What is it?
A travel insurance plan is meant to provide you cover for medical emergencies while travelling overseas. However, medical emergencies are not the only things that such policies cover. “Your travel insurance plan may cover loss of baggage, flight delays, transportation of mortal remains from another country, loss of passport, flight hijack, etc," said Lovaii Navlakhi, founder, International Money Matters Pvt Ltd. Schengen countries make it mandatory for you to have a travel cover. You can buy the plan in advance and make it applicable from your travel date, said Navlakhi. You can buy the plan for a year or make it a one-off expense, said Navlakhi.
How much does it cost?
The costs of the insurance cover vary depending on the country and sum insured. “Say a 30-year-old is buying a travel insurance plan which has a medical sum insured of $50,000, personal accident cover of $15,000 and other travel inconvenience covers for a 15-day trip. The premium for worldwide countries including the US and Canada, is around ₹1,257 plus taxes and for worldwide countries excluding the US and Canada is ₹871 plus taxes," said Bhaskar Nerurkar, head of health claims, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. Demarcation of personal accident cover and a medical sum insured is not present in all travel plans and has been used an example here.
Why is it important?
If you are a frequent traveller, then it is essential for you to buy a travel insurance plan keeping in mind possible medical emergencies and consequently high medical costs in other countries. “Medical costs abroad are at least 6-7% more than what you are charged in India and generally an equivalent medical procedure costs 50-100% more in the US than other countries," said Nerurkar. “Those who travel more than twice a month and on short notices, should definitely go for an annual overseas travel insurance plan," said Navlakhi. Other travellers can insure their travels on a per-trip basis.