Destinations for travel geeks in India are no more limited to just domestic points of interest as international destinations have surged these lists in the past decade. The UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) predicts that India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020.
As exciting as these times may be, tourists need to be more careful than ever while planning their trips abroad and make sure a comprehensive travel insurance policy is part of their checklist to avoid difficulties in a foreign land. Many of us think travel insurance to be an added cost. However, it can be a lifesaver if you lose your baggage, require hospitalisation or get caught in a terrible situation like a plane hijacking. Let's find out why it's essential for your trip abroad.
Medicals costs, including serious hospitalization and treatment, is something you least expect during a vacation. But if it comes to that, your travel insurance will be bear these costs up to the amount insured. While some visas like Schengen require you to mandatorily hold a medical insurance, many don't need it. Nevertheless you should get coverage, as medical costs in a foreign land can run into lakhs of rupees.
Make sure, however, to check exclusions. For instance, if you already have an illness when leaving the country, you will not be reimbursed for its treatment abroad.
This is probably the most preferred reason for travellers to opt for insurance. With low-cost flights and jam-packed air traffic schedules, cancellations and delays have become a common phenomenon. In order to get compensated for such woes, make sure you get a travel insurance that covers such costs. While most plans only pay for flights, some cover train and ferry delays and cancellations as well.
Loss of Belongings
Should you lose your passport, you will have to get a duplicate passport issued abroad and pay for it in the currency of the country you are in. These expenses, if covered by your insurance, will be taken care of by the insurance company. Moreover, if your baggage is lost or delayed and you are stuck with no clothes, you will be given an allowance in some plans and in case it is permanently lost, you will be compensated up to a specified amount.
Evacuation Costs In Emergency
Emergency evacuation can prove to be rather expensive in cases of serious medical help from remote locations or evacuation during natural calamities. In some cases, plans cover for evacuation during political instability as well but if you meet with an accident as a result of war or terrorism, it will not be covered.
Things To Keep In Mind
Before selecting the insurer, make sure you check some basic riders and keep in mind some of the following points:
- If you are travelling with family, you will have to get insurance for each family member. You can cover everyone under a group policy.
- Adventure sports, winter sports and 'dangerous activities' are usually the first exclusions in a standard travel insurance policy, although some may cover it at an added fee.
- Travel insurance will also not cover expenses of any kind for any country that has been advised by the government as a No Visit Zone or Danger Zone. The insurance companies will likely reject the application for insurance for such countries.
- Medical and evacuation costs may not be cashless and will be reimbursed when you return to the country after you produce the relevant bills.
- Always check which airlines and trains are excluded from the insurer's coverage.
- Online travel operators may bundle insurance with your ticket and hotel bookings. However, these are one-size-fits-all policies. They may or may not meet your actual insurance requirement. Always compare your options online before finalising the best one for your trip.
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