Imagine you have planned a dream vacation to a foreign country. You have booked your flights, accommodation, and activities in advance. However, on the day of your departure, your flight gets canceled due to bad weather conditions, and you are forced to delay your trip by a day. This delay causes you to miss your connecting flight and you have to pay for an additional night at a hotel. Without travel insurance, you would be responsible for covering the cost of the hotel and the new flight. This can add up to thousands of dollars and can put a significant dent in your travel budget. However, with travel insurance, you would be covered for such unexpected expenses, and you can enjoy your vacation without worrying about the financial burden of unexpected travel mishaps.
In terms of statistics, the travel insurance market in India is estimated to reach the US1.5 billion mark in 2023 (Source). If you want to understand how travel insurance works before buying a policy, you’ve come to the right place.
What is Travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides coverage for financial losses that may arise during a trip. In India, travel insurance is particularly important for individuals traveling abroad for leisure or work-related purposes, as it provides a safety net against a range of unexpected situations that may arise during their journey.
Travel insurance in India typically covers medical expenses, trip cancellations, flight delays or cancellations, lost or stolen baggage, and emergency medical evacuation. Medical expenses covered under travel insurance can include the cost of hospitalization, surgeries, doctor’s fees, and medication, among others. In addition, travel insurance can also provide coverage for personal accidents, repatriation of remains, and legal expenses.
You should also know that:
- In India, travel insurance policies are offered by both public and private insurance companies, with varying coverage options and premiums.
- Some international travel insurance policies may have additional features such as adventure sports coverage, coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, and coverage for terrorism-related incidents.
- Travel insurance is not mandatory for individuals traveling abroad, but it is highly recommended to ensure that they are protected against unforeseen events that can disrupt their trip and cause financial stress.
- Comparing travel insurance policies offered by different insurance providers is highly advisable to choose a plan that best suits your needs and budget.
Importance of Buying a Suitable Travel Insurance Plan
Buying travel insurance plans is important for several reasons:
Protection against medical emergencies
Medical emergencies can occur anytime, anywhere, and can be extremely expensive, especially when traveling abroad. Travel insurance plans provide coverage for medical expenses, including hospitalization, surgery, and emergency medical evacuation, ensuring that you receive the necessary medical care without worrying about the financial burden.
Trip cancellations or interruptions
Travel plans can be disrupted due to unexpected events such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or political unrest. International travel insurance provides coverage for trip cancellations or interruptions, ensuring that you are not left stranded in a foreign country or forced to incur additional expenses.
Lost or stolen luggage
Losing your luggage can be a major inconvenience, especially when traveling abroad. Travel insurance provides coverage for lost or stolen luggage, ensuring that you are reimbursed for the value of your lost items.
Travel insurance plans can provide coverage for personal liability, which means that you are protected against legal expenses that may arise if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property while traveling.
Peace of mind
Traveling can be stressful, especially when unexpected events occur. With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are protected against unforeseen circumstances that can disrupt your trip and cause financial stress.
Features of a Travel Insurance Plan
The primary features of travel insurance policies can vary depending on the insurance provider and the specific plan you choose. However, here are some of the most common features that you can expect from a travel insurance policy:
- Medical coverage: This feature provides coverage for medical expenses that may arise due to illness or injury while traveling. It may include hospitalization, emergency medical evacuation, and medical repatriation, among other benefits.
- Trip cancellation and interruption coverage: It implies coverage for non-refundable travel expenses in the event of trip cancellation or interruption due to covered reasons such as illness, injury, natural disasters, or other unforeseen events.
- Baggage coverage: This feature provides coverage for loss, theft, or damage to your baggage or personal belongings while traveling.
- Personal liability coverage: It means coverage for legal expenses that may arise if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property while traveling.
- Emergency assistance services: This feature provides access to emergency assistance services such as 24-hour medical and travel assistance, emergency cash transfers, and legal assistance.
- Pre-existing medical conditions coverage: Many travel insurance plans may offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, subject to certain terms and conditions.
