Have you booked your travel insurance yet?

Riken Mehta
Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Travel insurance cover comes at a very low premium of less than 0.1 per cent of the insurance coverage and less than 1 per cent of average international trip cost

This holiday season, plan your trip with travel insurance in tow

India has enjoyed the position of the world’s fastest-growing aviation market for some time now. Domestic air traffic has almost doubled in the last six years to reach 117 million passengers in 2017, from 59.87 million passengers in 2011. The number of flights taking off every hour in India was 100 in 2017, compared to 67 in 2011. However, the number of people opting for travel insurance has not kept pace with airline traffic growth.

As per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India, 2.3 million international travel insurance policies and 3.3 million domestic travel insurance policies were sold in FY17. Although the aviation and travel insurance policy data is not strictly comparable, we can infer that only 5 out of 100 travellers bought travel insurance policies in the past year.

Why opt for travel insurance?
Anita, an avid traveller, plans every minute detail of her trip well in advance, but she doesn’t feel the need to buy travel insurance. Some common worries that crop up in the minds of travellers while thinking of travel insurance are: it will increase the cost of my trip; I already have health and life insurance, so I’m well covered and lastly, do I even need one?

These worries, although common, are unfounded. Travel insurance should be a part of your travel plans as it is a comprehensive coverage plan to cover all unforeseeable events in a foreign land, and possible contingencies like loss of baggage or passport, medical emergency, delay in trip or cancellation to name a few. The cover comes at a very low premium cost of less than 0.1 per cent of the insurance coverage and less than 1 per cent of average international trip cost.

Travel insurance also covers the repatriation cost spent on bringing the mortal remains back to your home in case of death and also covers higher hospitalisation costs in dollar terms compared to your existing life and health policies denominated in Indian rupee which would not be sufficient to cover it.

Some insurers give travel insurance for individuals up to 80 years of age while there are a few exceptional insurers that do not have any age limit. However, travel insurance needs to be bought before the trip starts and it requires only a photocopy of your passport.

Types of travel insurance
Depending on the number of trips, there are two types of policies issued — Single Trip Policy and Annual Multi-Trip Policy. The former is advisable for one-time travellers as it covers up to maximum of 180 days. The latter is ideal for globetrotters or frequent flyers. Such policies allow travellers to take coverage and desired plan for multiple trips in a year where each trip ranges from 30 to 45 days. Following are the various types of travel insurance plans (TIP) available for travellers.

International TIP, Domestic TIP, Schengen TIP
As the name suggests, such types of plans cover travellers for international and domestic trips. Insurance companies make customised travel plans for different destinations. Schengen plans offer visa for maximum of 90 days when you are travelling to Schengen countries.

Corporate and Group TIP
These plans are best suited for employees who have to make several business trips around the globe. Group insurance plans come handy when you are travelling in a group of 20 or more with your friends and relatives.

Students, senior citizens
Student travel plans offer financial and medical support for students travelling abroad for studies. Senior citizens can also insure themselves for medical assistance and other facilities to make their travel stress-free.

Before you rush to purchase a travel insurance for your upcoming vacation, it would be advisable to have a look at what eventualities are covered by travel insurance companies. These vary across insurance providers and subscribers must read the insurance documents very carefully to understand the details. A few events covered by insurance companies are delay in trips or a missed flight, emergency medical expenses or medical evacuation, loss of baggage or personal documents, emergency dental expenses and accidental death or permanent total disability.

Happy holidays to you!

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