Travel Insurance

Updated: April 15, 2013   (Disclaimer)      Print    Contribute to this guide

Estimates

  • Expenditure                                                                                                               

It depends on the duration of coverage, total coverage, type of travel insurance and insurance company one is choosing. The premium is approximately between 3000 and 6000  rupees for a basic travel insurance plan for one person travelling for around 60 days and a coverage of around 1 lakh rupees. This is for countries excluding USA and Canada. The premium is close to 10000 if USA and Canada are included in the coverage.

  • No. of Visits required : 1
  • Time /visit: 1 hour
  • Preparation time (time spent filling forms, talking to customer service etc.) : ~ 10-12 hrs
  • Total time (from start to end): 1 week or less

Contact (e.g. Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance)

  • Where to go: Travel insurance can be purchased by visiting the office of the insurance provider of your choice. Alternately, you could also call the office or the 1-800 number and get a quote and even a buy a insurance on the phone. The websites and 1-800 numbers of some popular companies providing travel insurance in India is provided below.
  • Typical working hours: 9 am -5 pm
  • Appointment: No prior appointment is required
  • Preferred time to visit the office: Avoid morning hours. Lunch hour is between 2 – 2.30 pm. Any time after this would be preferred.

Required Forms

  •  Proposal form – This is the form that is required when you are buying travel insurance from a company. It generally requires your personal details and data. The proposal form can either be obtained from the insurance office, through an insurance agent or can be downloaded online from the website of the insurance provider. Also it can be filled online and submitted online or in person.
  • Claim form – The claim form is required when you need to claim for any injury/illness/damages that occurred during your travel while being covered to specific things as included in the insurance coverage. You need to specify the details of the injury/illness/damages and provide proofs of the same. This form can be filled offline or online on the website of the insurance provider.

Coverage types

The risks that are covered by travel insurance will depend on the type of coverage you purchase. Typical risks covered under travel insurance plans include the following -

-       Medical emergencies like accident or sickness

-       Emergency evacuation

-       Trip interruption or trip cancellation

-       Repatriation of remains

-       Accidental death, disablement or injury

-       Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal belongings and travel documents

-       Delay of baggage and emergency and emergency replacement of essential items

-       Travel delays due to weather

-       Overseas funeral expenses

One may purchase separate insurance by incurring additional costs for the following items:

-       Pre existing conditions like asthma and diabetes

-       Sports with an element of risk like skiing or scuba diving

-       Travel to high risk countries due to war, acts of terrorism or natural disasters

-       Additional accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage


Required Documents

Buying Travel Insurance

Download the proposal form from the website of the travel insurance company. If you have some form of pre-existing illness, you will be required to provide details regarding the existing medical condition. No other documents are needed. Fou ill the proposal form and submit it to the concerned company.

Travel Insurance claim

The documents that are required to be submitted while filing a travel insurance claim depend on the type of claim. A general list of documents for each type of claim is listed below. The type of claims covered is also company specific and would be mentioned during purchase of travel insurance. Any document specific to a company would be explicitly mentioned in the ‘documents required’ section of the insurance brochure. For up to date information on the required documents, do not forget to check the websites of your travel insurance provider.

  1. 1.    Medical Accident and Sickness Expense claim

-          Claim form (duly signed by the attending physician) with the claim reference number

-          Release of Medical Information form

-          Doctor’s medical report

-          Original admission/discharge card

-          Original bills, receipts and prescription

-          Copy of the passport and visa with entry and exit stamp

-          Original pathological reports, X-ray reports and other investigative reports

 

  1. 2.    Claim for Loss of passport

-          Copy of the previous passport (if available)

-          Copy of the new passport

-          Copy of the airline tickets

-          Proof of complaint registered with the local police

-          Copy of the details (receipts, incoices,etc) showing expenses incurred in obtaining the new passport

 

  1. 3.    Loss/delay of baggage claim

-          Duly signed claim form

-          Copy of the tickets, boarding passes and baggage tags

-          Property Irregularity Report (PIR) from the airlines authority

-          In case of lost/stolen baggage, an itemized listing of all lost or stolen items including the dates of purchase

-          In case of delay of baggage, copies of correspondence with airline authorities certifying the delay

-          Details of compensation received (if any) from airline and other authorities

 

  1. 4.    University tuition fees claim

-          Duly filled in and signed claim form

-          Copy of the receipt of payment of advance tuition fees

-          Letter informing the university about the inability of the pupil to continue studies

-          Discharge card of hospitalization along with detailed medical and other investigative reports (as applicable)

 

  1. 5.    Accidental death and disability claim of concerned person

-          Duly filled in personal accident claim form.

