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Published in Mint on March 29 2016, Written by Abhishek Bondia
Is health insurance valid when one is on foreign travel? I’m taking my grandparents on holiday across Europe in another three months. They are medically covered. If something happens when we are abroad, what is the process of facilitating medical insurance?
—Akshara Purakayastha
A typical health insurance policy covers hospitalization expenses incurred for treatment in India only. This plan will not cover treatment done abroad. I would recommend you take a travel insurance policy for your foreign trip. This will cover emergency or accidental medical problems during the trip.
While evaluating options, you should consider a plan that covers emergency care for pre-existing diseases. This will make the claims process if required, smoother.

My friend got married in January this year and the venue was a banqueting lawn in Mumbai. Unexpectedly, there was heavy rain on that day due to which 80% of the decorations and food got damaged, adding to their overall cost. Is there an insurance policy that can be used to cover such unforeseen events? My sister is getting married next month and I want to be prepared.
—Bahni Banerjee
You can take an event insurance policy to cover weddings. The policy will reimburse expenses incurred in the case of either cancellation of the event or damage suffered to property due to the named perils under the policy. Standard perils covered under the policy include fire, storm, flood, inundation, earthquake, and malicious damage.
You could take add-on coverage for burglary, theft, and unseasonal rains. Some insurance companies offer special extensions to cover weddings that include coverage for loss of jewelry, and cancellation due to death or injury of named family members.

Is it correct that health insurance premiums change every year with age? I enquired about a particular policy three years ago and when I did it again last month, the premium has gone up significantly.
—Kush Pathak
Yes, health insurance premiums increase with age. For some insurers, the premium increases every year.
For others, the increase happens at intervals of 5-10 years. The latter has a more sudden increased impact. However, you would have had to pay the increased premium even if you had purchased the health insurance policy three years ago. In that sense, you are not being penalized for buying late.
There are benefits to buying insurance earlier though. As you grow older, insurers are more likely to find medical issues and introduce a premium loading or reject your application outright.

I wanted to know if one can insure the value of the land while buying home insurance?
—Ranu Jigra
A typical home insurance policy provides cover only for the cost of construction and does not consider the value of the land.
Therefore, the sum assured you that defined should not include the land cost of the property. A few insurers now issue insurance on an agreed-value basis for apartments. In these plans, the cost of land is also considered. This becomes relevant if there is a total loss and you need to buy a new house.