Foreign Vacation— A big smile might have already come on your face after reading this word. After all, holiday is the best time to revive your senses and wave goodbye to ‘routine’ life. Oh yes, it is the time to ditch your diet plans as well! Moreover, if it is a foreign location, happiness knows no boundaries.
So, when a holiday is enough to spell magic in your life, why would you not buy a travel insurance? After talking about fun, pleasure, and enjoyment, suddenly I am talking about travel insurance—have I gone crazy? No, I am not but believe me, you will go mad if you meet with an accident, lose passport/luggage, miss a flight, or have to deal with similar unforeseen situations, which can happen. Yes, I know what I am saying— which can happen even when you are vacationing! So, without taking away the excitement from your holiday, here are some quick tips to choose the best travel insurance policy:
- Check the medical coverage: The most important element of any travel insurance policy is the medical coverage. You would not want to land up in a foreign nation without sufficient medical cover, as you may unfortunately fall sick or meet with an accident. Above all, in countries like the USA, UK, Australia, etc. medical costs are very very high and a situation of hospitalisation can derail your entire budget. So, it is essential to know that the medical coverage available under a travel insurance plan is at the optimum level. In addition to cover, also check whether the provision for medical evacuation is available or not. Medical evacuation stands for the provision of transporting a policyholder to the home country in case of any unfavourable medical situation.
- Be sensible about the deductible: It is the amount that a policyholder has to pay before a travel insurer settles the claim. If for instance, you have a claim of Rs 80,000, and the deductible is Rs 10,000, the insurer will make a payment of Rs 70,000 only. Though by setting the deductible high, you can get cheaper premium rates, it may defeat the entire purpose of buying the insurance. What is the use of having a travel insurance policy if you have to bear a major portion of the loss?
- Go with multi-trip travel insurance policy if you are a frequent traveler: If your yearly calendar is always blocked with three or more overseas trips, then getting a multi-trip or annual travel insurance policy that covers the entire year’s travel is likely to cost you much lesser as compared to purchasing single-trip plans.
- Choose type of travel insurance prudently: If you are travelling alone, go with an individual travel insurance policy, else buy a family travel plan if going with family members. It goes without saying— family travel insurance plans are cheaper than individual policies.
- Be truthful about age limits and pre-existing ailments: Many travel insurance plans, particularly those which offer cheapest premium rates, will not insure people above the age of 65, irrespective of how fit and healthy they are. Most of the travel insurance plans also exclude pre-existing ailments. So, for instance, you have a previous history of heart ailments and you suffer a cardiac arrest during vacation that requires hospitalisation, the insurer will not cover you. So, refrain from hiding your medical details and answer all questions honestly. Some insurers may agree to cover certain ailments in exchange of extra premium.
- Have a clear understanding of adventure sports: Most of the travel insurance plans exclude activities like scuba diving, horse riding, bungee jumping, etc. from their coverage. So, either go for a suitable travel insurance policy specially designed for adventurous activities, or pay extra premium to get these activities covered under a normal policy.
- Avoid buying insurance from airlines: The insurance offered by airlines is expensive, as some cost goes towards the airline company. Moreover, airlines will not offer coverage in case of flight delay or cancellation just before departure. At times, insurance from airline companies will just cover your flight and nothing else. However, a travel insurance policy offered by insurance companies is comprehensive and affordable. As you can buy travel insurance online, the insurer saves on the administrative costs, which are then passed on to policyholders in the form of cheaper premium rates. Further, a travel insurer offers wide coverage with respect to medical expenses, dental treatment, personal accident, total loss of check-in baggage, loss of passport, etc.
- Check the exclusions: I am sure, you don’t want to face a situation where the insurer rejects your claim because it falls under the exclusion list. For instance, some travel plans cover loss of jewellery, electronic devices and cash while others don’t. So, it is in your interest to understand what is NOT covered under a travel insurance policy. Some events like venereal diseases, sporting activities, depression, plastic surgery, addiction to drugs, alcohol, etc. are not covered by the insurer. So, choose an insurance policy that comes with minimum exclusions.
Buy a suitable travel insurance policy after reading the policy document carefully to ensure that you take a friendly companion a.k.a travel insurance for the trip and not a nagging and an unfaithful person!