses, when the situation is Life threatening in nature.
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