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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Pick the right travel insurance policy

A good travel insurance plan can protect you from a financial catastrophe at foreign locations.

business Updated: Aug 26, 2019 11:21 IST
Mahavir Chopra
Mahavir Chopra
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Getting medical treatment at a foreign location can prove to be very costly.
Getting medical treatment at a foreign location can prove to be very costly.(iStockphoto)

Getting medical treatment at a foreign location can prove to be very costly. A good travel insurance plan can protect you from a financial catastrophe at foreign locations. It is hence important that you choose the insurance plan, the coverage as well as the benefits carefully instead of blindly depending on your travel agent. Here are the things you must consider to ensure you have the right and adequate travel insurance:

Get the date of birth correct: Since a crucial part of the travel insurance cover is around emergency medical care, it is important that you consider the age of the people traveling to evaluate the insurance cover required. If the people traveling are senior citizens, it is important that you have more than adequate cover, irrespective of the country or the duration of your trip. It is important that you inquire about and read the policy document to understand the medical cover completely also keeping an eye on any additional limits in the cover, like per hospitalization limit or cap on treatment cost in the fine print, that could significantly curtail the insurance cover you have purchased.


Existing medical history: In case any family member has a medical history, ensure the policy covers pre-existing diseases, at least for life threatening situations. You don’t want to be in a situation where you are not able to provide for the best healthcare when you need it the most. Most importantly, ensure you have discussed with the family member, understood all the health conditions she or he suffers from and made a clear complete declaration in the proposal form, else having a pre-existing cover will be of no use.

Take cover based on on the destination: If you are traveling to a developed country like United States, UK or Singapore, it is important that you have a large cover, especially if the duration of the trip is more than two weeks. A short visit to an hospital’s emergency room can burn a huge hole in your pocket, in case you have a small insurance cover.

Purpose of the trip: If you are looking at participating in adventure sports, you must explore travel insurance that cover such risks. If your child is traveling for higher education, you must explore special long-term travel insurance covers for students that can for instance provide you a cover expenses of you or your spouse traveling to attend to you in case of he/she falls sick in the foreign country.

Do not rely on your travel agent alone to choose your travel insurance policy or fill your proposal form, especially when the duration of the travel is more than a month or the person traveling is more than 45 years of age. The older the person traveling, the more careful you should be.

Ensure you have understood the terms and conditions, coverage and deductibles for each cover or benefit that is important for you. For instance, if baggage delay cover is important for you, you must not only evaluate the policy on the sum insured or coverage that is mentioned on the brochure, but also understand the hourly deductible in the policy, for instance, will the policy pay a lumpsum amount for the inconvenience of a baggage getting delayed, or actually require bills to reimburse for actual expenses incurred due to the delay of the bag.

Evaluate the claims services and facilities by checking whether the insurance company has a toll-free number or a call back facility for the country you are visiting. Remember that a travel insurance covers you for OPD medical treatments too, including dental. If you frequently travel internationally, there are annual plans that cover you for multi trips that you should evaluate.

Mahavir Chopra is director of health, life and travel insurance at