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Get a health cover and have a relaxed holiday

Last updated on: December 17, 2010 17:02 IST

Get a health cover and have a relaxed holiday

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Neha Pandey in Mumbai

A travel policy is not enough as most domestic ones do not provide health cover.

Fifty-year-old Manju Prasad is busy packing for her week-long leisure trip to Shimla, planned during the end of this month.

And, she believes she should have travel insurance, going by her and her friends' and relatives' past experiences.

"But my husband insists that I first get a health cover," laments the Indore resident. "Even travel insurance policies cover some health risks. Then, why should I buy a health cover unnecessarily?" asks Prasad.

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Typically, domestic travel insurance policies provide accidental death and disability benefits, and medical evacuation (arrangements for the evacuation and transportation of the insured, in case of a medical emergency).

Other benefits include missed departure, trip delay, ticket and/or baggage loss.

On the other hand, a health insurance policy is a comprehensive plan, which covers expenses arising out of hospitalisation.

Only overseas travel plans cover hospitalisation, apart from travel-related risks.

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Opting for a health cover

Karan Chopra, head (retail business), HDFC ERGO, says, "While travelling abroad, a health cover is the most important and it is part of the travel insurance. But most domestic travel policies do not provide this cover, hence a health cover becomes important."

The biggest risk while travelling within the country is death, disability or medical expenses due to an accident.

The risk can be covered by taking personal accident and health insurance plans.

Coverage under both put together is broader as compared to domestic travel insurance, because the costs are high, say insurance experts.

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In Prasad's case, she should first buy a health insurance cover, as she does not have one. More so, if she is a high blood pressure and heart patient.

Ideally, everyone should have a health insurance cover, especially those who have dependants and/or are above 35 years.

Individuals below 35 years should have a health cover of at least Rs 2 lakh, Rs 3-4 lakh for 35-45 years and Rs 5 lakh for those above 45 years. The premium outgo will increase with your age, as the health risks increase.

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Family floater policies

A family floater plan also serves the purpose, if you are travelling with your family.

Experts advise taking individual health plans for family members who are between 45-50 years, as health risks are high.

The highest sum of insurance offered by a family floater plan is Rs 10 lakh. If you want to increase the cover, top-ups are available for up to Rs 10 lakh.

But remember, family floaters are priced according to the age of the oldest family member.

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The higher the age of the oldest family member, the higher will be the premium payout. Therefore, younger families (where the senior-most member is below 45 years) should opt for family floaters.

A personal accident cover is complimentary to the health cover, and insures you against the biggest threat - accident (including OPD) - which can happen to anyone, as most working individuals travel a lot," says Rahul Agarwal of Optima Insurance Brokers.

The sum insured for personal accident should be 100 times your monthly income, or at least 60 times if you find the premium to be expensive.

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When you compare the costs, health coverage is more expensive than travel cover, as the latter is a short-duration plan (maximum 30-45 days).

The in-built personal accident cover also lasts for the same period.

But having a health policy is useful, and the premium paid for medical insurance is deductible from your income up to Rs 15,000 a year, under Section 80D of the Income Tax Act.

Travel insurance cover premiums across companies are in the range of Rs 100-1,000, varying with the plan.

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Mostly, travel cover is a bundled product, comprised of many coverages put together (personal accident, burglary, etc).

According to Agarwal, sometimes travel insurance cannot be bought off the shelf, as insurers may have tie-ups with airlines or travel portals.

"A cover for travel-related risk is equally important. The traveller will be reimbursed for missing the flight/train or loss of luggage," says Kartik Jain, head marketing and direct, ICICI Lombard.

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ICICI Lombard offers travel insurance, in association with Jet Airways called Jet Protect, where the premium ranges between Rs 100-300, adds Jain.

You might opt for travel insurance despite having a health insurance cover to play it safe.

Any gadget such as a laptop or a camera that you are carrying on your holiday will not be covered by the travel policy.

That can be covered under a home insurance policy that extends to travel, both domestic and international.

 



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