-          A copy of the deceased’s death certificate

-          Summary of the reasons for death from the hospital where last treated

-          Actual proof of payment of the trip, credit card statements or copies of cheques

-          All unused air, cruise tickets and vouchers

-          Proof of any refunds received

-          All invoices and itineraries and supplier policies provided by the travel agent


Procedure

Buying Travel Insurance

Online Option

  1. Websites like www.policybazaar.com or www.insurancepandit.com offer comprehensive and in-depth comparison of different travel insurance policies that are available, cost of the policies, maximum insurance amount available, details of plan etc. This is a good place to start to get an idea of the options that are available and provide you a good starting point.
  2. Choose the insurance company you feel is most suitable for you and visit its website.
  3. Go to Travel Insurance section and choose the insurance plan suited for your needs.
  4. Click on buy online.
  5. Fill in the details as asked, most of which are obvious and self explanatory.
  6. Go through the terms and conditions carefully and make final payment through various payment options available.

Offline Option

  1. You can get the details of each company by visiting their offices during the visiting hours or by purchasing through a registered travel agent.
  2. Choose the insurance policy suitable for you. The agent can help depending on the nature and duration of your travel.
  3. Fill in the proposal form. Most of the details asked are easy to understand and self explanatory.
  4. The insurance agent will submit the form to the concerned company and get you the copy of the certificate, policy details, premium paid, duration of insurance etc.

Travel Insurance Claim

  1. In case of health insurance claim call at the emergency medical assistance number given by the insurance company within 24 hours of the accident or health related issue to register the same with the company.
  2. Obtain the claim form online, through an agent or by calling the concerned company’s Assistance Department.
  3. Fill in the details asked in the claim form very carefully, as a minor mistake can result in a delayin processing of the claim form. Do seek the assistance of the company agent, if required, during filling the form.
  4. Provide all the documents required, in original (e.g. hospital bill, medicine slips and bills, doctor’s prescription, baggage tags, correspondence from airline authorities signifying damages etc) or duplicate (copy of passport if lost, copy of death certificate etc), along with the claim form.
  5. Mandatorily obtain the attending physician’s signature on the form in case of health insurance claim.
  6. Submit the claim form along with the documents to the company office to get the claim processed.

General Information

The following are some frequently asked questions regarding travel insurance.

What are the travel insurance options available in India?

Ans: Most of the companies in general provide travel insurance for individual, family, students and senior citizens. The travel insurance can be done for single trip or multi trip. The travel insurance can also be classified based on the country of travel e.g. insurance for countries except USA and Canada, world travel etc.

How much time does it take to receive travel insurance documents?

Ans: You would get travel insurance policy documents within 24 hours of purchasing online. You will receive this through a confirmation email at the address that you provide.

What are the payment options available for purchasing online?

Ans: All major debit and credit cards are accepted for online payments. Payments can also be made through personal cheques.

What are the exclusions in travel insurance policy?

Ans: Generally the following conditions are excluded from a standard insurance policy. Some insurance providers may however offer options to include some of the below mentioned conditions  in the coverage at a higher cost.

-          Any pre-existing medical condition (except in case of life threatening situation) or complication for which care, treatment or advice was received by physician

-          Medical expenses beyond expiry of policy period

-          Pregnancy in women which results in childbirth, abortion or miscarriage

-          Suicide/attempt to suicide, veneral disease, drug abuse, alcoholism, willfully self-inflicted injury, mental disorder.

-          Injury due to sports and related activities.

-          Ayurvedic and homeopathic treatments, plastic surgery, visit to health resorts and spa.

-          Loss which is not reported to police within 24 hours of its discovery

-          Loss of external items like spectacles, crutches, hearing aid, contact lens etc.

-          Loss or damage of passport as a result of failure of insured to take proper safeguards, confiscation by customs or detention by police

Can the insurance policy be amended or cancelled?

Ans: There is provision for cancellation of insurance policy, which can generally be done up to two weeks from the date of purchase, provided travel has not taken place and no claim has been filed from the insured’s side. Amending the travel insurance policy can also be done upto a certain period (mostly two weeks) for free of cost, provided the coverage amount is kept same. After that a certain amount needs to be paid for changing the policy. If the policy coverage amount is increased, a certain charge needs to be given as per the insurance provider’s policy.

Are cashless benefits available in travel insurance policy?

Ans: Generally cashless facilities are provided by most of the insurance companies. Cashless insurance is provided fully in case of hospitalization in the country of travel and the same is provided upto certain amount in case of out-patient department (OPD) people. For e.g. ICICI Lombard provides cashless facility for hospitalization and for OPD patients for amount higher than 500 US dollars. For OPD patients spending less than 500 dollars reimbursement would be provided.

Are pre-existing conditions not covered in travel insurance policy?