- Adventure sports coverage: Several travel insurance policies may offer coverage for adventure sports or activities such as bungee jumping, scuba diving, or skiing, subject to certain terms and conditions.
In addition to these primary features, travel insurance policies may also offer additional benefits such as travel delay coverage, rental car coverage, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage. It is important to carefully review the policy terms and conditions to understand what is covered and excluded in the policy, and to choose a plan that best suits your needs and budget.
Types of Travel Insurance Plans
There are several types of travel insurance plans that Indians can buy, depending on their specific travel needs and preferences. These include:
This type of policy provides coverage for a single trip and is ideal for individuals who travel occasionally or for a short duration.
These travel insurance plans provide coverage for multiple trips within a specified period, usually up to one year. It is ideal for frequent travelers who need to take several trips within a year.
This policy is designed for students who are traveling abroad for higher education. It provides coverage for medical expenses, personal liability, and other travel-related risks.
This type of travel insurance policy provides coverage for families traveling together. It typically includes coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellations, and baggage loss, among other benefits.
These policies are designed for senior citizens traveling abroad. It provides coverage for medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and other travel-related risks.
Corporate or business travel insurance policies are designed for employees traveling on business trips. It typically includes coverage for medical expenses, trip cancellations, and personal liability, among other benefits.
This type of policy is mandatory for individuals traveling to Schengen countries in Europe. It provides coverage for medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation, among other benefits.
Domestic travel insurance
These policies provide coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and baggage loss or theft while traveling within the country. It is designed for individuals traveling within India and offers protection against unforeseen events that can disrupt your trip and cause financial stress.
Group travel insurance
This type of travel insurance plan provides coverage for a group of individuals traveling together, such as family, friends, or colleagues. It typically includes coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and baggage loss or theft and can be a cost-effective way to protect everyone in the group against unforeseen events that can disrupt the trip.
It is important to carefully review the policy terms and conditions to understand what is covered and excluded in the policy and to choose a plan that best suits your needs and budget.
Interesting Read: What is a Travel Insurance Premium Calculator?
List of Insurance Companies Offering Travel insurance in India
The following list covers travel insurance companies in India:
- ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company
- Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company
- HDFC ERGO General Insurance Company
- Tata AIG General Insurance Company
- Reliance General Insurance Company
- Future Generali India Insurance Company
- Bharti AXA General Insurance Company
- Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company
- SBI General Insurance Company
- New India Assurance Company Limited
- National Insurance Company Limited
- Oriental Insurance Company Limited
- United India Insurance Company Limited
- Royal Sundaram General Insurance Company Limited
- IFFCO Tokio General Insurance Company Limited
- Liberty General Insurance Limited
- Digit Insurance
- Edelweiss General Insurance
- Go Digit General Insurance
- Acko General Insurance
**This list is not exhaustive and there may be other travel insurance companies operating in India.
When to Choose a Travel Insurance Policy?
An individual must choose a travel insurance policy when he/she is planning to travel, especially if it involves international travel. Travel insurance provides financial protection against various unforeseen events that can occur during travel and can disrupt your trip, causing financial and emotional stress. Some of the reasons why you must consider buying travel insurance are:
- Medical emergencies can occur at any time, and without travel insurance, the individual may be responsible for paying expensive medical bills.
- Additionally, trip cancellations or delays can cause a significant loss of money, especially if the individual has paid for non-refundable expenses like airfare or hotel bookings. A travel insurance plan can help to recover these expenses.
- Furthermore, baggage loss or theft is another common issue faced by travelers, and it can cause a significant financial burden. With travel insurance, the individual can be reimbursed for lost or stolen items.
From Where Should You Buy Travel Insurance in India?
You can buy travel insurance in India from several sources, including:
Insurance Company Website
Most insurance companies in India offer travel insurance plans on their websites. You can visit their website and choose the policy that best suits your needs and budget.
Online Insurance Aggregators
There are several online insurance aggregators in India, such as Policybazaar, Coverfox, and BankBazaar. These platforms allow you to compare travel insurance policies from different insurance companies and choose the one that suits your requirements.
