Going on a trip is a joyous experience for all. You get to take a break from your routine life and relax. You also get to bond with your loved ones as you spend some quality time with them. Moreover, the thrill of exploring new places is also exhilarating. That is why everyone loves to travel and a vacation is planned with great excitement and enthusiasm. But what if your perfectly planned trip goes awry.
Uncertainties cannot be predicted. What you believe to be a relaxing holiday can become stressed when any unforeseen emergency strikes you. When that happens, you not only get mental stress but financial stress too. When you are travelling to an unknown place and if you face unexpected contingencies, finding help in an unknown land might prove difficult. Moreover, it would also incur additional financial expenses which might overshoot your travel budget and cause a financial strain. Would you be able to handle the strain yourself? What about emergency medical hospitalisation abroad? Would you be able to meet the expensive costs from your own pockets?
Travelling is fraught with risks and that is why a travel insurance plan is recommended to cover your trips. Though the plan is essential to cover your trips, many of you don’t understand the concept of travel insurance and that is why you don’t invest in the plan. So, let’s understand what travel insurance is all about and why it is essential.
History of PLI India Post
The concept of Postal Life Insurance was first floated in the year 1884 when the Secretary of State to Her Majesty approved life insurance schemes for the employees of the post office. In the year 1888, the scheme expanded its scope and covered the employees of the Telegraph department as well. Later on, in the year 1894, female employees in the Postal and Telegraph departments were also covered under PLI which was a first in the history of insurance.
PLI India Post is the oldest life insurance company in India. Initially, the plans offered under Postal Life Insurance provided coverage of up to INR 4000 only. However, in recent times, the limit has increased. Nowadays, you can enjoy coverage of up to INR 50 lakhs in aggregate under different types of post insurance schemes.
What is travel insurance?
A travel insurance policy is one which covers the financial losses that you might suffer when you are travelling. Travel insurance plans cover you for the duration of your trip and help you meet with financial emergencies that you might face on such a trip.
Features of travel insurance
Here are some notable features which you can find in travel insurance policies –
Types of travel insurance plans in India
In India, you can find the following types of travel insurance policies for your travels –
These plans cover trips taken abroad. International travel insurance plans can also be further sub-divided into countries that they cover. There are plans which cover all countries except the USA and Canada and then there are those which cover all countries including USA and Canada. You can also find a specific plan for Asia, Japan and Schengen countries.
Contrary to international travel insurance plans, domestic travel insurance plans cover trips taken within India itself. You can travel anywhere in India and buy a domestic travel insurance plan for covering your travel risks.
Student travel insurance plans are those which cover students who are travelling abroad for higher education. These plans have some specific coverage benefits for such travelling students.
As the name suggests, senior citizen travel insurance plans are meant to cover senior citizens (individuals aged 60 years and above) when they are going on a trip.
Single trip travel insurance plans cover one trip for a specified number of days.
Annual multi-trip plans are those travel insurance plans which cover multiple trips taken within a year. If you are a frequent traveller, buying single trip travel insurance plans might prove expensive and inconvenient. In such cases you can invest in an annual multi trip travel insurance plan which would cover all the trips that you take within a year.
Individual travel plans cover a single individual and/or his family members travelling with him/her on a trip.
Group travel insurance plans are those which cover a group of individuals under a single plan. A group travel insurance plan can be taken by companies whose employees frequently travel for business. Similarly, a tour operator can also buy a group travel insurance plan for a group of people travelling on a package trip.
What is covered under travel insurance?
There are different travel insurance plans available in the market and each plan has a different set of coverage benefits. However, all travel insurance plans have some common coverage benefits which are also called standard coverage benefits. These benefits include the following –
|Emergency medical expenses||If you are injured or if you fall sick when you are travelling and you are hospitalised, the travel insurance plan would cover the costs of such hospitalisation and pay your medical bills|
|Repatriation of mortal remains||This covers the cost of sending the remains of a dead body if the insured dies while on the trip|
|Loss of baggage||If your checked in baggage is misplaced by the airline and it is lost, the policy would cover the financial loss that you would suffer|
|Delay of checked-in baggage||If there is a delay in receiving your checked-in baggage, the travel insurance policy would pay you a claim so that you can buy items of personal use which your bag contained|
|Third party legal liability||If, while on the trip, you damage someone’s property or hurt an individual physically, you might have to pay a financial compensation for the damages that you have caused. This compensation is also paid by the travel insurance policy|
|Loss of passport||If you lose your passport on the trip, the policy pays you the cost of arranging a duplicate one|
|Hijack distress allowance||In case of a hijack, the policy pays a benefit for the distress that you suffer|
|Trip cancellation||If your trip is cancelled due to unavoidable reasons, the costs incurred in pre booking hotels and travel tickets are reimbursed|
|Accidental death or disability||If you suffer accidental death or disability when travelling by air or when you are on the trip, the policy pays a lump sum benefit|
Other coverage benefits
Travel insurance plans provide a comprehensive scope of cover which ensures that most of your financial losses are covered. That is why, besides the above-mentioned standard coverage benefits, you would find some of the below-mentioned benefits too under many travel insurance plans –
While trip cancellation covers the cancellation of your trip before it begins, trip curtailment covers cutting short an ongoing trip due to unavoidable emergencies.
Under this cover a daily allowance is paid if you are hospitalised during your trip. This benefit is paid along with the medical insurance coverage that you get for your hospital bills.
If you are taking connecting flights and if you miss such flights due to unavoidable reasons, coverage is allowed for the loss that you incur.
Under this benefit, the return ticket for a family member is arranged if you are hospitalised on your trip and your family member wants to visit and check on you.
If you lose your wallet and or money while travelling due to theft or robbery, this cover provides cash advance to you so that you can meet your travel related expenses.