Ans: All travel insurance companies ask a series of questions during completion of quote by the insured. One should not knowingly suppress any pre-existing condition that he/she has. If one fails to mention any pre-existing conditions, he/she might not get reimbursement later for a claim. If a person answers ‘yes’ to any of the questions asked, there would be a series of medical screening conducted to determine the status of the pre-existing condition and whether it is covered under the insurance company polices; if a person is denied travel insurance due to presence of a pre-existing health condition, he/she can always approach another company.

However pre-existing conditions are covered only in case of life-threatening situations and the treatment arising due to that. Life threatening situations may occur from any of the following:

-          Markedly unstable vital parameters like blood pressure, pulse, temperature and respiratory rate.

-          Acute impairment of one or more vital organ systems like heart, lungs, kidney, pancreas etc.

-          Critical care being provided, which involves high complexity decision making to assess, manipulate and support vital system function(s) to treat single or multiple vital organ failure(s)and requires interpretation of multiple physiological parameters and application of advanced technology

-          Critical care being provided in critical care area such as coronary care unit, intensive care unit, respiratory care unit or emergency department.


NRI Corner

Since Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are citizens of India, there is nothing exclusive for NRIs with regards to obtaining travel insurance in India. All the procedures applicable to citizens of India are equally applicable to NRIs. It should be noted that most insurance companies will provide travel insurance to NRIs only if they have an Indian Passport. Indian Insurance companies do not provide travel insurance to citizens of other countries.

The travel insurance rules will depend on the laws applicable to specific countries. Also the claim would be dependent on the rules and regulations as specified by the law of the country where damages or illness has occurred. The following points pertain specifically to travel insurance in all the twenty five Schengen countries.

  • The Insurance Company must have a representative office in Europe.
  • There should be a medical evacuation or repatriation coverage of at least 30,000 euro
  • The Insurance must be valid for duration of stay in the Schengen states
  • It is important to get your passport stamped when entering into the Schengen area, else claim for any type of insurance may not be entertained

Newly formed countries like Aruba also require coverage of medical evacuation or repatriation. It requires visitors to have medical coverage when applying for a visa.

NRIs staying in Australia also require compulsory medical insurance before they apply for the visa. For more details please refer to reference no.5


TI Mantras

While claiming travel insurance is relatively easier compared to health insurance, there can be several pitfalls, which if remain unchecked, can lead to distress for the insured. An individual needs to keep in mind the following critical points in order to avoid harassment while claiming for travel insurance.

  1. Take notes of everything that the agent claims and cross check everything when the insurance documents arrive.
  2. Disclose any and every pre-existing conditions before opting for a health insurance scheme in travel insurance plan. Generally, pre-existing conditions are not entertained and reimbursed.
  3. A travel insurance policy is not the same as protection plan. There are no laws that govern a protection plan. One should be very careful in opting, because buying a protection plan for travel insurance is same as giving away money to a con artist.
  4. Read the terms and conditions carefully and be aware of what is covered and what is not. For example, travel insurance policies will not pay if the accident is caused by your own negligence such as causing an accident when driving under the influence of alcohol.
  5. One size does not fit all. Choose travel insurance policies based on the duration, nature of your travel and the country you are visiting. Some countries require specific clauses in your insurance such as “Repatriation of remains”, check to make sure that your insurance covers it; else you may end up overpaying.
  6. Before submitting the documents, keep a copy of the form and the documents with you for future reference.

 


 Scams, mistakes and horror stories

 Although purchasing travel insurance is becoming increasingly easy, there have been several instances where people have beencheated in the name of added help either by insurance providers or travel agents. People new to buying travel insurance should not blindly look at the theoretical benefits of it but also go through some live situations as described in the links below. These may serve as a precautionary measure for them. The following links have directly been taken from various blogs, articles and websites which depict real life situations.

  1. http://www.moneyville.ca/article/1039536–an-89-year-old-man-s-travel-insurance-mistake
  2. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/03/08/travel-insurance-marketplace.html
  3. http://bc.ctvnews.ca/despite-travel-insurance-140-000-claim-denied-1.1016069
  4. http://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowTopic-g1-i10702-k5744094-Travel_Insurance_Very_bad_experience-Air_Travel.html
  5. http://www.getmantravel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=42&Itemid=99

Resources/References

  1.  Compare travel insurance schemes – http://www.policybazaar.com/travel-insurance/travel-health-insurance.aspx
  2. All insurance under one roof – http://www.insurancepandit.com/travel/travel_insurance.php
  3. Things you need to know about travel insurance – http://www.travelagentcentral.com/travel-insurance/what-do-when-vacations-go-bad
  4. Travel advice from expert – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/columnists/nicktrend/8505286/Travel-advice-the-best-travel-insurance-for-over-65s.html
  5. For NRIs staying in Australia – http://www.immi.gov.au/skilled/457-health-insurance-faq-visa-holder.htm

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