Travel insurance has not yet been important enough in India. It is still not a common product. In the West,however,the penetration and the awareness of travel insurance is so high that almost no one takes a trip without a travel insurance policy.
With higher disposable incomes and cheaper airfares,travelling abroad has become increasingly common. But not everyone in India buys travel insurance and that too in a country where every year over 4.8 million people travel abroad.
Even travellers who understand the importance of travel insurance,buy policies without knowing the details such as what is covered and what is excluded. It is important to understand a travel insurance policy and read the fine print before buying one.
A travel insurance policy is mainly issued for overseas travel,at least in India be it for a vacation,business trip or studies. It can be purchased for a single trip or multiple trips within a specific time-frame. It is gaining enormous importance because travel insurance policies pay for medical expenditure that might be incurred in a foreign land. This is the primary cause for the popularity of travel insurance policies in the West,where medical expenses are very high. Initially it was for losses that one might incur while travelling from one place to another. But later the focus shifted mainly to medical expenses while travelling. Other important features of travel insurance policies are: compensation for lost or stolen checked-in baggage,delayed baggage,trip cancellation or interruptions,flight delays or missed connection,compensation for transit expenditure,compensation for loss of passport,legal assistance,hijacking and emergency evacuation and repatriating remains upon death abroad.
Some more features may be available in a typical travel insurance policy. It might also include some optional benefits like accident cover,dental cover,cover for pre-existing ailments,senior citizen benefits,frequent flier discounts,travel to high risk countries or locations,kidnap and ransom insurance etc. These benefits would be available at an additional premium and would vary on a case to case basis. Most travel insurance policies are customised according to the persons requirements.
Travel Insurance usually seems like an extra expenditure when you have already spent so much on a travel abroad,especially since most of the events seem unlikely. However,imagine being in any of these situations like loss of passport or missing a connecting flight or loss of checked-in baggage,were to happen to you on a trip,then how handy a travel insurance policy would be! So,spending a small amount,in comparison to your overall expenses of your trip,for peace of mind it isnt a big deal,is it?
Author is VP,MyInsuranceClub.com