What is the best travel insurance?
It is not fair to state that any insurance plan is better or worse than another plan. What is important to note that each insurance plan comes with a different set of benefits at varying sum insureds and it is important for the insured to compare the options available before making a decision. There are two aspects to travel insurance. One is the set of benefits/coverages under the plan. Hence the insured must consider the following while deciding on the insurance plan and company – Duration of Travel, Destination of Travel, Age of the Traveller, Coverage required. A younger traveller can opt for a lesser coverage while an older traveller should take a more comprehensive cover with higher benefits . Second and more importantly the insured should consider the Assistance and Claims support available in the foreign location. It is better to partner with an insurance company who has a strong Assistance partner and a large network of hospitals abroad. This will ensure seamless cashless treatment and prompt travel and claims assistance should the need arise.
What are the key factors to keep in mind while purchasing a Travel insurance policy?
The key factors include:
- Destination of travel. For example if you’re going to developed countries like USA, Europe, Australia, UK, it is advisable to a policy with a higher Medical Limit ($200,000 and above). This is because the cost of medical treatment in these countries is significantly higher than the rest of the world.
- Duration of travel - The longer the duration of travel, the higher sum insured for Medical expenses is recommended because the possibilities of catching an illness increase when exposed to varying climatic conditions with changing seasons.
- Reputation and the Market standing are important to keep in mind while finalising an insurance partner. Importantly, the traveller should keep in mind the capabilities of the insurance company for Travel Insurance specifically. Their ability, transparency and promptness in claims settlement and their financial strength are important factors to consider.
- Third Party Administrator (TPA) abroad. Accessibility to the TPA at the time of a medical emergency is very important. One should understand the TPA’s network of hospitals across the world and their competencies to handle a critical situation
- Activity calendar of the insured is as important as the trip itself. As a traveller if you plan to have a relaxed beach side vacation just to catch a tan, then don’t look for buying an insurance policy with an adventure sports coverage. But if you are likely to go scuba diving or snorkelling (any other adventure sport), please ensure the opt for a plan that offers coverage for Adventure Sports
- Age of the traveller is another key factor while deciding on the ideal insurance plan and premium for the same. With advancement in age, there are higher possibilities for travellers to be carry pre existing medical conditions. Most insurance plans exclude medical expenses arising due to pre existing conditions, and hence the traveller must ensure to choose the correct plan if they want the same to be covered.
- Exclusions under a Travel insurance policy are as important as the inclusions or coverages. Hence it is important for the traveller to review the exclusions prior to purchasing the policy so that they are clearly aware of what is covered and what is not covered.
Which is the best travel insurance company in India?
Travel insurance in India is currently offered by many competent insurance companies in India like Tata AIG, Bajaj Allianz, Reliance General, Religare Health, HDFC Ergo, Apollo Munich etc. Almost all these companies have a dedicated vertical which takes care of managing the Travel insurance business. Their range of products also are comprehensive in terms of coverage benefits and their premiums are competitive. Another important component of Travel Insurance is the Assistance Partner (TPA) who supports claims (both medical and non medical) across the world, since they are the first point of contact for the insured while they are abroad. Some of these companies have a global partner managing claims and assistance while some have developed inhouse capabilities.
The traveller should keep in mind all aspects of their travel before finalising their insurance plan and insurance company. If they are travelling to USA, they should ideally choose an insurance partner with a good assistance partner in USA. They should choose an ideal sum insured plan (if travelling to UK/Europe they should opt for a minimum coverage of $250,000 given the healthcare costs in these regions) as well and opt for an insurance company which is reputed for settling claims on time.
What all does travel insurance cover?
All travel insurance plans have two sections or two types of coverage. One is Medical coverages which include Accident & Sickness Expense Coverage, Dental Coverage, Medical Evacuation, Personal Accident etc. Accident & Sickness cover is most important for the traveller given the cost of healthcare treatments in all countries abroad. The traveller should ensure they are adequately covered given their age, duration of travel and destination of travel.
The second section pertains to Non Medical coverages like Loss of Passport, Baggage Delay/Loss, Trip Cancellation/Curtailment, Personal Liability, Bounced Hotel, Missed Connection/Departures, Flight Delay etc. These are equally important coverages because if the traveller is stranded in a foreign country without insurance, all expenses relating to these exigencies will have to be borne by the insured. One is the financial cost, the other is that with an insurance policy in place, their Assistance Partner abroad will support the traveller in such exigencies, which is really beneficial.