Are you a travel junkie? Do you live vacation to vacation? Do you buy some random travel insurance only because some countries have it as a visa requirement?
You could be doing it all wrong. And there is nothing worse than a well - deserved vacation going kaput. So let's see, what can go wrong when you are traveling outside India?
You could fall and break some bones, you could fall ill, you could fall in love, your ignored tooth-cavity could spring a nasty surprise, you could get mugged or lose your cards /cash /traveller's cheques, or worse you could lose your passport, your baggage might still be in New Delhi while you are in Istanbul, you could get stuck in a coup (yeah it happened in Thailand), you could drop your beer bottle on someone's head and get sued... really really morbid, don't wanna say it - but you could meet the maker in some exotic foreign land.
This is not even half the list. But there's only so much grief you can write about in one go.
Here are 6 things you should know about Travel Insurance. It's the most boring part about planning a trip, but what's boring could become interesting when you realise it could make the difference between life and...you know, the opposite of life.
Buy Travel Insurance. No really, even if the visa requirements don't say that. It's extremely cheap. For a 15 day trip to the US - you would pay approximately Rs.1,000-1,500.
Check Medical Coverage
Every travel Insurance product has an in-built medical cover for the duration of the trip. Take a higher medical cover if you are going to the US, UK , Australia etc. - where emergency medical costs could burn a hole through your pocket the size of the Incredible Hulk. Most other features of travel insurance don't usually impact the price of getting your trip insured. The extent of medical cover should be decided by which part of the world you're heade
Compare things that are Important
Most travel insurance plans are very similar in terms of features. But check the ones that matter. For eg. ICICI Lombard's base Travel Insurance offers $500 for baggage loss as against a $250 offered in Royal Sundaram Travel Insurance base plan. Baggage loss is quite probable - go for a product which has higher limits. A few hundred rupees extra could well be worth it.
Travel Insurance plans also have Hijack Cover and give you a per day allowance for every day you remain hijacked! How much allowance is applicable in a hijack is something you can give a miss. Surely, there are much bigger things to panic about.
So check for baggage loss, baggage delay, missed flight connections, passport loss, medical cover etc. Things that are common travel pains.
Trip Cancellation or Interruption
Let's say just before embarking, you or your travel partner were to fall ill. Or the country you are going to has been struck by horrible weather. In this case, you could get a fixed sum from your travel insurance. It won't reimburse all the hotel and flights in full - but it could take care of or help with the cancellation charges you might need to bear. Good feature to look for, if your trip looks risky for some reason.
Emergency Assistance Services
What's worse than not having Travel Insurance? Having it and not knowing what to do in an alien land ? You've lost your cash, passport or there is a medical emergency. All travel insurance companies will provide you with emergency contact numbers across the globe. International numbers for emergency services are listed with your policy or you can just pick it up off their website. Keep the India contact number and International contact numbers handy.
What you don't get compensated for?
Accidental injury while you're bungee jumping, white water rafting? Sorry, not paid. Adventure sports is a strict no-no from an Insurance point of view. Right now in India, travel insurance products don't cover injuries sustained due to your need for an adrenalin rush.
Also, If you've been advised not to travel by a doctor, your insurance won't cover you.
Parting thought - It takes 5 minutes, a few clicks and a little bit of money to make your travel safer, smarter and stress free. You can buy these products online without any paperwork. So do yourself a favor, when you are browsing 5 websites for the cheapest fares - spare 5 more minutes to make sure your holiday is memorable for the right reasons.