Travel insurance: What to look for in your insurance policy?

Guest Blogger Susan Smith informs us about the importance of having travel insurance and how to zero in on the best policy as per your needs.

During a leisure trip to London last month, Jyoti Sinha, a 42-year-old teacher, met with an accident. She spent around 15 days in a hospital, which could have cost her a fortune given the spiraling medical costs in the city. But what helped her tide over financial crisis was a comprehensive travel insurance policy that she purchased before setting sail. The policy took care of her medical expenses, and all she had to do was to inform her insurer.

Vacation is the time to relax and enjoy. As Christmas is only a few days away, you must have already prepared your plans for your next vacation. While, you are soaked in a positive travelling spirit, travel insurance can make all the difference to your next journey. You can’t rule out the possibility of meeting with an accident or losing your passport or baggage during a trip. During these scenarios, a travel insurance policy can come handy.

But what exactly you should look for in a travel insurance policy? What are those situations when you should jump through hoops to contact the insurer and file a claim?

Mainly, we all know what travel insurance is: It is a specially designed policy to cover an individual from a myriad of travel related perils like loss of passport, loss of baggage, natural calamity, medical emergency, missed flights, etc. However, what we don’t know is that every travel insurance policy has two major components which you should look for – financial and assistance.

The financial component is what everybody is aware of, whereby you are covered against untoward circumstances. For instance, you meet with an accident during an overseas trip and go to a hospital; the insurance company will compensate your medical expenses. But there is an assistance component, which gives you a 24 hours’ service that you can avail during a troublesome situation. This assistance service can help you in many ways like organising a translator, suggesting nearby hospitals or simply arranging cash in foreign exchange in case you lose your wallet or baggage. Often, travellers don’t realise that a travel insurance policy has this important component, which arguably proves to be helpful in the panic situation.

A  travel insurance plays an inevitable role, and therefore, it is necessary to know what your emergency assistance service and other features look like. However, choosing the right travel insurance is not always an easy task. To get the right deal on a travel insurance, it is imperative to pay heed to the following fundamentals:

Things to Consider before Choosing the right Travel Insurance Policy for your needs

When even small things don’t go well

In case your luggage or phone gets stolen, it is necessary to document what exactly happened. When you return home, it is not as simple as saying, “my phone got stolen”, as the insurer requires a proof of it. It is necessary to get some verification, like a police report to corroborate the situation.

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Check out the policy coverage

Medical expenses while travelling can be a tedious task: An Indian citizen in the USA can find himself/herself in a tough situation if he/she is not insured. He/she will have to bear the high medical expenses because of the difference in the rates of the respective currencies. So, it is necessary to check the coverage limit which an insurer is providing. Also, it is essential to check the expenditure limit attached to your health insurance policy cover. If you are buying a cheap insurance policy, then you might have to incur expenses from your pocket because the promised coverage amount may be on a lower side.

Are pre-existing ailments covered?

If you have a pre-existing ailment, it is unlikely that your travel insurance will cover it. Most of the insurers do not cover pre-existing ailments and even those who cover it, charge high premium rates. However, if a pre-existing medical condition is preventing you from travelling, then it is worth finding out if you can buy a cover for that condition or not.

Single or multi-trip insurance policy?

Planning to go on three foreign vacations in a year? Get yourself a multi-trip travel insurance policy and make a huge saving. Don’t forget to check the number of days covered under the policy as some insurers offer the coverage for 45 days, while some secure up to 60 days at one go.

need travel insurance

Know the real value of your luggage before opting for a content cover

Imagine you are going to your friend’s place in London to surprise her on Christmas. You have bought some costly gifts for your friend, and this is where you need to pay some extra attention. Your content insurance policy cover should fetch the real value of your luggage in case of any loss, otherwise, the policy will be like ‘null & void’. Keep your eyes and options open and go for the policy that promises to compensate you for all the losses and damages caused to your luggage.

Check the cancellation process

When you alter your travel plans at the last minute due to any mishap, you need to take care of many things. You will be required to cancel your current bookings and make travel arrangements all over again if you plan to go later. These things can bother you and cause some financial losses. Therefore, it is necessary to choose a travel insurance prudently if you wish to secure yourself from all these situations. Have a comprehensive travel insurance to protect your travel interests.

Know the claim process

Remember, to settle your claim; you need to submit original documents. Also, if you have a pre-existing ailment, but you travel without a doctor’s consent, you can’t approach the insurer for claim settlement. Here are some of the important documents that you need to submit:

  • A form filled and signed by the overseas physician who has treated the insured
  • Medical reports, consultation papers, investigation reports
  • Original paid receipt in case of the claim reimbursement
  • Stamped copy of the visa
  • In case you lose your luggage, then submit the certified copy of the police report along with a photocopy of the passport

The Final Verdict

While at home, your life and health insurance policies will protect you against a variety of perils, not all of them cover individuals travelling overseas. So, if you are planning a trip anytime soon, don’t forget to include an international travel insurance in your travel plan instead of keeping it as an afterthought. Since each policy is different, it can carry different terms and conditions. So do check the policy wordings before proceeding to purchase the policy.

A vacation is the best time to relax and enjoy, and not worry about emergencies. So, make sure you are adequately insured to make the best of your journey.

Author Bio – 

Susan Smith is a ghost writer, curator, literature geek and author. She has several journals, articles and papers to her name. Writing is her passion. She writes about mostly all genres..

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