Who’s got your back when you travel?

Travelling off to a land far far away 
And no one to watch your back when things go awry
For a cost totally it’s worth, get insured in your travels
For it is better to be safe than sorry
Detailed meticulous planning for your next vacation with flights booked, tour guides sorted through, foreign exchange collected from Fxkart.com and activities and hotel stays planned through and through. Till we are the true masters of our own fate, this plan has a tiny flaw. Pure bad luck, unforeseen fog causing flight delays, ankle sprain in your rock climbing adventure, you getting off at your destination but your luggage going off to the next destination are to name a few scenarios to jolt you out of your holiday mood. It is not uncommon to come across missing and stolen luggage, accidents, natural disaster and more common these days are man-made disasters like hijacking and terrorist activities. In a foreign country to get lost in a series of unfortunate events is just a disaster. Be smart and get insured.
I have medical insurance in my home country… Why should I pay extra for travel insurance?
Travel insurance takes into coverage more than just medical emergencies. Missing luggage, a flight delay that resulted in you missing your connecting flight, cancellation of trip are all covered. And in case you are hospitalised due to an injury or illness many policies give a daily allowance for petty costs such as meals, transportation and telecommunication. Travel insurance is medical insurance and more. Even a global health insurance policy is not a replacement to travel insurance.
Ok great..So I wanted to take my father abroad for a bypass surgery. Travel insurance will take care of that, right?
Travel insurance takes into account unforeseen circumstances and mishaps requiring medical assistance. Not pre-planned medical tourism. So if you want to go abroad for medical purposes or just get a nose job before flying back, you are on your own. Travel insurance is not a replacement for health insurance and vice versa. And it is most definitely not an open ATM to cater to all your expenses abroad!
Types of travel insurance
Not all travels are the same and neither should all travel insurances be. If you fly frequently as maybe the case with regular business trips or if you are working in a different city and frequent back to your hometown to meet family, then you should go for multi trip travel insurance. Multi trip travel insurance as offered by certain companies are valid for one year with no renewal policy and for the next year a fresh policy needs to be purchased. Whereas in some companies year on year renewal is possible for multi trips travel insurance. There are travel insurances catering to domestic flights and to international flights separately. The coverage offered for international flights is broader and includes hijacking, natural calamities, emergency airlift operations in case of natural disasters and wars.
In addition there are corporate travel insurance packages offered to companies for their employees as well as senior citizen insurances. For your child studying abroad a student travel insurance policy is ideal as it has wide coverage in terms of medical expenses and study interruptions.
For your vacations and leisure holidays you could opt for a single round trip insurance or a family travel insurance if travelling with family. The single round trip comes in different packages with different premiums so you can go through the packages available and choose. Do not opt for the a policy that has a minimal coverage. For instance, you opt for a policy of 10,000 USD coverage. God forbid your motorcycle adventure turns into a misadventure and you end up in a hospital with a broken leg then rest assured your policy will manage to cover only the x-ray and blood test costs and maybe stretch to buy you the crepe bandage! Invest in a policy of a minimum of 100,000 USD coverage. Disasters don’t see your budget before knocking so make a wise investment in your travel policy. And add to the hospital bills rescheduling your flight and the special arrangements to be made to get back home. A travel insurance will surely be a huge relief in such God forsaken circumstances.
Buying the travel insurance
Now there are many policies out there in the market. Chose based on your need. If you are a frequent flyer for business then go for the multi trip plan. Tata travel guard has yearly renewable policy whereas with ICICI Lombard you have to buy a policy yearly.
The different available plans have different prices depending on the coverage.
For example an interesting feature I came across was Religare’s single trip Platinum policy and ICICI Lombard’s single round trip platinum plan having a compassionate visit option. On digging further I discovered that this amazing feature covers an economy class return ticket for a single friend or relative to pay you a visit if God forbid you are admitted for more than 5 days. Lodging and boarding will also be covered for your attendant. That seemed very compassionate of the policy issuers!
Religare has some unique features too such as doubling of sum insured in case of hospitalization due to accidents without additional costs. It has no upper age limit and no limit per ailment either. Also offered by Religare is business class upgradation if you are unable to fly economy class due to an injury.
Log on to policybazaar for comparing policies or you can call up the toll-free number listed on the policy issuer’s website to get details pertinent to your travel plans.
When do I purchase the travel insurance and how?
Most travel insurances can be purchased over the phone and the final window for buying one is right before departure. But it is advisable to book your tickets and get your insurance all done together.
A scenario where travel insurance would be a saviour is if your awesome family vacation falls through because your 5 year old kid comes down with a case of chickenpox two days before travel. This scenario covers two important aspects of travel insurance. The refund of your hotel, flights, connecting flights will be covered by the policy if such circumstances befell you and your family right before a travel. Another aspect here is that do not wait till the eleventh hour for purchasing your travel insurance because if your trip ends up being cancelled, you will miss out the opportunity to be covered by the insurance policy and incur great losses in the form non refundable tickets and hotel bookings.
Claiming the travel insurance
Always carry the policy documents with you on your travel. Email a copy to your nominee and keep a soft copy in your email inbox in case of loss of baggage or documents. You will be provided by your company with an emergency toll free number and an email to notify them of your emergency. The supporting documents need to be sent via fax or email to the insurer. Keep the original documents of the bills, police reports if any, hospital admissions receipts, identity cards and passport (with immigration stamps) with you. A personnel appointed by the insurer will survey your documents and process your claim.
Get insured for your subsequent travels and have an adventurous and insured summer!