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How does travel insurance work overseas?

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Travel Insurance is a critical part of any Overseas Trip eventhough today almost 75-80% of International Travellers do not opt for it citing various reasons. Most International travellers will ensure that they have their air tickets, hotel reservations, land package arrangements, foreign exchange organised, but when it comes to Travel Insurance, they prefer to not purchase it unless mandatorily required by the destination country
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One of the key reasons for this is that the traveller does not believe that travel insurance is a useful product to have when they go overseas. The second reason is that even if they believe it is a useful product, they are not aware of how they can utilise whilst abroad, it the need arises. This short article attempts to briefly highlight how a travel insurance policy is useful when the travellers is abroad.

There are a couple of important points for the traveller to note when they have purchased a travel insurance policy:
  • Travel Insurance Policy Number – this is printed on the policy certificate provided by the insurance company to each traveller. Please have this noted carefully at a convenient location.
  • Toll Free Contact Numbers /Email ids of the Assistance Company (TPA) abroad – again this information is printed on the policy certificate, please have this also noted conveniently. Some insurance company TPA’s do not have Toll Free numbers across every country in the world, but offer an immediate call back facility to the insured. All these Assistance TPA’s are operational 24X7 and hence can be contacted at anytime.
If the insured has any of exigencies (see the below chart), they should immediately reach out to the Assistance TPA on the contact details provided and explain to them the nature of the exigency and support required. The Assistance TPA will then swing into action and ensure the traveller gets whatever support they need.

How does travel insurance work overseas

Further to the contact from the insured traveller, the Assistance TPA will provide the following support:
  • Medical Assistance - As soon as the Assistance Company is notified of a medical emergency resulting from an Accident or Sickness, they will contact the medical facility or location where the insured is located, confer with the Physician to determine the best course of action to be taken. If possible and if appropriate, the insured’s family Physician (in India) will be contacted to help arrive at a decision. The Assistance Company will then organize in securing the availability of services of a local Physician and arranging Hospital admission and monitor the insured whilst in hospital.
  • Medical Evacuation – When the Assistance Company’s medical panel, judges that it is medically appropriate to shift the insured to another location abroad for treatment or return the insured to India, the Assistance Company will arrange the evacuation, through appropriate mode of transport
  • Repatriation – They agree to make the necessary arrangements for the return of the insured’s mortal remains to India in the event of the unfortunate death of the insured whilst abroad and while this policy is in effect.
  • Legal Assistance - If the insured is arrested or is in danger of being arrested as the result of any non-criminal action against charges attributed to the insured, the Assistance Company will, if required, provide the insured with the name of an attorney who can represent the insured in any necessary legal matters.
  • Lost Luggage or Lost Passport - If the insured, outside India, notifies the Assistance Company that the insured’s luggage or passport has been lost, the Assistance Company will assist the insured by contacting the appropriate authorities involved and provide direction for replacement.
  • General Assistance - The Assistance Company will serve as a central point for translation and communication for the insured during emergencies. The Assistance Company agrees to provide the insured advice using services available from consulates, government agencies, translators and other service providers that can help with travel problems.
  • Pre-Departure Services - prior to the insured’s departure, the Assistance Company can provide hazard information about foreign locations, information about immunization requirements and passport or visa requirements, general information about weather at locations of travel. The Assistance Company will also arrange for special medical care en-route (i.e. dialysis, wheelchairs, etc.) if required.
  • Emergency Travel Agency - the Assistance Company will also provide the insured with 24 hour travel agency service for airline and hotel reservations. The Assistance Company will also arrange payment for the insured’s airline tickets and other travel services, using the insured’s credit cards. Prepaid ticket pickup at airline counters or ticket delivery by mail or courier will also be arranged by the Assistance Company.

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