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How To Claim Overseas Travel Insurance – Forbes Advisor INDIA

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The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the travel landscape forever. Health and wellness are a top concern now while travelling, especially to foreign countries. Hence, whether you are planning a journey for work, leisure, or studies, it is crucial to have travel insurance for absolute protection in a foreign land.

Besides being a mandatory prerequisite in certain countries, travel insurance is also the most effective shield you can have in case of an emergency. Often, policyholders don’t know how to go about making a claim if they need to. Thus, to ensure a safe journey for you and your family, here is everything you need to know about a travel policy and, most importantly, how to make a travel insurance claim in a foreign land.

What Does Your Policy Broadly Cover?

A travel policy, particularly in this pandemic era, is a net financial protection against unexpected incidents and health emergencies that may occur while travelling. Depending on the terms and conditions, the policy covers everything from baggage loss, flight cancellations and theft to medical emergencies. After the pandemic, travel insurance policies also provide coverage against Covid-19, including all variants, for both domestic and international travel.

The next important step is to select an appropriate policy that suits your needs. Here are the different types of travel insurance policies for different kinds of travellers:

• Single trip insurance

This policy is designed for leisure and business tourists who plan to visit multiple countries during one trip. This policy remains active till they return to their homeland or until the expiry of the policy. However, they are extendable and offer swift claims. Furthermore, these policies cover the expense of urgent dental care and standard coverage.

• Multi-trip insurance policy

A multi-trip travel insurance plan is suitable for frequent travelers as it offers coverage for numerous trips within a year. However, this policy comes with a timeline of 12 months from the commencement date and directs all travel to be done inside that window. Further, the fine print in these policies frequently restricts the travel duration to 30 to 70 days per trip. So, checking for any restrictions is recommended.

Now that the trip type is sorted, the next factor you need to be aware of is your requirements as a traveller. Let’s understand that-

• Individual travel insurance

As the name suggests, this policy is for solo travelers when traveling abroad. Along with standard coverages, this policy delivers myriad benefits, from the compensation of lost luggage to emergency medical or accidental treatment, repatriation in case of medical emergency and for mortal remains, dental expenses following an accident, etc.

• Student travel insurance

Student travel insurance is a must-have for students aspiring to study abroad. Valid for one to three years and also extendable, the student insurance plan is available to people between 16-35 years. It offers them comprehensive coverage against risks like flight cancellation and rescheduling, baggage and passport loss, family visits in case of medical emergencies, legal expenses, bail bonds and third-party liabilities. Apart from that, it also covers tuition fees refund in case of study interruption, loss of laptop etc.

• Senior citizen travel insurance​

This insurance covers people between the ages of 61 and 99. The insured gets protected against ICU costs, doctor visits, and cashless hospitalization in addition to regular travel insurance coverage. While many policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions by default, there are several policies available now that do offer adequate coverage for emergencies arising out of pre-existing conditions, provided they have been declared clearly in advance.

• Family floater policies​​

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This policy protects the entire family under one umbrella plan, including the spouse and two children, making it budget-friendly. But, it is vital to review the age of the dependents, as it mostly doesn’t go above 21 years. This kind of plan takes care of any risks to more than one member of the family and eliminates the need for every traveler to purchase an individual plan.

Once the policy is purchased, then comes the crucial next step – knowing how to make a claim if and when the situation demands it. While most policyholders don’t take this scenario into account and repent later, it is always better to know your policy inside out beforehand.

