Given the present scenario, travel may be off-limits, however, one thing that Covid has emphasised is the risk of contracting the virus during long flights seem to be higher. It is always scary to fall sick in a foreign country, more so with an infection that requires isolation. Most insurance companies extending travel insurance responded immediately to the pandemic crisis and were quick to alter their product line to include covid coverage. Opting for the “right” travel insurance plan is a difficult choice; especially with more options and intricate details in the product offerings.
Here’s a list that will provide the required guidance for buying the right travel insurance plan.
Elementary aspects to consider whilst availing of the travel insurance plan:
This is in fact the first and foremost thing to check whilst availing of a travel plan. The destination that you intend to travel to should be covered under the plan that you propose to avail. Thus, if you are planning to stop at multiple destinations; then it is important that you check for coverage of all the intended geographies.
It has been often seen that buying a travel insurance plan from an agent; can lead to misunderstanding. Or, there could be a misrepresentation. Hence, it is very important for you to understand your exact need. And then choose then plan which aligns with your requirement.
Social, religious and political scenario:
Whether you are travelling for business or pleasure; it is important that you understand briefly the social and political scenario of the destination. This would help you decide on whether there is a need to avail protection against aspects like political/religious riots, civil unrest, terrorism etc.
A brief understanding of the geographies sensitivity to natural calamities; such as earthquakes, volcanoes could also be assessed; along with political and social unrest. Coverage against these aspects may also be availed as required.
Travel for pleasure usually includes your family, it is important that you opt for a travel insurance plan that covers every member who is travelling with you.
Travel frequency and uncertainty determine the choice of a plan:
Single trip or regular trips:
Frequency of travel should determine if you should avail of
Annual travel insurance plan:
Which requires you to pay a steady premium to avail cover for every year for multiple travels. For example, if you intend to travel frequently then buying the annual travel insurance may be more economical.
Single travel plan
For a one-off travel itinerary. For example, if you are likely to travel occasionally only, then it is better to avail of travel insurance on an ad-hoc basis.
Uncertain travel conditions leading to cancellation:
The pandemic has taught us the most important lessons in uncertainty, even so with travel. Many countries are levying travel restrictions overnight at random to contain the spread of the virus.
Even otherwise, there are times when you have planned everything about your travel to the ‘T’ and something comes up that leads to the cancellation of your travel within short notice.
In such a scenario, your travel insurance may be rendered useless.
While availing of a plan look for favourable terms of reimbursement and refund in the event of cancellation of the policy. Further, you can also check for clauses concerning the reimbursement of premiums too.
Ascertain the details of the travel insurance policy:
Ascertain the exclusions:
While most of us look at the inclusions intricately, we miss out on understanding the exclusions of the policy.
What are exclusions?
Exclusions refer to those risks; that is not covered under the plan.
A general understanding of these will help you keep in mind the situations under which the policy will not provide you cover.
What to do?
Systematically check your travel itinerary, and ensure that all the activities included in your itinerary are covered under the travel plan. Else you can negotiate with your insurer to tailor-make the plan to include aspects as per requirement.
Coverage to medical cost:
Ensure that the travel insurance covers the cost that you may incur in the travel destination. Many of the developed countries have very expensive medical treatments.
What to do?
So, whilst choosing the cover, you will have to do some research on the type of expense pattern; and accordingly, avail a cover that will conveniently cover any medical emergency. Else, the out-of-pocket expense could cost you significantly.
Comprehensive coverage and inclusions:
A travel insurance plan should be such that it caters to every aspect of a medical emergency in a foreign country. The plans generally provide coverage for any type of hospitalisation. In fact, it should offer a daily allowance for the period hospitalised to cover ancillary costs. Also, there are plans which also cover temporary/permanent disablement.
What to do?
Read through the nuances to ensure that there are no co-pay arrangements; as these could turn out to be expensive affairs in the event that you may be required to make out-of-pocket payments.
Flight delays and personal property:
Many times, especially in case you have connecting flights; there could be delays which could lead to expenses for stay, food etc. Thus, you need to avail a travel plan which covers you for such unforeseen flight delays.
What to do?
A travel insurance plan should ensure that you are covered appropriately for situations; involving baggage loss, loss of documents including a passport. Many travel policies provide third party coverage, to cover you for any liability that you may incur on foreign soil. So, check before you purchase.
Coverage for stopovers:
If you have connecting flights or you intend to stopover at any destination briefly before you head back home; then you need to check with your embassy on travel insurance requirements and seek required approvals for a stay in such stopovers. You may avail of travel insurance as advised.
This is one of the most important aspects that we do not take note of. Choose an insurer who has a good review for customer services and one that provides round the clock service over the phone, internet (based on the most accessible mode for you in a foreign country).
It is important that you are able to reach out quickly; to get the issue resolved in a short while; especially on foreign soil.
Do not opt for excess coverage:
While it may seem like a good idea to stay covered against any and every unforeseen circumstance. Every additional coverage comes at a cost; hence try to make a rational decision and opt for those aspects that you are likely to encounter to keep the premium well within your budget.
Despite the list, you may still end up being in a dilemma of which plan to choose given the numerous options. SecureNow provides you with a comprehensive comparison of all available plans which can help in buying the travel insurance plan that is most aligned to your travel itinerary and requirements.