Travel, be it domestic or international, always comes with uncertainties and risks. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the stakes have increased going on trips without
travel insurance has become riskier. Travel insurance provides financial protection if unexpected situations come up during the trip. More people now realise the importance of having a travel insurance plan. However, with so many insurance products available to meet the needs of different customer groups, it could be difficult to choose the right policy. When choosing a travel insurance policy, you may come across
student travel insurance, senior citizen travel insurance,
Schengen travel insurance and more such plans. It is essential to check various aspects such as what the insurance policy includes, excludes, and so on when looking at different products.
Travel insurance inclusions
What the travel insurance policy includes is perhaps the first thing most people consider. Most travel insurance policies usually cover:
Loss of passport
During an international trip, your passport is the most crucial document. If you lose your passport, the insurer reimburses you for the expenses incurred to obtain a fresh or duplicate copy.
You may have to shell out extra for accommodation or rescheduling your travel plans if there is a flight delay or cancellation. The insurance plan covers these expenses, in addition to those arising from extensive stays because of medical emergencies.
Permanent disability or death
If you become permanently disabled or pass away due to an accident during the trip, the travel insurance policy compensates your family.
Loss or delay in the arrival of baggage
If there is a delay in the arrival of your baggage, the insurance plan will reimburse you for the amount spent on purchasing essentials until you receive the luggage. Moreover, if you lose your luggage, the insurance policy compensates you for that too.
What travel insurance does not cover?
Most people usually focus on what the travel insurance policy covers, but not on its exemptions. The exemptions or exclusions of the insurance policy are just as crucial and typically include:
Travel insurance policies do not offer coverage for pre-existing health conditions. However, the definition of a pre-existing medical condition may differ from insurer to insurer. Most insurance providers define a pre-existing condition as one the policyholder has had for at least 48 months before purchasing the insurance policy. Simply put, the insurer will not pay for any expenses caused due to a pre-existing condition.
The insurance provider will not pay for any injuries or hospitalisation caused due to self-harm or suicide attempt.
While the insurance policy offers coverage for emergency dental treatment required after an accident, it is unlikely to do so for routine dental care. However, the insurer may have a specific clause about this. It is a good idea to check the policy document before filing a claim.
Travel insurance policies usually do not cover mental illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder. If you are travelling to receive treatment for any such mental disorder, the travel insurance policy will not pay for the expenses.
Medical treatment-related travel
If you are travelling overseas to undergo a medical procedure, the insurer will not cover your costs. Travel insurance policies are meant for emergencies and do not pay for planned hospitalisation.
- Pregnancy and childbirth
Most domestic and international travel insurance policies exclude coverage for pregnancy and childbirth. You may, however, get compensation for pregnancy-related complications. Check with your insurance provider about this clause if you plan to travel during your pregnancy.
Many insurance companies do not pay for any injury or damage caused when participating in adventure sports such as bungee jumping, skydiving, snowboarding, and the like. Some insurers let you purchase an add-on at an additional premium for such coverage. If you plan to perform adventure activities, plan them carefully or buy the necessary add-on cover.
Poor weather conditions
Travel insurance does not cover poor weather conditions limiting activities during a trip. While the insurance plan covers flight delays or cancellations resulting from bad weather, it will not reimburse you if you cancel participating in an activity due to heavy rainfall or other weather condition.
- Health conditions due to illegal activities
Travel insurance policies do not cover any health issues caused due to consumption of banned or intoxicating substances. For instance, if you sustain injuries during the trip because of driving under the influence of alcohol or other such intoxicating substances, the insurance policy will not pay for your treatment.
Unless any last-minute changes made by the travel operator lead to complete curtailment, travel insurance will not cover any cancellation expenses caused by similar modifications. You can contact the operator to receive compensation.
- Voluntary visits to accident-prone areas
Travel insurance usually covers any losses resulting from natural calamities. However, the insurance policy will not cover any losses caused because you travelled to an area known to be vulnerable to natural disasters or travelled despite the concerned authority issuing a warning about the occurrence of a calamity.
While your travel insurance policy provides coverage for baggage loss, not everything inside your luggage is covered. Travel insurance typically exempts jewellery, hearing aids, cash and the like from such coverage. In some cases, the insurance policy may cover a few items to a specific limit. If you plan to travel with multiple electronic devices or other expensive belongings, be careful because the coverage may not suffice.
Things to remember when comparing travel insurance policies
Comparing the various travel insurance policies available in the market will help you in making an informed choice and picking an insurance plan with better features. You must keep these points in mind when comparing travel insurance policies:
- Know your requirements and compare plan types meeting those needs. For instance, think about whether you want a single-trip insurance plan for a short tour or a multi-trip one because you travel frequently.
- Always look at the number of exclusions. You want an insurance policy with as few exemptions as possible to get maximum coverage.
- Stay within your budget be careful about the add-on covers you choose as they increase the premium. Only get those add-ons that will benefit you. For instance, if you plan to participate in adventure sports, get add-on coverage for it, but if you are sure you are not going to perform any such activity, this add-on cover would be useless.
The travel insurance policy you choose should fulfil your needs, so do not just enrol in any insurance plan. Go through the policy features, exemptions, and terms and conditions carefully before signing up for a travel insurance policy.