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Why you MUST buy travel insurance

Last updated on: December 23, 2010 17:10 IST

Why you MUST buy travel insurance

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Daisy Fernandes

It doesn't take a lot to insure yourself before you take that big trip to the Swiss Alps or anywhere else for that matter.

It's the holiday season once again. Snow clad peaks and silver sand beaches calling! While you buckle up and gear on for the oncoming holiday season let not unforeseen and unwanted emergencies like lost baggage or lost passport, flight delays or medical emergencies be dampen the festive mood.

Travel insurance is a must have for the globetrotter. And with most companies offering you online booking facilities and a less than 24-hour turnaround time for policy dispatch, all it needs is a click of a button.

Insurance companies offer travel insurance packages for a single trip covering a typical yearly holiday that you would be taking. For frequent fliers there is a multi-trip insurance that saves you the effort of having to purchase insurance for every trip you take. The typical validity for a multi-trip insurance is one year.

Usually the insurance plans are available for individuals from 1 year to 70 years of age. However, some companies also offer special plans to cover individuals in the age of 71 to 85 years.

While there are a plethora of plans offered by life insurance companies, typically the following key features are covered under most plans:

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Illustration: Dominic Xavier


Image: You never know when you'll need a travel insurance cover

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Any medical exigency during travel also burns a hole in your pocket

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Medical Contingencies

While most of us have a comprehensive health insurance cover to take care of our medical needs in India, for any medical exigency while travelling overseas will end up not only ruining the holiday but also burning a big hole in your pocket.

Travel insurance will offer you medical assistance through emergency numbers, the plan will also pay for in-patient and out-patient hospitalisation and in some cases provide a daily allowance in case the hospital stay exceeds more than the specified period.

If you need to be immediately evacuated to India, the insurance cover provides for the emergency expense and in case of an unfortunate death, the cost of repatriation of mortal remains is also covered.

Most policies also cover dental treatments like tooth filling or surgical treatment in case of acute pain.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh


Image: Travel insurance will offer you medical assistance and also pay for hospitalisation

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Among other things these policies also reimburse loss of passports

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Loss of belongings

The policy covers you for loss of your passport, one of the most prized possessions in your travel wallet. The policy reimburses the loss of passport by reimbursing the cost of obtaining a fresh or duplicate passport.

If your baggage is delayed or lost in the course of travel, the insurance policy reimburses you with all the essential expenses.

If your trip is delayed, cancelled, interrupted or even if you miss your connecting flight the policy compensates for the additional expenses incurred.

Illustration: Uttam Ghosh


Image: Were you to misplace your belongings, a travel insurance will provide a safety net

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If your plane is hijacked, expect a special distress allowance

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Other benefits

The other benefits of a travel insurance policy are third party liability coverage, emergency cash in case of theft etc.

You are paid a special distress allowance if your plane is hijacked. Some policies also cover you for loss of possessions due to a burglary at home while you are on your holiday.

You are not covered if any expenses incurred directly or indirectly in respect of travelling against the advice of the physician; for obtaining treatment; pre-existing ailments and complications arising out of them; suicide or attempted suicide; war; terrorism; illegal acts; dangerous sports etc.

Typical premium charges for a Rs 1 lakh policy in case of a single round trip for an individual in the 1-70 year bracket with the basic features comes to around Rs 700.

It is marginally expensive if the travel is to US/Canada and the same premium cost will come to Rs 900.
It is always required that your read the policy documents very carefully before making a choice of the plan and the premium

Travel insurance is designed to protect your health, belongings, and your financial investment in your trip, for you and your family. Have a good holiday!

For more information on travel plans, you can visit the General Insurance company websites. A few links are provided here for more information on the various plans and the premium charges.
www.icicilombard.com
www.tataaiginsurance.in
www.reliancegeneral.co.in
www.bajajallianz.com

Illustration: Dominic Xavier

The author, Daisy Fernandes has a Masters in Management from SP Jain, a Banker by profession and currently pursuing CFP certification.


Image: You are paid a special distress allowance if your plane is hijacked

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