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Managing Travel Blues

Buy insurance to ensure a stress-free vacation. Here are some tips to help you choose a travel cover.

The World Tourism Organization says 23 million Indians travelled abroad in 2017. The figure is likely to rise to 50 million in 2019. Overseas vacation is becoming one of the most sought after aspirations of middle class Indians. Most people do elaborate planning before travelling abroad but ignore one crucial aspect - travel insurance. Bad fortune often strikes when it is least expected and, in a foreign land, dealing with any emergency can be a nightmare. Travel insurance can take care of the financial impact of such mishaps.

If you are travelling to a European country or USA or Canada, having travel insurance is a must. However, there are many countries which offer Indians visa on arrival and have not made purchase of travel insurance mandatory. People going to these locations generally try to avoid the extra cost of travel insurance. However, a travel insurance policy can make your vacation a stress-free experience. The premium, too, is not huge compared with the big relief it offers.

Medical Benefits: If your family or group member faces a medical emergency, the cost could be heavy and often unbearable, especially in a foreign country. "A treatment which costs 40,000 in India will cost more than 5 to 10 times at many overseas locations," says Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer and Co-founder, "Protection against medical emergency should be one of the most compelling reasons for people to buy travel insurance when they are going abroad" says Mathur.

To get assistance for a medical emergency, keep the toll free number handy. "The policy holder has to call the toll free number. Assistance is provided immediately. We have overseas claim settlement agents who provide help in getting the person admitted to the nearest hospital and also organise shifting of the patient to the hospital," says R. Kannan, Executive Director (Claims), IFFCO Tokio General Insurance. "In a network hospital, this is cashless. However, in a non-network hospital, the insured person will have to file a claim to get reimbursed for the expenses. This claim can be made even after returning," he adds.

Losses And Delays: In case of loss of passport, you have to call up the toll-free number provided by your insurer. It will inform you about the procedure and help you get a temporary passport which will allow you to complete your stay. The cost incurred in doing so will be reimbursed by the insurer. "The insured has to intimate his/her loss to the registered assistance service provider (ASP). In the next step, documents shall be forwarded to the ASP, including copy of the FIR for passport/baggage loss or confirmation report from the common carrier authority (property irregularity report) in case baggage was checked in," says Sanjay Datta, Chief - Claims, Underwriting and Reinsurance, ICICI Lombard General Insurance. In case of long flight delay, the insurer pays all food and accommodation related expenses.

Trip Cancellation: If you have to cancel the trip due to an unavoidable reason, you will incur a loss due to hotel and flight cancellation charges. A travel insurance plan can offer you relief in such a case. "Trip cancellation due to reasons like death, accident or illness is covered. When the insured person cancels the trip, he has to incur cancellation charges on travel and hotel bookings, so we reimburse cancellation charges on actual basis" says R. Kannan.

Student Travel: The number of students going abroad is rising each year and their need is quite different from other travellers. They need protection during travel and also during their long stay. "Student travel products are designed after considering the requirements of overseas universities. Covers for things like study interruption, sponsor protection make student travel insurance unique from other travel insurance products," says Datta of ICICI Lombard General Insurance. The cover typically comes with annual validity.

You should check the exclusions while buying the policy as there are restrictions on the numbers of hours when it comes to flight delay coverage. Also, processing of the baggage delay claim may start only after three days. A travel plan can only be bought before the travel begins, so it's better not to wait till the last minute to buy one.


Published on: Apr 15, 2019, 10:25 AM IST
Posted by: Renu Yadav, Apr 15, 2019, 10:25 AM IST