Only a quarter of Indian travelers going abroad buy their travel insurance at least 30 days before their trip, with the majority opting to buy it within the final three days prior to departure, according to research data from PolicyBazaar.
According to insurance experts, many Indian travelers choose Asian destinations, where travel insurance policy documents are not needed until the day of departure due to the availability of visas on arrival. This pattern often results in travelers not fully recognizing the significance of purchasing insurance well in advance.
“It is highly recommended to buy travel insurance right after you book your trips to avoid any last-minute hassles and also ensure that the policy offers the specific coverage the traveler needs. Moreover, if the travelers buys the travel insurance in advance, they will not have to worry about cancellation fees, if, unfortunately, they end up cancelling the trip,” says Manas Kapoor, business head – travel insurance, PolicyBazaar.com.
Also travel insurance is often not obligatory in these Asian destinations. In contrast, planning for trips to Europe, the US or Canada involves a more rigorous and lengthy process, which necessitates visa applications several months in advance.
Says Brijesh Unnithan, senior vice president, embedded insurance, Acko: “The lack of knowledge about the advantages of travel insurance remains a big factor in the delay in the buying decision. Additionally, individuals assume that travel insurance isn’t flexible, since they believe there is a probability that their trip may be delayed or cancelled. The choice to buy travel insurance might also be further postponed by worries about additional costs and the optimistic belief that accidents won’t happen to them.”
Says Vivek Gambhir, executive vice president & product head – accident & health, Tata AIG General Insurance: “A travel insurance policy plays a significant role in safeguarding travelers from unexpected events, and provides them with financial security and assistance during their journey. A comprehensive travel insurance policy protects travelers from unforeseen events, including medical emergencies, trip cancellations, loss of personal belongings, and so on.”
Hence, travel insurance provides valuable protection and peace of mind for travelers by covering a range of unexpected events and emergencies that can occur before or during a trip.
Here are a few reasons why you should get a travel insurance for your trip abroad.
Medical emergencies can occur anytime and medical care can be costly, especially in a foreign land. The travel insurance policy gets you coverage that can help cover the cost of medical treatment, hospital stays, and emergency transportation, including medical evacuation if necessary.
Some travel insurance policies also provide coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, which can be life-threatening; this coverage, however, varies from insurer to insurer.
At times, a traveller might need to cancel or cut short their trip due to various reasons, such as illness, injury, a family emergency, etc. Travel insurance can help them ease the burden and recoup some or all of the non-refundable costs of the trip cancellation, including flights, accommodations, and activities.
Losing your passport or personal belongings can be troublesome in a foreign country. Fortunately, many travel insurance policies offer coverage for replacing lost or stolen passports, as well as coverage for lost or stolen luggage, cameras, and other personal items.
In situations, such as natural disasters, riots, or political unrest, travel insurance can cover the costs of emergency evacuations to ensure your safety and well-being. Additionally, in such scenarios, if one needs to extend their trip, which can lead to additional expenses, travel insurance can help accommodate that as well.
Choosing the right travel insurance policy requires careful consideration of multiple factors. Ensure that your policy covers your destination and trip duration, as well as any adventurous or high-risk activities you plan to undertake.
Disclose pre-existing medical conditions for clarity on coverage. Examine maximum benefit limits for different types of coverage, such as medical emergencies, baggage loss, and trip delays or cancellations to ensure they meet your potential costs. Additionally, don’t just opt for the cheapest option; prioritise value and comprehensive coverage.