Traveling abroad is becoming increasingly popular in India. People are now heading off to new lands in search of employment or for an unforgettable vacation. Whatever the purpose, you rarely come across a person who has been abroad and wants to forget the whole experience. If you do, chances are they either fell ill or had their luggage stolen, or had some other misfortune fall upon them while they were abroad. This, in turn, would have started a chain reaction of unfortunate incidents which would have ended up burning a big hole in their pockets and caused them to return to India, grumpy and considerably poorer.
The problem in these cases was probably that they didn’t have adequate health or travel insurance cover, which meant that they would have had to shell out massive amounts of cash to deal with the situation. Before you go cancelling your travel plans just read through these questions and see if you learn something that could help you out.
Q. Do I need insurance when traveling to another country?
A. If you are traveling outside the country, you should seriously consider getting a travel insurance plan. You should also consider getting a health insurance plan that will cover medical treatment outside India.
Q. What form of insurance should I take, travel or health?
A. The best thing would be to take both because either one of them, individually, won’t provide as much cover as the two could when put together. For example, health insurance won’t cover lost luggage and travel insurance may not cover certain ailments.
Q. How much cover do I need?
A. You can decide your insurance cover based on the destination you choose. When you say destination, you need to consider, in the case of travel insurance, the worst case scenario and what it might cost you to get back if that was to happen. There are also some visa’s for which you need a predefined minimum amount of travel insurance. With health insurance, the cover will be higher than what you take in India because of the cost of medicine and the currency exchange rates are higher in some places outside India.
Q. What is the difference between health and travel insurance?
A. Travel insurance is meant for protecting you against unforeseen circumstances while travelling outside the country. It protects you against eventualities like loss of luggage, evacuation, missing flights, etc. Health insurance covers only medical concerns which include the cost incurred in hospitalization, nursing care, consultation etc.
Q. Do I need these to get a visa?
A. Yes, to be able to apply for a visa to certain countries, you need to be in possession of valid insurance issued by a recognised insurer. You might want to check that countries list of approved insurers before buying the policy.
Q. What is covered by travel insurance?
A. Some of the major eventualities that travel insurance covers are:
- Loss of luggage due to it being stolen or damaged
- Missing a flight (in case your travel plan calls for taking multiple flights)
- Emergency evacuations.
- Funeral expenses.
- Travel delays or trip cancellations.
- Medical emergencies arising from accidents or illness.
The actual list of covered eventualities will depend on the insurer.
Q. What will be offered by overseas health insurance?
A. With the recent revisions in insurance laws coming in, there are some significant changes that will take place in the health insurance industry. The biggest of them is that health insurance companies will now offer health insurance policies that will extend cover beyond India’s borders. So far, not many insurers provided this option. But now they may offer health insurance products that give you:
- Higher sum insured.
- Comprehensive cover.
- Options to take overseas health insurance as an add-on or and independent policy.
- In-patient expense cover.
- Immediate emergency medical care for certain periods.
- Planned hospitalisation abroad.
- High sum insured will get options for lump-sum payments.
Q. How much will travel insurance or overseas health insurance cost?
A. Travel insurance premiums will depend on your destination, age, the sum insured and type of insurance you want (single travel or multiple travels) to purchase. But these plans are not too expensive. Overseas health insurance premiums may be a bit high because the sum insured may be increased to cater to the cost of medical treatments in other countries. It is also dependent on the sum insured and any add-ons selected by you.
The simple fact is that if you are covered by adequate amounts of insurance, you don’t have to worry about things going wrong. All you have to worry about is how annoying your fellow passengers on the flight will be.
Additional reading: Purchasing Travel Insurance