Related: Best Travel Insurance Plans In India

How to Make a Travel Insurance Claim in a Foreign Land

Most travelers are under the misconception that they can file a claim once their trip is over. Whereas the fact is, anyone holding a valid travel policy can initiate it anytime, as most insurance firms now provide an online process. Time is of utmost importance while making a claim. The essential steps to follow in the case of any travel insurance policy purchased are-

  • First and foremost, remember to notify the insurer or broker about the incident or medical condition within the designated time frame. Alternatively, send them a mail or ask someone else to do it on your behalf if you aren’t in a condition to do so. This will serve as a validation of your timely communication.
  • Have a travel insurance policy number and emergency contact or helpline number handy.
  • Maintain a copy of the airline tickets, receipts, documents, hospital and pharmacy bills, hotel reservations, and payments as evidence for a smooth and effortless claim process.
  • Keep your emergency contact information and travel insurance policy number close to you.
  • Have your ID cards and proofs to verify the information you’ve entered in your travel insurance form. Cross-checking is advised to make sure there are no mistakes, as even a slight error can lead to the rejection of a claim.

In addition to the measures listed above, the key actions in the case of specific policies are:

  • Medical and Accidental Cases: You will be required to submit proof of medical reports, prescriptions, x-rays, payments made, etc. These should be dated, signed, and stamped by the hospital or clinic. You will additionally need to submit an FIR report if the accident involves a third party. Pre-existing conditions should also be disclosed when purchasing coverage to avoid having a claim denied.
  • Loss of Passport or Belongings: This is a crucial document without which you will be stranded in a foreign land. Thus, take action at the earliest by informing the insurance provider and lodging an FIR at the local police station. Besides, have copies of the costs expended to obtain the new or on return of the old document, as well as the receipt from the embassy and passport office, the canceled check, and both passports. To shield yourself better, carrying a photocopy of the passport is always advised.
  • Loss or Delay of Checked Baggage: This is a common scenario that travelers are aware of, especially when heading to the UK. But, to get compensated for it, you will require your travel ticket, boarding pass, passport copy, baggage complaint proof and delivery receipts of items purchased to manage until the delivery of the bag and the copy of the delivered luggage.

Elements to Consider Before Purchasing Trip Insurance

  • Sum Insured: Adequately securing yourself should be an essential consideration when getting this policy. However, a higher sum insured will also result in a higher premium. Thus, the deciding factors should be based on the inclusion, ie, check medical benefits, coverage, cashless options, network hospitals, and any claim you can receive against it. So, evaluate the benefits and then decide the amount.
  • Claims processes: Insurance is bought with the expectation that if a claim is raised, the process should be hassle-free and quick. Don’t forget to carefully compare the claim settlement ratio and other features for a seamless claims experience.
  • Included: Every traveller’s needs are different from each other. So the features they opt for should also be based on their personal requirement. For instance, you could opt for a plan with personal accident cover or coverage for PEDs or a plan that covers home burglary in your absence as per your preference.

What is not covered?

With its many inclusions, a travel insurance claim also comes with some exclusions that should be kept in mind. The two key exclusions are that one cannot get coverage for a planned hospitalization abroad under travel insurance and secondly, the losses due to a personal change of plans is not covered either. It will only be covered if there’s a valid reason as per policy terms and conditions. Also, there could be mishaps due to adventure sports, influence of alcohol, drugs, etc. that won’t be covered.

How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

Travel policies come in various forms and packages, which is why no one-size-fits approach works here. The price is decided based on the traveller’s age, country of travel and journey cost. For instance, if someone over 60 years old purchases it, the cost may run higher. Nevertheless, it is still a lower cost compared to what you might have to shell out from your pocket during an emergency.

To give a fair idea, a month-long trip to the US with a sum insured of $100,000 can be covered for a premium of INR 2,000 to INR 3,000 for a 30-year-old.

To recapitulate, the travel insurance industry has seen exponential growth post-pandemic as more people are getting cautious about guarding themselves against uncertain Covid-19 viruses, new diseases like Monkeypox and Tomato Fever, and other factors while on a trip. Moreover, with significant advantages and a straightforward claim process, it is now becoming an essential and popular policy for travellers.

But, like any insurance policy, it also comes with a set of clauses, making the terms and conditions vital to read to avoid surprises during an excursion. Therefore, with the festive season around the corner, the skies are all set for an upswing in outbound travel in the forthcoming months till the New Year. So, don’t forget to secure your trip with travel insurance.

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