Why Travel Insurance Is A Must?

Why Travel Insurance Is A Must?

Among all documents associated with overseas travel, insurance is viewed as the most unnecessary. Keeping in mind the high cost of treatment in the US and other developed countries, it is imperative to ensure that you have a travel policy before you pack your bag.

Not having travel insurance can burn a big hole in your pocket and upset your plans

Among all documents associated with overseas travel, insurance is viewed as the most unnecessary.

If not paid for by the employer, most frequent travelers in India consider travel insurance as an obligation and a waste of money, which can be well avoided.

They also feel that travel mishaps (unless it is something severe) are actually part of the travel experience.

Consider the example of Desai, a diamond merchant who traveled extensively across the globe. During his entrepreneurial tenure spanning over 15 years, he had faced innumerable adverse events, ranging from cancellation of flights to more serious issues, such as theft of passport and money.

While he had thought that he’d seen it all, his latest trip to California made him realise how mistaken he was. During the trip, he suffered a heart attack, quite unexpectedly.

Doctors attending on him insisted that his condition required immediate surgery and two weeks of hospitalisation.

He did not have travel insurance and had to shell out close to $200,000 (approximately ₹1.3 crore) for treatment from his pocket.

Setback to plans

Desai’s experience is not alone. There are innumerable travelers who do not attach much importance to travel insurance, particularly when they go on short trips. They do so unaware of the benefits that insurance can offer them during adverse times.

For instance, a sudden change in weather conditions can botch your well laid out plans.

Not having travel insurance can burn a big hole in one’s pocket and cause a big setback to one’s plans.

Imagine getting stranded in an expensive city, such as New York on account of flight cancellation or delay due to a blizzard.

You not only have to take care of stay and food expenses till you are sure of the next mode of transport, but may also lose money if you miss your connecting flight. Under such circumstances, not having travel insurance can burn a big hole in one’s pocket and cause a big setback to one’s plans.

A blizzard or a typhoon or any natural disaster can batter your holiday and result in unmanageable cost escalation.

Ignoring the possibilities of occurrence of such situations can lead to serious financial trouble and mental stress.

Basic risks

Keeping in mind the high cost of treatment in the US and other developed countries, it is imperative to ensure that you have a travel policy before you pack your bag.

Other than natural catastrophes, facing health problems while travelling to the US could mean shelling out thousands of dollars. Keeping in mind the high cost of treatment in the US and other developed countries, it is imperative to ensure that you have a travel policy before you pack your bag.

What should you look for when you buy a policy?

One that is affordable and covers the basic risks.

Most policies cover basic risks, such as medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, trip cancellation and accidental death (in common carriers).

If you need a more comprehensive policy, you can look at other add-ons, such as loss of checked-in baggage, delays, and so on.

Having a travel insurance policy will give you peace of mind while travelling abroad and ensure coverage against adverse events.

The writer is Senior Vice President, Bharti AXA General Insurance

(This article was originally published in The Hindu Business Line on August 16, 2015)

18 Aug, 2015
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