Many offline travel agents also offer travel insurance policies to their clients. They can provide you with details about the policies available and help you choose the right one for your trip.
How to Buy a Travel Insurance Policy in India?
Given below are the steps to buy travel insurance in India:
Do some research to identify the different travel insurance policies available in India. You can visit the websites of insurance companies or use online insurance aggregators to compare policies and select the one that best suits your needs.
- Choose the coverage
Decide on the type of coverage you need for your trip, such as medical expenses, trip cancellations, baggage loss, or other specific needs.
- Provide travel details
Enter your travel details, including your destination, travel dates, and the number of travelers, if you are purchasing a group policy.
- Review the policy documents
Carefully review the policy documents to understand the coverage, exclusions, and terms and conditions of the policy.
- Provide personal details
Fill in your personal details, such as name, address, and contact information.
- Make payment
Pay the premium amount using a debit card, credit card, net banking, or any other payment method provided by the insurance company.
- Receive policy document
Once you have completed the payment, the insurance company will send the policy document to your registered email address.
- Print the policy document
It is recommended to print a copy of the policy document and keep it with you during your travel.
It is important to buy a domestic or international travel insurance policy well in advance of your travel dates to ensure that you are covered for any unforeseen events that may occur during the trip.
Tips to Buy Travel Insurance in India
Here are some tips to select travel insurance in India:
Frequency of travel
If you are a frequent traveler, consider buying an annual travel insurance policy instead of purchasing a separate policy for each trip. This can be a cost-effective option and save you time and effort in purchasing insurance each time you travel.
The type of travel insurance policy you choose may depend on your destination. If you are traveling internationally, make sure your policy provides coverage for medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation of remains. If you are traveling to a country with a high risk of theft or crime, look for a policy that provides coverage for loss of personal belongings or theft.
Consider the coverage provided by the policy and ensure it meets your needs. For example, if you are planning adventure sports activities during your trip, make sure the policy covers such activities. If you have pre-existing medical conditions, ensure that the policy provides coverage for any medical emergencies arising from your condition.
Carefully review the policy documents and understand the exclusions. Some policies may not provide coverage for certain activities or events, such as war or natural disasters. Make sure you are aware of any exclusions before purchasing the policy.
Reputation of the insurance company
Consider the reputation of the insurer before purchasing a policy. Look for reviews and feedback from other customers who have used the company’s services.
Compare travel insurance policies from different insurance companies to find the one that best suits your needs and budget. Use online insurance aggregators to compare policies and select the one that offers the most comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price.
Check the customer support offered by the insurance company. Ensure that they have a 24×7 customer support team to assist you in case of any emergencies or queries.
By following these tips, you can select a travel insurance plan that provides you with the right coverage and peace of mind during your travels in India or abroad.
Eligibility Criteria for Buying Travel Insurance in India
The eligibility criteria for buying travel insurance in India can vary depending on the insurance company and the type of policy. However, here are some general eligibility criteria that apply to most travel insurance policies:
- Age: The minimum age for purchasing a travel insurance policy is usually 18 years, and the maximum age may vary from 70 to 85 years depending on the insurance company and the type of policy.
- Citizenship: Most travel insurance policies are available only to Indian citizens or those who are residing in India.
- Travel destination: The eligibility for travel insurance may depend on your travel destination. Some insurance companies may not offer coverage for countries or regions that are deemed high-risk or are subject to travel restrictions or advisories.
- Purpose of travel: The purpose of your travel can also impact your eligibility for travel insurance. For instance, if you are traveling for work or on a business trip, you may require a different type of insurance policy than if you are traveling for leisure.
- Pre-existing medical conditions: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you may be required to provide additional information or undergo a medical examination before purchasing a travel insurance policy.
It is essential to check the eligibility criteria of the insurance policy before purchasing it to ensure that you meet all the requirements and are eligible for coverage.
Common Myths Related to Travel Insurance Plans
There are several common myths related to travel insurance that people believe, but they are often not true. Here are some of the most common myths related to travel insurance:
- Travel insurance is expensive:
This is a common myth that often deters people from buying travel insurance. However, travel insurance policies are usually affordable and can provide comprehensive coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unexpected events.
