How to select travel insurance
Last month as I was travelling to Germany for a business conference, my travel agent reminded me to buy a travel insurance policy. Germany is a Schengen country and Schengen countries necessitate valid overseas health insurance coverage when you visit. So, I searched and booked myself an international travel insurance plan. When I was searching for the policy my colleague asked me how a good travel insurance policy should be selected. His question made me wonder how many individuals actually know how to buy a travel insurance policy.
It is a very common phenomenon that when you book an international trip, you book a travel insurance policy without sparing too much thought about it. The thought of planning the perfect trip takes priority over selecting the best travel plan. However, this is a mistake. While I don’t discount your enthusiasm of ensuring the perfect trip, your travel insurance policy should also be perfect.
A travel insurance plan covers unforeseen emergencies which you face when you are travelling abroad. The policy should therefore be well equipped to cover every possible eventuality and that too, sufficiently. That is why you should be careful when selecting a travel insurance plan. If you are wondering how to select the best policy, here are some pointers to keep in mind –
First, choose the right type of policy. Travel insurance plans come in different variants. There are Schengen travel plans, international plans which exclude USA and Canada, plans which cover USA and Canada, travel plans for travelling within Asia, domestic plans, plans for senior citizens, etc. Moreover, travel plans can be a single trip policy or an annual multi-trip policy. So, choosing the most relevant plan based on your travel needs becomes important.
Secondly, look for an all-inclusive coverage structure. Some coverage benefits are common across all plans like coverage for medical emergencies, loss or delay of baggage, loss of passport, personal accident, personal liability, etc. Other benefits like hijack allowance, missed flight connection, trip interruption, trip extension, loss of personal belongings, etc. are available only in select plans. Understand the purpose of your trip and then choose the coverage benefits which are suitable. For instance, if you have connecting flights, ensure that your travel plan has coverage for missed flight connection. An all-inclusive coverage is necessary so that no eventuality is left uncovered.
After you have ensured the coverage benefits, look at the coverage level. Travel insurance plans allow coverage in US Dollars. The coverage limit ranges from USD 50,000 to USD 500,000. Your ideal coverage limit should depend on the country that you are travelling to. If you are travelling to European countries, USA or any other developed countries, the sum insured should be high. This is because in developed countries the cost of medical treatments and the loss suffered in case of any eventuality would be high. The sum insured should, therefore, be sufficient enough to cover the expected financial loss. Moreover, the choice of sum insured should also depend on the number of members travelling. If you are travelling with your family, ensure an optimal coverage level so that each member is optimally covered.
Now that the coverage aspect of the plan is taken care of, the next thing which you should check is the available add-ons. Travel insurance plans allow optional coverage benefits at additional premiums. If the offered coverage benefits are suitable for your coverage needs, choose them without worrying about the premium payable because the premium would be very low.
Lastly, to select the best travel insurance policy, compare. There are dozens of travel insurance plans offered by more than two dozen general insurance companies. Since you have options, you should always compare the available plans before selecting one. Comparing gives you two main advantages. One, you can select a plan with the most comprehensive coverage benefits. Two, you can get the best rate of premiums. So, compare the available plans before you buy one.
Comparing travel insurance is easy. There are various insurance aggregator websites which help you calculate the premium of a travel insurance policy based on your requirements and then compare the premium rates as well as coverage benefits of different plans. You can then select a plan which offers the best coverage features at the most reasonable premium rates.
I am well-versed with insurance and so was able to select the most suitable travel insurance plan for my needs. To help you buy the right plan I have given the factors which should be kept in mind. So, the next time you invest in a travel plan, be knowledgeable instead of being ignorant. Trust me you would thank me for the heads up!