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Published in Mint on July 26 2016, Written by Abhishek Bondia
Can a dent on the car be reason enough for not giving it insurance coverage? My car’s insurance is due for renewal and they are asking me to fix the dent on my own.
—Rakesh Sundria

Underwriting practices vary across insurers. However, it is not usual to deny coverage due to a pre-existing dent, or ask that an old damage be repaired first. Usually, insurers will take a sign-off on the pre-issuance inspection report and clearly state that the pre-existing damage is excluded from insurance.
In case you are already insured, you should get your car repaired via the existing insurer. However, you should factor in the cost of losing the no-claim bonus on renewal premium. Alternately, you could look for an insurer who does not insist on pre-issuance inspection or getting the car repaired first.
I’m going to the United States for seven months, for an office project. I have a health insurance (individual cover) with global coverage. Will this suffice for any medical exigencies during my stay abroad?
—Shahana Rasool

You should check for restrictions on international treatment in your health insurance plan. Most Indian plans limit the coverage to specific ailments and geographies, and have a restrictive claims process. Also, the sum assured is often inadequate for the high cost of treatment abroad.
In case you find such restrictions in your plan, you should buy a standard travel insurance. This plan will cover emergency medical costs. Additionally, it covers accidental death, disability, loss of personal belongings, and out-of-pocket consequential costs due to flight or baggage delays. Your travel insurance plan will give you higher coverage for emergency international treatment as compared to a standard health insurance plan.
However, most overseas travel plans require that your travel should be for less than a certain number of days. As you are travelling for seven months, declare this properly to your insurer.
I am going on a backpacking tour of Europe next month and my travel agent is insisting that I buy additional health insurance cover. Wouldn’t my existing individual health insurance take care of it? It is just a 15-day tour and I don’t want to spend extra for this.
—Rohit Gangwar

The standard health insurance plan does not cover treatments taken outside India. Moreover, given the high cost of treatment abroad, the sum assured of a local health insurance plan is generally inadequate. I recommend that you buy a standard travel insurance plan. It will cost less than Rs.1,000 for a 30-year-old to get Rs.30 lakh of emergency medical expenses cover for 15 days.
In this plan, you will also get coverage for accidental death and disability, loss of personal belongings, and out-of-pocket consequential costs due to flight or baggage delays.