Contribution by Travel Mail’s Reader:
Mr Subrahmanyam B
Senior Vice President & Head
Health, Commercial Lines and Reinsurance
Bharti Axa General Insurance
Most ardent globe trotters would agree that a successful international trip is a well-planned one. A well-organized trip planned to the very last detail not only lets trip takers do much more with their time but insures peace of mind and a worry free experience.
Among the several aspects of trip planning one of the more important ones is being prepared for unexpected mishaps and eventualities. No matter how well organized a trip is, one certainly cannot rule out eventualities like accidents, delayed flights among others. In a nutshell a well planned trip therefore needs to make provisions for such mishaps by opting for the right insurance that offers adequate cover and within budget requirements.
A big deal
Most first time travellers often voice the query – “Is travelling without insurance really a big deal?”. This question often pops up given that travel insurance is mandatory while visiting some countries and isn’t mandatory for others.
While there is no simple answer to this, most travel experts have expressed that it certainly wiser to opt for travel insurance in both cases. Consider this. A sudden dental emergency in a developed country (let’s say Singapore) for instance could set you back by a few thousands. It is also to be noted that the bill would be a few thousand dollars, not rupees! Same is the case with a small accident that results in a broken bone. Let alone coughing up the huge amount, in several cases insufficient funds or inability to arrange them in time may lead to delayed or no treatment. This in turn may result in permanent physical damage.
What’s more is that risk does not relate to health alone. Losing expensive camera equipment, sports gear or being robbed of all personal property could be just as devastating. Imagine being completely penniless in the remote locales of Lhasa or a small village in Mongolia?
A plethora of benefits
Dealing with an emergency during the course of a trip becomes a lot easier with the assistance of insurance. To begin with insurance offers a plethora of benefits. Individual and Family plans cover travel exigencies including medical expenses, daily allowance in case of hospitalization, expense incurred due to loss of travel documents (Passport, tickets etc.), cover for loss of checked in baggage, compassionate visit expenses in case of medical emergency, financial emergency Assistance among others.
In addition to the monetary compensation, insurance firms that have international parentage offer a host of assistance services. For instance a tourist with a severe medical condition in a remote area of morocco could be whisked away in a helicopter especially when the closest medical treatment available could be a few hundreds of miles away. In such situations timely assistance could actually become a matter of life or death!
Inexpensive and reliable
Not only is the right insurance product from the right insurance firm reliable but also affordable. The insurance market today offers a large basket of products that cater to a range of budgets, insurance coverage, passenger group sizes and travel frequency needs. For instance an entry ticket size of Rs. 800 can provide cover of as much as $50,000 for a 7 day trip for a single individual. In terms of coverage one can choose from products that offer umbrella cover to insurance for specific needs (e.g. insurance of expensive gear alone). Further, it is also possible to customize a specific plan to make it more extensive by opting for riders that usually are in the price range of 10-20% of the policy premium.
With regards to group size plans are available for individuals and families. As far frequency of travel is concerned, persons who travel abroad very often can opt for multi-trip plans that offer a discounted rate.
Easy to procure
Apart from being inexpensive and reliable, insurance can be procured online easily. Quick online research that is comprehensive and conclusive, followed by ease of online purchase has made insurance buying quite simple. A of lot companies allow products details to be viewed and compared online and even provide quotes against trip details (like duration, countries covered, age).
So whether mandatory or not, it’s best to be a prepared traveller and opt for insurance to make your trip a joyous and unforgettable one.