Sunday, August 12, 2012

Travel Insurance

Insurance is 'Protection against future loss'. That's the textbook definition; Synonymous with indemnity. But in real life it is the promise of reimbursement in the case of loss, paid to people or companies, who, concerned about hazards, have made pre-payments to an insurance company. This article is regarding Travel Insurance, which is an attempt to minimize the financial risks, which can crop up, due to unpredictable circumstances while travelling(traveling).

Although there are different types of Travel Insurances, with different specifications, we can broadly distinguish them as 'Single trip insurance' and 'Annual multi trip insurance'. Even though both the types are very popular, they do have their drawbacks.Annual Trip Travel Insurance is advisable for frequent fliers. It covers multiple trips taken during a span of 1 year. This scheme is usually taken by international businessmen, families, and people who love to travel. When you have this type of insurance, you don't have to worry about getting last minute insurance cover, when there's an emergency. On the other hand, Single round trip insurance is cheaper and is a better option for people who plan their trips. If you're a student and planning to backpack across Europe, get yourself a Single round trip insurance. Nowadays insurance companies even give discounts on group insurance. And of course, if you're a honeymoon couple looking to explore the scenic pastures of Switzerland, get yourself insured.

Other special schemes are there for Senior citizens, and Families. One notable insurance cover is the Extreme sports insurance. This type of insurance covers dangerous adventure sports like skiing, scuba diving, white water rafting etc. Although there are not many providers for this insurance, you can still talk to your insurance agent and convert your existing plan to cover these trips too. But understandably, the premium would be excruciatingly high.

Now let's get to terms that are usually covered :
1.Emergency Repatriation and or evacuation - It is the act of returning to your own country, due to any reason.
2.Medical expenses incurred due to injury during the trip.
3.Death or disablement due to injury while travelling.
4.Overseas funeral.
5.Expenses incurred due to cancelled or delayed flight.
6.Loss, theft or damage to personal possessions and money.
7.Delayed baggage.
8.Personal legal assistance.

Now let's see the terms which are usually NOT covered :
An illness or a disease with which a person is suffering from, before he/she buys the policy.
Deliberately putting your life in danger - Does that mean eating Octopus on a trip to China could be dangerous? Well, I haven't done that yet, but I'm sure my insurance will cover it, if I choke on an octopus (God forbid) and need emergency treatment.
Claims involving alcohol and drugs - That means you cannot tell your insurance agent that you lost your wallet in Goa, because you were binge drinking.
Claims involving ST D's like AIDS.
Illegal activities - Like medical expenses for getting shot in the leg, while trying to cross into China, will not be covered by the policy. Wow. That one is actually true.

Now the most important part before choosing a policy is to check :
Exclusion - Clauses not covered in your policy.
Deductibles - The amount you need to pay for each claim.
Pre-existing health condition - What I came across online is that a lot of insurance companies are luring customers with a 'No medical check-up' clause. Be thorough in your research and find out what exactly does it mean, before getting an online insurance.
Make sure the insurance company is licensed by the state insurance department.
Does the policy cover natural disasters and what are the restrictions?
What assistance is provided in case of medical emergency/evacuation?

Don't just believe the hype or buy a policy your aunt had bought. There are many websites which give you price quotes by different companies, and compare them for you. One such website is, which I found very helpful. Be safe, and get your trip insured.

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