- Travel insurance coverage provided under credit cards is enough:
While some credit cards may provide limited travel insurance coverage, it is often not comprehensive enough to cover all possible risks and events. Moreover, the coverage provided by credit cards may have limitations and exclusions that can result in inadequate protection.
- Young and healthy individuals don’t need travel insurance:
No matter how young or healthy you are, you can still face unexpected events while traveling, such as accidents, illness, or loss of baggage. Travel insurance provides coverage for such events and can help you avoid costly medical bills or other expenses.
- Travel insurance is not needed for domestic travel:
Domestic travel insurance provides coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unexpected events that can occur while traveling within India. Therefore, it is always advisable to have travel insurance, regardless of whether you are traveling domestically or internationally.
- Travel insurance claims are difficult to process:
While the claims process for travel insurance may seem daunting, it is usually a straightforward process. Most insurance companies have a 24×7 customer support team to assist you with your claims and guide you through the process.
It is essential to debunk these common myths related to travel insurance to understand the importance of having adequate protection during your travels.
Why Should You Buy Travel Insurance Online?
There are several reasons why you should consider buying travel insurance online:
Buying travel insurance online is a convenient option as you can compare policies, premiums, and coverage from the comfort of your home. You can also purchase travel insurance at any time, as most insurance companies provide 24×7 online purchasing options.
Buying travel insurance online is usually more cost-effective as insurance companies offer discounts and special offers for online purchases. Moreover, online insurance policies eliminate the need for intermediaries, which reduces the cost of the policy.
- Easy comparison
When you buy travel insurance online, you can easily compare different policies, their features, benefits, and premiums. This helps you make an informed decision and choose the best policy that suits your requirements and budget.
- Faster processing
Online travel insurance policies are usually processed faster as there is no need for paperwork and intermediaries. You can receive your policy document instantly via email, and the policy can become effective immediately.
- Secure payment options
Online travel insurance providers use secure payment gateways, ensuring the safety and security of your financial transactions.
What to Consider While Buying a Travel Insurance Plan?
When buying a travel insurance plan, there are several factors that you should consider to ensure that you get the right coverage and protection for your trip. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
- Coverage: Make sure to carefully review the coverage offered by the travel insurance plan. Look for coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, trip interruptions, baggage loss, and other potential risks. It is also important to check the policy’s exclusions and limitations to make sure you understand what is and is not covered.
- Destination: Consider your travel destination when choosing a travel insurance plan. Some countries may require specific types of coverage, such as medical evacuation, and may have different coverage limits or exclusions.
- Duration of travel: Check the duration of coverage offered by the travel insurance plan to ensure that it covers the entire length of your trip.
- Pre-existing conditions: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, make sure to check if the policy covers them or if you need to purchase additional coverage.
- Premiums: Consider the premiums charged by the travel insurance provider and whether they are affordable and within your budget.
- Customer service: Look for a travel insurance provider that offers good customer service and support. Check their reputation, reviews, and ratings to ensure that you are dealing with a reliable and trustworthy provider.
- Policy terms and conditions: Carefully read the terms and conditions of the policy to understand the coverage and any restrictions or limitations. Make sure to ask questions if you have any doubts or concerns.
By considering these factors, you can choose the right travel insurance plan that provides the necessary coverage and protection for your trip.
What is Not Covered Under Travel Insurance?
While travel insurance provides coverage for a wide range of risks and contingencies, some situations and events are generally not covered by travel insurance plans. These include:
- Pre-existing medical conditions that were not declared at the time of purchasing the policy or for which coverage was not purchased as an add-on.
- Travel to destinations with a high risk of political unrest, war, or terrorism.
- Intentional self-harm or injury caused by engaging in high-risk activities, such as extreme sports or illegal activities.
- Mental or emotional disorders, unless they result from an accidental injury or are covered under a specific policy.
- Pregnancy-related expenses beyond a certain gestational age, typically 26-32 weeks, depending on the policy.
- Any loss or damage to items that were not carried by the insured during travel.
