International travel insurance buying guide
Let us take a look at the types and details in a nutshell:
Types of travel insurance and why you need it- There are broadly two types of travel insurance, the first is a package plan and the second is travel medical insurance.
Why do you need insurance while travelling? Your flight may get delayed or cancelled, some costly equipment like camera may be stolen en route, the entire trip maybe cancelled, your luggage maybe lost, the travel agent may change the itinerary of the trip at the last moment and a host of other things that might impact your trip. A family member might get sick resulting in costly medicines and hospital visits, you might meet with an accident, all these and much more are covered in different kinds of travel insurance schemes.
Travel medical insurance– Travel medical insurance is specifically for any kind of medical emergencies and may or may not include other types, even if they do, it would be nominal. This kind of insurance is usually taken while travelling abroad since medical costs are very high there. Nowadays, travel insurance companies sometimes include compensation for Terrorist acts or attacks, which might result in some loss or delay in your trip. Check out for those.
Package plan– This kind of insurance includes all kinds of delays,emergencies,changes etc which a medical insurance wouldn’t cover.If you are travelling with a family, it would be wise to book a package plan, do check and compare with a few travel insurances before you finalize on which one to take. Even for solo travelers going on budget trips, it would be wise to take up some sort of travel insurance to meet exigencies. It is better to be prepared than be sorry.Usually a package plan includes medical insurance as well. Many companies have domestic travel insurance policies, overseas travel insurance policies and students travel insurance policies as well. Some of them don’t require you to undergo health check-up when you book such a policy. If you are travelling with your parents or grandparents, you might also get some amount of insurance for them under specific plans provided by these insurance companies. You can also book your policies online.
Check with your travel agent- Especially in case of group travel, ask your travel agent about travel insurance cover. Though travel agents can’t book insurances themselves, they may have tied up with insurance agents or could be providing the insurance as part of the package trip. Compare costs for sure.
Cost of insurance– The cost of insurance varies from 10-12% of the entire trip.
Special kinds of insurances– Various other kinds of insurance like backpackers insurance, winter holidays insurance etc. are available abroad that provide specialized insurances not available under normal cover.
Claiming insurance- Usually, these insurances need to be claimed, that is, you initially pay out of your pocket and then place the claims and get reimbursed on the amount. Try seeing if cashless facilities are available, also be sure to identify which places and under what circumstances and for what kind of activities such insurances would be null and void. Read the fine print in this case, it would be worth it.
Be sure to have everything in place, thought out, before you embark on that journey, that much awaited holiday. With the internet at your fingertips, planning is now a fun affair. Take part in the fun!
Travel Insurance – Our recommedation
Check policybazaar.com to compare insurance costs and benefits, in India. For people from other countries check out world nomads to buy insurance. Besides, you can also use comparethemarket.com for comparing insurance plans . In india, we have usually taken travel insurance from ICICI Lombard online without any hassel however do compare providers based on your specific needs.You have the cost saving option for groups or family traveling together as well as for students hence make sure you fill the details and carefully. Below are the things to remember before deciding on your insurance plan.
- A careful decision– Travel insurance can be bought easily online as well offline but important thing is not to buy an insurance in haste, the policy has to match your needs so first jot down what all you need to be covered.
- Amount & Extent of cover– The amount of cover and the extent of cover both are important. Abroad the medical expenses are too high and hence that should be taken into account before deciding the amount for yourself as well as for your family traveling along.A good policy should ideally offer at least $ 100, 000 in terms of medical cover
Second thing is check if the policy covers most common risks involved in traveling over and above medical exigencies.
- Trip delays/Cancellation/missed connections
- Loss of deposit made at hotels/Airlines
- Loss of passport, traveler’s cheque, tickets/documents
- Any financial emergency that may arise dur to theft,robbery or any unforseen circumstances
- Delay or loss of checked in baggage
- Personal Accident
- Daily support in case of hospitalization
- Personal liability or compensation to the third party in case of any loss , death or injury caused involuntarily.
- Home fire and insurance -cover for your abode while you travel
- Hijack distress, bail amount,legal expenses
- Emergency accomodation
- Exclusions– Do check what is not covered in the policy.
Always go with reliable companies/ brands– Policies are not for the sake of carrying a document, it is to help you when in need and hence going with reliable brands make a lot of sense to avoid any pain during the claim.Online reviews and IRDA published data can give you insight into how good is a company when it comes to settlements.
International Network – Go for insurance companies which have good international network if you are traveling abroad.
Family cover/Group insurance/Students– These are cost saving options.
Policy should be as per your usage so that you don’t pay for things you don’t need. Ask for custom plans if that saves you cost and gives you exactly what you need.