So you and your family are looking forward to that vacation in Hawaii. The kids have vacations in schools and have packed their swimsuits and beach balls, and your wife wants to indulge herself at that famous Spa. You start off well and reach halfway through to your stopover airport, only to hear that the flight has been cancelled due to an earthquake the previous night. Your bookings are confirmed, but you have no cash to pay for the steep return airfare. In such emergencies, travel insurance can save you.
While people plan weeks, even months in advance for a leisure or a business trip, travel insurance is a detail they often forget to take care of. The facts seem to support the case for travel insurance. US Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) only 22% travellers take insurance to but 17% of US citizens say that natural calamities, change of airline schedule and sickness affect their travel plans.
Here’s list of pointers as to why travel insurance should not be unimportant:
- Cost is minimal but coverage is comprehensive: People mostly skip travel insurance because they think it will add to the already expensive cost of travel. But in reality, travel insurance may add 6-8% to your costs but will save you from much headache if the trip is cancelled for reasons beyond your control.
- Out of pocket costs for last minute bookings are prohibitive: If your trip is cancelled for reasons beyond your control, return travel esp during last minute can be costly. Travel insurance, at the cost of a nominal premium, saves you this expense.
- Replacing your lost luggage can be cumbersome: In case of lost baggage, you might have to purchase the whole lot of clothing /items/supplies at your destination and this can be expensive. Travel insurance provides compensation in case of lost luggage.
- Medical emergencies abroad can cost a bomb: If your health policy doesn’t cover you for medical emergencies while travelling abroad, then it is a good idea to buy travel insurance that covers emergency treatment and evacuation while travelling abroad.
- Check if your travel/holiday package includes travel insurance: Sometimes tour operators or travel agents include travel insurance as part of the package. In case it doesn’t, it is probably a good idea to call your insurer and buy it.
- Read the fine print: See if your travel insurance covers all aspects of travel contingencies as described above or has exclusion listing out any of the above. If in doubt, ask the seller what it covers and what it doesn’t. Failing to do so would mean being left without coverage in a foreign land.
What travel insurance should cover?
Ideally, a travel insurance cover should provide for the following emergencies:
- Trip cancellation/delays/rescheduling: In case of alternative arrangements for travel and/or stay for cancellation/delay or rescheduling of trip.
- Loss of baggage/theft of valuables/wallet/passport: In case your passport is stolen or lost or if luggage is misplaced.
- Emergency hospitalization/ evacuation: In case of sickness during travel, cost of emergency treatment and/or evacuation.
- 24-hour emergency assistance: Help on finding emergency assistance (including financial) round the clock.
Travel insurance can be purchased not only from insurers or banks, but from travel companies as well. Whoever be your vendor, ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions of the policy and know what’s covered and what’s not. Finally, buy travel insurance only from a reputed and credible provider. By putting your worries away through travel insurance, you can enjoy a fool-proof and smooth travel.