- Expenses related to elective or cosmetic procedures, or medical treatments that are not considered medically necessary.
- Any expenses incurred due to alcohol or drug abuse.
It is important to read the policy terms and conditions carefully and understand what is covered and what is not covered under the chosen plan. If you have any doubts or questions, it is best to clarify with the insurer before purchasing the travel insurance policy.
How to Calculate Travel Insurance Premiums?
The travel insurance premium calculation is based on several factors, including:
- Destination: The location of your destination is a key factor in determining the premium. Different countries have different levels of risk, and insurance companies may charge higher premiums for destinations that are considered to be high-risk.
- Duration of travel: The length of your trip is another important factor in determining the premium. Longer trips may require higher premiums to cover the increased risk of potential mishaps.
- Age of the insured: The age of the insured is another factor that may affect the premium. Generally, older individuals may have to pay higher premiums due to increased risk.
- Type of coverage: The type of coverage you select can also affect the premium. Basic plans that cover only medical emergencies may be less expensive than comprehensive plans that cover a wide range of risks and contingencies.
- Pre-existing medical conditions: If you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you may have to pay a higher premium or purchase additional coverage.
- Add-ons: Additional coverage options, such as coverage for high-risk activities, may increase the premium.
To calculate the premium, you can use the online travel insurance premium calculator available on the insurer’s website. Alternatively, you can contact the insurer directly and request a quote based on your specific travel plans and requirements. It is important to compare the premium and coverage offered by different insurers before selecting a policy.
How to Reduce or Lower Travel Insurance Premium?
Here are some tips to lower or reduce your travel insurance premium:
- Opt for a higher deductible: The deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before the insurance coverage kicks in. Opting for a higher deductible can reduce your premium amount.
- Compare multiple policies: Research and compare travel insurance policies from different providers to get the best deal. You can use online comparison tools to easily compare coverage and premiums from multiple providers.
- Choose a basic plan: If you’re looking to save money, choose a basic travel insurance plan that covers only the essentials, such as medical emergencies.
- Exclude certain coverage options: If you’re not engaging in high-risk activities, you can choose to exclude coverage options that you don’t need. For example, if you’re not planning to rent a car, you can exclude coverage for rental car accidents.
- Buy early: Buying travel insurance early can help you save money on premiums. Many insurers offer discounts for policies purchased well in advance of the travel dates.
- Travel during off-peak periods: Traveling during off-peak periods, such as the low season, can help you save money on travel insurance premiums.
- Opt for a group policy: If you’re traveling with a group, you can opt for a group policy, which may offer lower premiums compared to individual policies.
It’s important to note that while these tips can help reduce your travel insurance premium, it’s also important to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your travel needs.
How to File a Travel Insurance Claim?
To file a travel insurance claim, here are the general steps to be followed:
- Contact your insurance provider: As soon as possible, contact your travel insurance provider to notify them of the claim. You can usually find the contact details on the policy document or the insurer’s website.
- Collect all necessary documentation: Your insurer will require documentation to process your claim. This may include police reports, medical reports, receipts, and any other relevant documentation. Collect all of the necessary documents and keep them organized.
- Fill out the claim form: Your insurer will provide you with a claim form, which you will need to fill out with all of the required information. Be sure to provide accurate and complete information to avoid delays in processing the claim.
- Submit the claim form and documentation: Once you have filled out the claim form and collected all of the required documentation, submit them to the insurer either online or by mail.
- Follow up with the insurer: After you have submitted the claim, follow up with the insurer to check on the status of your claim. You can also ask any questions or provide additional information as needed.
- Receive the claim decision: Once the insurer has reviewed your claim and all of the documentation, they will make a decision on whether to approve or deny the claim. If the claim is approved, the insurer will provide you with instructions on how to receive the payment.
It’s important to remember that the specific steps and requirements for filing a travel insurance claim may vary depending on the insurer and the type of coverage you have. Be sure to carefully review your policy document and contact your insurer if you have any questions or concerns about filing a claim.
How to Extend a Travel Insurance Policy?
