Learn all about travel insurance and why it's important

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Tapan Singhel Bajaj Alliance

Learn all about travel insurance and why it's important

It is that time of the year, full of holiday spirits and we are geared up to bring the new year with fun, frolic, and laughter. But the road to a good vacation is not paved smoothly always. Remember that memorable vacation by the McCallister family preparing to head to Paris for that family vacation (The Home Alone series) – where chaos thrived?

So, some basic checks, before you travel — tickets – double check, Visa – yes, Passports – yes, luggage – double check, children (!!) – sure, travel insurance – (???).

If you are wondering why you should get a travel insurance, you must first understand its significance and why you require it

Tapan Singhel, CEO of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, in an exclusive interview with ET INSIGHTS, decodes travel insurance that will help you to take an informed decision.

Now that the holiday season has begun, can you tell us what people should and shouldn’t do when travelling and what they should do?

The primary purpose of vacation and travel is to escape the humdrum of daily life and unwind. It revitalises our soul, makes us happier and helps us relax. Travel insurance plans assure you that if anything unanticipated were to happen during your trips, your insurance provider would take care of the expenses.

Do’s and Don’ts:
Your destination(s) will play a role in choosing the type of travel insurance coverage you should get. Before planning a trip, always check if travel insurance is a mandatory prerequisite for a forced visa application for your destination country.

Activities planned: Before engaging in potentially hazardous activities, you also should review the coverage provided by your policy. After making that judgement, you must evaluate and decide what kind of insurance you need, and then you should seek quotes from several providers and evaluate them side by side.

Deductibles: Check all of the coverages, their mum, and any deductibles, read the policy terms, and select which policy is the best fit for you before purchasing it.

Customisable insurance plan that is tailored to meet the needs of each individual because it is offered in a modular format.

Back-Up: One must keep the claims assistance toll-free and soft copies of documents handy while travelling.

Do not cancel insurance after visa approval: In case of international travel, in most cases, a travel insurance policy is just for the application purpose, and once the visa is received, they cancel it. In case of unfortunate events, a travel insurance plan can save you from unnecessary hassle and stress.

Lower the premium, lower the coverage: One must also try to avoid the premium comparison, opting for a lesser premium plan might have a possible drawback in terms of coverage or claims process. This must not be done at all, and people must check the list of insurers that are allowed and accepted in the destination country and your destination should be based on it.

What are the various categories of travel insurance available here in India?

Domestic and international travel insurance are two major kinds of travel insurance. If it is a business trip, then a basic travel plan which covers loss of baggage, passport, medical expenses, personal accident cover, etc. should be sufficient. For an adventure trip, you can opt for an add-on or optional cover, which covers risks arising out of adventure sports. For a family vacation, a family travel insurance policy cover that provides cover for hospitalisation, loss of luggage, trip curtailment, trip cancellation, burglary, etc. can be opted. While travelling abroad for studies, a student travel insurance can be opted cover for specific requirements of the university along with accident, hospitalisation, family visit expenses, incidental expenses, tuition fee, etc.

Carefully reading your travel insurance policy can help you understand how you are protected when away from home.

Is travel insurance policy different for domestic and international Travel?

Domestic Insurance is something that is characteristically not taken by the customers, and international is taken by the service provider, such as make my trip or the airline provider, something that classically comes as an attachment product because nobody thinks of purchasing it when travelling domestically, whereas when you travel internationally, it comes as a logistic extension in your brain when you are booking the tickets or planning the trip.

Domestic travel insurance does not cover costs related to sickness and medical costs typically, as they are already covered by your health insurance, which covers only the duration hours of the flight. Hence, if you do not possess health insurance, do include one in your policy.

International travel insurance: It must be specific to the countries you are travel. While travelling to multiple destinations, do add this to your policy and make it customisable. As a policy, it is designed specifically to protect you for the length of time you have chosen. It must cover medical, documents, and luggage cover. You need to be prepared for an eventuality like luggage being stolen, documents and money being lost, small accidents, incidents leading to loss of transfers, etc.

What are the most useful riders to take along with these policies?

Standard travel insurance policies are designed to include the most common coverages; medical coverage, additional add-ons available such as pre-existing illness coverage, transportation costs, family visit in the event of hospitalisation, overbooking, loss of personal items like a cell phone, laptop, iPad, e-reader, etc.

Senior Citizen: If you are a senior citizen, search for a waiver of the medical sublimit or pre-existing illness coverage or falling ill while you are abroad.

Sports/Adventure Travel: If you are travelling for professional sports, then sporting activity coverage is necessary. The base plan does not protect against the theft or loss of a mobile phone, laptop, or service cancellation for any reason.

You will be required to pay an extra cost to utilise these riders. A standard travel insurance plan covers all medical eventualities including hospitalisation and other incidental expenses at a fraction of the amount that would be otherwise needed and then allows you to select options to suit your specific travel insurance needs.

How much has the travel insurance industry increased, now with the recent surge of travel, and how do you see this part of the industry growing in further years?

There is a demand for travel insurance and the industry’s projected revenue for this fiscal year is more than Rs 1,000 crore The main driver of rising demand is increased cognizance of insurance following the COVID-19 outbreak. Insurance companies are also taking the lead in developing innovative products and services that make it simple to purchase policies and file claims.

In conclusion, get customizable travel insurance, with riders, and spend some minutes before to have a peaceful trip later. Bon Voyage!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members