Travel insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers the risks associated with traveling. It can cover up the costs of trip cancellation, baggage loss, medical expenses, and other losses. It can be for losses during domestic or international trips.
Defining Travel Insurance
Travel insurance, as the name suggests, is an insurance product. It is a kind of General Insurance. It is useful protection against unforeseen damage and financial for those traveling domestically or abroad. Travel insurance covers up the following losses:
- Baggage loss/Loss of personal belongings
- Theft/burglary of bags or personal belongings
- Loss of passport
- Trip cancellation or delays
- Medical urgencies/Accidents
- Death of the insured person
- Disability of the insured person
- Emergency evacuation
- Missed connection/departure
- Bounced airline/hotel booking
Things To Remember
One should check the travel insurance policy to ensure what costs are covered. At times, there may be coverage for more risks than those mentioned above. Many travel insurance plans offer additional risk coverage with add-on premium payments. Some travel insurance schemes are specific to the traveler or to the destination place one is traveling to.
Types of Travel Insurance
Travel insurance policies can broadly be categorized as Domestic Travel Insurance Policy and International Travel Insurance Policy. Most of the time, insurance companies offer a travel insurance policy for a single trip while booking the trip. But one can go for policies that cover multiple trips. The travel package selling companies are usually the ones who offer such policies. At times, insurance companies are in tie-ups with companies/websites/apps on which you book the tickets. Below we discuss types of travel insurance:
- Single Trip Travel Insurance Policy – This is a one-time travel insurance policy specific to one particular trip
- Multi-Trip Travel Insurance Policy – Those who travel frequently should go for a cost-effective travel insurance policy. It covers you for multiple trips to certain destinations over a long duration like maybe for an entire year. This is useful for businessmen and other frequent flyers
- Educational Travel Insurance Policy – Students who go on educational trips, especially abroad can have the benefit of this type of travel insurance policy. There is usually a set limit for the duration of the trip like it can be a maximum of 30 or 45 days
- Group Travel Insurance Policy – When there are too many travelers, they can go for a group travel insurance policy. There is a maximum limit of persons that group insurance policies cover. For instance, HDFC Group Travel Insurance Policy covers 7 people. Insurance providers usually have such offers when there are trips and tours of groups picked up from various places/nations. This also depends on the age of the persons in a group. However, it is a cost-effective travel insurance policy if traveling in a group
Customized Travel Insurance Policies
Apart from these, there can be specific or customized travel insurance policies by insurance companies. It can be specifically for senior citizens or families. They can create customized policies as well, like Medical Travel Insurance Policy which extensively covers medical costs. Similarly, customized Corporate Travel Insurance Policies can be advantageous for corporates and businessmen.
Benefits of Travel Insurance
Travel insurance policies cover up several costs as mentioned earlier. However, some of the major benefits that these policies provide are:
- Luggage Benefits – The travel insurance policy covers the costs of baggage loss. It could be the cases of loss, burglary, or theft. These policies may cover the loss of bags, passports, important documents, cash, or any personal belongings. Also, during an emergency evacuation or any other mishap, the luggage costs can be protected
- Cancellation/Delay Benefits – If there is cancellation or delay in the trip due to any unforeseen reason. It could be due to weather conditions, strikes, or any other cause. Travel insurance companies will reimburse the costs in such cases. They will also provide some alternative benefits like access to toilets, clothing, or food. Also, when you cancel or delay the trip due to any emergency, you can be reimbursed for the costs if you are insured under a travel insurance policy
- Medical Benefits – This policy covers up medical fees and hospitalization charges. It is for the expenses that incur when there is any medical emergency, illness, or injury during traveling. It covers the costs of hospitalization, ambulance, and certain others. Travel insurance providers arrange for cashless hospitalization in impaneled hospitals. In case of death or disability of the insured, you can claim the reimbursement for medical costs or hospitalization as well
- Alternative Benefits – There are certain benefits like customized policies for travelers especially frequent travelers, groups, or senior citizens. Their coverage requirements may be different from others. Hence the general travel insurance policies may not suit them. Some insurers provide the customized travel insurance policies
The above-mentioned benefits are the major coverages that the travel insurance policies provide. However, these are subject to the terms and conditions of each policy of the insurer. Check the T&Cs thoroughly.
There are certain cases when the policies do not provide coverage, often termed as ‘exclusions’. Some of these exclusions can be as mentioned below:
- When you are high on liquor or drugs, you lose your baggage or hurt yourself under the influence. The insurance provider will not bear the luggage or medical costs
- It covers medical costs but not that of the Ayurvedic, homeopathy, and cosmetic surgeries related costs
- Policies do not cover pre-existing diseases/illnesses/health problems. Most of the insurers don’t cover up for HIV-related issues. Also not if you are traveling against medical advice
- No coverage for self-inflicted injury, suicides, or indulgence in adventure sports
- No coverage if you lose your passport, luggage, or belongings by yourself if you left them unattended. Also, if you shipped your baggage separately, the travel insurance policy does not cover that
- There is no coverage when one is traveling to prohibited/uncovered destinations. These are usually war-prone regions. For example, if it is under a civil war or suffers due to a terrorist attack
Wrapping it up:
Travel insurance policies will vary as per the provisions of the coverage and exclusion (what is not covered). They may have additional benefits as well. It also depends on whom the coverage is provided (individuals, groups, students, senior citizens). It is important to read the policy, all terms and conditions, and disclosure statements. Also, compare different travel insurance policies by various providers before buying one. It is always better to go for exhaustive coverage that provides high financial protection. However, you must check the premium to be paid. There are many sites where you can check and compare the policies and buy them at your ease in a swift manner.