What Is Covered By Travel Insurance?

by SMCIB on Friday, 21 June 2024

What Is Covered By Travel Insurance?

Imagine you’re on the top of a hill and ready to bungee jump. You’re excited and a bit nervous as this is your first time doing something adventurous, but you aren’t afraid- thanks to all those straps and safety mechanisms in place!

Now, this is exactly how travel insurance makes you feel when you’re secured in its safety harness...

While you relish the joy of travel, travel insurance coverage protects you against unexpected bumps along the journey. It is your shield against cancelled flights, lost luggage, sudden illnesses, or accidents abroad. Yet, confusion often arises regarding what travel insurance actually covers.

In this article, we will unravel your doubts and clarify all aspects of what is covered by travel insurance, empowering you to make informed decisions and travel with confidence.

What Is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is like a shield for your trips, covering the expenses and losses that might happen while you are travelling. It comes to your rescue during unexpected situations such as trip cancellation or early return. It helps you get a reimbursement for your non-refundable expenses. If you get sick or injured while away, it covers medical expenses and even helps with emergency transport to a hospital in serious situations.

If you lose your luggage or have it delayed or stolen, a travel insurance policy will reimburse you for what you have lost or for any extra expenses caused by the delay. You also get coverage for worst-case scenarios like accidental death or serious injury, providing financial support to you and your loved ones. Plus, there are services available round the clock for emergencies like medical referrals, lost passports, etc. However, you should keep in mind that not all policies are the same. Hence, ensure that you read the fine print to choose the one that best fits your travel needs.

Seems like every time you backpack, you gotta be insured, no?  As if it’s a mandatory condition! But is that true?

To know more, keep scrolling 

Is Travel Insurance Mandatory?

Travel insurance is not always a must-have, but its requirement depends on various factors that include -

  • Destination Regulations
    Some countries insist that travellers have travel insurance as a prerequisite for entry. For instance, countries in the Schengen Area require proof of travel insurance that includes specific coverage limits for medical emergencies.
  • Tour And Travel Providers
    Certain tour operators, travel agencies, or cruise lines may stipulate that you must have travel insurance as part of their booking conditions.
  • Type Of Trip
    For specific types of travel, like adventure sports or long-term journeys, this policy might be strongly recommended or required by organisations or agencies.

While travel insurance is not obligatory for every destination and circumstance, having it is highly recommended to safeguard yourself against unexpected events and financial setbacks while travelling.

What Are The Types Of Travel Insurance?

Let's explore a few of the different types of travel insurance policies, each designed to cater to the needs of different travellers -

  1. International Travel Insurance
    Going by the name, International travel insurance is meant for your overseas trips.

    It is essential for anyone planning a journey abroad as it offers financial protection against unexpected events like medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost luggage.
  2. Domestic Travel Insurance
    This policy covers unexpected situations such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost baggage when you are travelling within your own country. Even if you are travelling domestically, many such events can lead to significant costs, so having financial protection can be valuable.
  3. Single-Trip Insurance
    Single-trip insurance is designed to cover a single trip, and it expires once the trip is completed. It is simple and provides coverage for the specific duration of the trip.
  4. Multi-Trip Travel Insurance
    This insurance is meant for travellers who often travel to the same destination for business or leisure. This policy can cover multiple trips over a year, offering cost-effective coverage for those who travel regularly.
  5. Group Travel Insurance
    As the name suggests, this one protects the investment of the whole group. Group Travel Insurance provides peace of mind for unexpected trip disruptions, such as cancellations, medical emergencies, etc. It is a popular choice for those organising group tours, ensuring financial protection and a stress-free experience for the entire travel team.

What Does The Travel Insurance Cover?

Let us now get a better understanding of what is covered under travel insurance -