To extend your travel insurance policy, here are the general steps to be followed:
- Contact your insurance provider: As soon as possible, contact your travel insurance provider to notify them of your request to extend the policy. You can usually find the contact details on the policy document or on the insurer’s website.
- Check the eligibility criteria: Your insurer will have specific eligibility criteria for extending the policy, such as the maximum number of days allowed for extension, the policy must be active at the time of extension, and the policy cannot have any claims made before the extension. Check these criteria before requesting an extension.
- Provide necessary details: Your insurer will require some details from you such as your current policy number, your travel dates, the reason for the extension, and the duration of the extension.
- Pay the additional premium: Your insurer will provide you with the additional premium amount required for the extension, which you will need to pay. You can pay the premium either online or by cheque.
- Receive the policy extension: Once you have paid the additional premium, your insurer will send you the updated policy document reflecting the extension of coverage.
It’s important to remember that the specific steps and requirements for extending a travel insurance policy may vary depending on the insurer and the type of coverage you have. Be sure to carefully review your policy document and contact your insurer if you have any questions or concerns about extending your policy. Also, keep in mind that extensions may not be allowed in certain circumstances such as claims already made, or when the policy has expired.
What is travel insurance?
A travel insurance policy provides coverage for unforeseen events that may occur while traveling, such as trip cancellation or interruption, medical emergencies, and loss or theft of personal belongings.
What does travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance policies vary, but typical coverage includes trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental expenses, medical evacuation, and loss or theft of personal belongings.
Do I need travel insurance?
It is highly recommended to have travel insurance when traveling, especially for international trips, as it provides coverage for unforeseen events that can disrupt your trip and cause financial loss.
How much does travel insurance cost?
The cost of travel insurance varies based on several factors, including the length of the trip, the destination, the level of coverage, and the age of the travelers.
How do I choose the right travel insurance policy?
Consider factors such as the destination, the length of the trip, the activities planned, and the level of coverage needed when choosing a travel insurance policy.
What is the maximum duration of coverage for a travel insurance policy?
The maximum duration of coverage for a travel insurance policy depends on the insurance provider and the policy type, but it typically ranges from 180 days to 365 days.
Does travel insurance cover adventure sports?
Some travel insurance policies offer coverage for adventure sports, but it depends on the insurance provider and the specific policy. Be sure to check the plan details before buying the same.
What is trip cancellation insurance?
Trip cancellation insurance provides coverage if you need to cancel your trip due to unforeseen events such as illness, injury, or death of a family member.
What is trip interruption insurance?
Trip interruption insurance provides coverage if your trip is interrupted or cut short due to unforeseen events such as illness, injury, or a natural disaster.
What is emergency medical coverage?
Emergency medical coverage provides coverage for medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling.
What is medical evacuation coverage?
Medical evacuation coverage provides coverage for emergency medical transportation to the nearest appropriate medical facility if you become seriously ill or injured and need to be transported to a hospital.
What is baggage loss/damage coverage?
Baggage loss/damage coverage provides coverage if your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip.
What is travel delay coverage?
Travel delay coverage provides coverage for expenses such as accommodations and meals if your trip is delayed due to unforeseen events such as weather or a natural disaster.
What is a pre-existing medical condition?
A pre-existing medical condition is a medical condition that existed before purchasing the travel insurance policy.
Can I get coverage for a pre-existing medical condition?
Some travel insurance policies offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, but it may require additional documentation and higher premiums.
How do I make a claim on my travel insurance policy?
To make a claim on your travel insurance policy, you need to contact your insurance provider, provide the necessary documentation, and follow their claims process.
How long does it take to process a travel insurance claim?
The time it takes to process a travel insurance claim varies based on the insurance provider and the specific claim. However, it typically takes a few weeks to a month or more.
Can I cancel my travel insurance policy?
Yes, you can cancel your travel insurance policy, but it may be subject to cancellation fees or penalties.
Can I renew my travel insurance policy?
Some travel insurance policies can be renewed if the coverage period has not expired. Check with your travel insurance provider to get the required details.