Unique coverage benefits under student travel insurance plans
Student travel insurance plans allow all the standard coverage benefits along with some of the above-mentioned coverage benefits to students travelling abroad. Moreover, these plans have some unique coverage features which are especially designed for students. These coverage benefits include the following.
If the student gets arrested in an international country, the travel insurance policy would cover the cost of posting a bail.
If the student’s study is interrupted due to illness or injury which takes time to recover, the travel insurance plan would cover the tuition fee incurred during the interrupted period.
If the sponsor of the student, who finances the student’s international education, dies or becomes disabled, this benefit covers the student’s cost of tuition and pays the tuition fee In place of the sponsor.
Exclusions under travel insurance plans
While the above-mentioned coverage benefits make travel insurance plans quite comprehensive in their scope of coverage, the plans also have a set of exclusions which are not covered. If you make a claim which is because of the exclusion, the claim would be rejected. Commonly found exclusions in travel insurance plans are as follows –
Optional coverage benefits under travel insurance
Optional coverage benefits are those which are not inbuilt in the coverage of the plan but can be taken by paying additional premiums. Travel insurance plans also offer different types of optional covers some of which are as follows –
If your home is burgled while you are away on a trip, the benefit covers the loss that you suffer.
While pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage, many travel insurance plans allow coverage for such conditions on the payment of additional premiums.
If you are taking a vacation and plan to engage in adventure sports, you can inform the insurance company of your intentions. Many companies, then, allow coverage for injuries suffered when engaging in adventure sports if you pay additional premiums.
If you have to extend your trip due to unavoidable reasons, this benefit would cover the costs incurred on such extensions.
If you choose this optional cover, the coverage benefit payable under accidental death and/or disablement would be enhanced.
Why travel insurance is a must?
It is always recommended that you insure your trips under a travel insurance plan. The reason is the assistance which travel insurance plans provide. Here are some benefits which you can get from travel insurance plans which make the plans a must buy –
Medical costs are pretty expensive and when you are travelling to an international country, the costs multiply manifold. A travel insurance plan covers these costs and ensures that you don’t suffer any financial contingency due to illnesses and injuries suffered when travelling.
When you are travelling to an unknown country and you face contingencies you can be assured that your travel insurance plan would come to your assistance. This makes travel insurance a friend in foreign lands and ensures a smooth trip.
Though you might be excited to go on a vacation but a sudden illness or death in the family might put a dent in your plans. In such cases you incur huge losses on pre-booked flights and hotels. Travel insurance plans cover these costs and help you financially in such dilemmas.
Schengen countries have mandated a valid overseas medical insurance plan when you are travelling there. So, if you are travelling to any Schengen country, buying a travel insurance plan becomes mandatory.
The best thing about a travel insurance plan is that you can insure all your family members under the same plan if they are travelling with you. Thus, a single plan allows coverage for your whole family and allows risk-free travelling.
Losing your wallet and cash is quite common and this loss proves quite expensive. By advancing emergency cash, a travel insurance policy helps you out financially when you have no one to turn to.
Given these benefits, you should insure your trip under a suitable travel insurance plan and safeguard your travels.
How to buy travel insurance plans?
You can buy travel insurance online or offline. Offline policies are bought through travel insurance agents or through the branches of insurers. On the other hand, you can buy travel insurance online directly from your home or office by visiting the website of the insurance company or an insurance aggregator. The process to buy travel insurance online or offline is as follows –
The insurance company would then assess the application form, verify the documents submitted and issue the policy once the premium is paid.
Best travel insurance companies in India
To buy the best travel insurance plan for your trip, here are some of the best companies which you can consider –
|Name of the company||Types of travel insurance plans||Salient features|
Top #10 Things to remember before buying travel insurance
Though buying a travel insurance plan is quite simple, thanks to the online mode, and you also have the list of best companies to buy the plan from, you should do your research before buying a travel insurance policy. There are certain things which you should keep in mind before buying the policy to ensure that you invest in the best and the most suitable travel insurance plan. These aspects which you should remember are as follows –
How to make a claim under travel insurance plans?
Knowing the claim process of a travel insurance policy is necessary so that you know how to make a claim when you suffer a contingency. So, here’s the process in brief –
Documents required for making a claim?
Documentation plays an important role in getting the settlement of your insurance claims and travel insurance is no different. You would have to submit the following documents for your travel insurance claims –
A travel insurance plan provides a good scope of coverage at very low premiums and should not be given a miss. It is always better to insure your trips so that those unforeseen contingencies do not cripple you financially. By parting with a small amount of money in premiums you can buy peace of mind knowing that if any misfortune befalls you while you are on a trip, the travel insurance policy would come to your rescue.
Schengen countries are a group of European countries which do not require multiple visas to visit. In these countries, there is a single jurisdiction for international travel. There are 26 countries which are Schengen countries which are Belgium, Denmark, Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Estonia, France, Germany, Iceland, Hungary, Greece, Lithuania, Malta, Italy, Liechtenstein, Sweden, Luxembourg, Spain, Netherlands, Slovakia, Portugal, Slovenia, Switzerland, Poland, Norway and Latvia.
Under many coverage benefits under travel insurance plans, there is a deductible limit. This limit is the limit up to which the policy would not pay any claims. If the loss is more than the deductible, the claim would be payable. For instance, in case of delay of baggage, there might be a deductible of 12 hours. This means that if the baggage is delayed for more than 12 hours you can make a claim under your policy.
Yes, except medical insurance benefit, all coverage benefits are covered up to specified limits.
Most travel insurance plans have a maximum entry age. If your parents are within the entry age limits of your travel insurance plan, you can get them covered. If not, you would have to buy a separate travel insurance policy for them.