  • Personal Accident Coverage
    If you experience any accidental bodily injuries during the policy period, the insurer will provide the required coverage. This coverage applies when the bodily injury directly leads to your fatality or permanent total disablement within 12 months of its occurrence.
  • Medical Expenses & Medical Evacuation
    When you are in another country and need medical help, this policy has your back -
    • It will pay for the medical costs incurred when you get treated outside India. This includes fees for doctors, hospitals, and local emergency medical transport. If you have dental pain, your insurance covers the immediate relief up to the specified amount in the policy. However, if the dental issue is a result of an accident, then it’ll be covered up to the limit mentioned in your policy.
    • If you experience an accidental injury, sickness, or disease during your trip and need to be taken to a hospital in India, the expenses related to medical evacuation are covered. However, the insurance company or their claims administrator will need to approve the medical evacuation in advance.
    • If you require treatment for mental illness, the insurance covers the related medical expenses up to the specified limits outlined in the policy.
    • Just in case you require emergency medical care for pre-existing diseases, the policy covers the related expenses up to the specified limit mentioned in the policy.
    • If you are hospitalised based on a doctor's recommendation due to illness or accidental bodily injury during the policy period, the insurer will provide coverage according to the limits specified in the policy.
  • Assistance With Repatriation
    Unfortunately, if you pass away due to some accidental body injury or sickness that occurred or first manifested itself during the insured journey, the insurer will cover the reasonable expenses incurred to repatriate you back to India. This coverage extends up to the specified amount in the policy schedule or schedule of benefits.
  • Support For Loss Of Checked Baggage
    If your checked baggage is completely and permanently lost or destroyed, the insurance company will provide compensation in accordance with the limits specified in the policy. However, it is important to note that the company reserves the right to, at its sole discretion, choose to reinstate or replace the checked baggage instead of making direct payment to you.
  • Coverage For Accidental Death & Disability (Common Carrier)
    Say you sustain accidental bodily injury while travelling overseas in a common carrier such as rail, bus, tram, or aircraft.  This injury becomes the sole and direct cause of your fatality or permanent total disablement within 12 months of its occurrence. In this case, this policy will provide the sum insured as per the schedule plus the amount specified under the personal accident section.
  • Coverage For Lost Passport
    If you lose your passport, the company will compensate you for the necessary expenses incurred in obtaining a duplicate passport, up to the specified amount in the policy copy (minus the deductible).
  • Personal Liability Coverage
    If you become legally responsible for compensating third-party civil claims resulting from accidental bodily injury or accidental property damage during a covered journey, the company will provide compensation based on the specified limit mentioned in the policy schedule.
  • Trip Delays
    If your flight departing from or arriving in India is delayed beyond 12 hours from its original scheduled departure time, subject to the terms and conditions, the insurer will provide compensation as outlined in the schedule. This compensation will be paid for every additional 12-hour delay beyond the initial 12 hours up to the maximum amount specified in the schedule.
  • Hospitalisation Daily Allowance
    In case you get hospitalised because of an accident or say an illness that is covered in the policy wordings then the insurance company will provide a daily allowance (as per the schedule) to assist during the hospitalisation period.
  • Coverage For Trip Cancellation
    If you have to cancel your trip before its commencement due to unavoidable reasons, the insurer will provide coverage. This coverage includes loss of personal accommodation or travel charges that were paid or contracted to be paid by you and are not recoverable from any other source.
  • Coverage For Trip Curtailment
    In the event of necessary and unavoidable trip curtailment, i.e., when you end the trip earlier than you planned, the insurance company will provide coverage for the loss of personal accommodation or travel charges that were paid or contracted to be paid by you and are not recoverable from any other source.

It is important to note that these are common coverages provided under travel insurance. The limits and the scope of coverage may vary from insurer to insurer.

Exclusions From Coverage

It is important to understand that the following are not covered under the policy -

  1. Any routine physical or other test that doesn’t objectively indicate any impairment of normal health, including medical treatment obtained within the Republic of India as provided for under the medical expenses & medical evacuation section.
  2. Any medical expenses incurred before the policy inception or beyond the expiry of the policy period, as provided for under the section Medical Expenses & Medical Evacuation.
  3. Suicide, attempted suicide, alcoholism, willfully self-inflicted injury or illness, drunkenness, or the abuse of drugs.
  4. Participation in winter sports, hunting, mountaineering (where ropes or guides are customarily used), caving or potholing, skin diving or other underwater activities, equestrian activities, rafting or canoeing involving white water rapids, professional sports, yachting or boating outside coastal waters (2 miles), or any other hazardous or potentially dangerous sport, unless under the supervision of a trained professional.
  5. Participation in riding or driving in races or rallies.
  6. Partial destruction of baggage or missing contents from the baggage.
  7. Loss or damage to your passport due to detention or confiscation by police, customs, or any other authority.
  8. Loss that is not reported to the appropriate police authority within a day (i.e. 24 hours) of discovery and for which an official report has not been obtained.
  9. Loss caused by your failure to take reasonable actions for guarding your passport.
  10. Claims for valuables, professional equipment, liabilities, or instruments in the baggage.

Please keep in mind that these are some of the exclusions under travel insurance. For a comprehensive list, consider referring to the policy wording.

All in all, it is important to remember that these exclusions may differ from insurer to insurer.

Last Two Cents

Travel insurance typically covers unforeseen events such as trip cancellations, medical emergencies, lost baggage, etc. It provides peace of mind by offering financial protection against unexpected expenses while travelling. Hence, it is extremely crucial to carefully review the specific coverage details outlined in the policy to understand the extent of protection offered. Ultimately, travel insurance aims to safeguard travellers from potential financial losses and unforeseen circumstances.

So next time you’re planning to ice skate in the frozen lakes of Gulmarg, don’t forget to pack your mittens, an extra pair of warmers, and, yeah- Travel Insurance!

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