What Type of Travel Insurance is Best for Your Overseas Trip?


Getting travel insurance when you are on an international trip is very important but you must first know what makes a policy the ‘best’! Generally, a travel policy can be considered ‘best’ when it matches certain criteria in two broad-based categories – coverage and digital availability. It should be best in terms of the cover you get and how you get it.

Scope of Coverage

1.  Should cover emergency medical and dental treatment: This is the very basic factor of any kind of travel insurance . When you are out of the country, you do not have access to your regular healthcare establishments. In a number of countries, healthcare costs can be many times higher than in the home country and this can be out of reach while you are travelling because even if you can mobilize the funds, international money transfer takes time. Travel policy will take care of you if the need for any medical or dental treatment arises.

2.  Should provide a cashless cover option with a large network: The best travel policy is one that comes with access to cashless care so you do not need to pay everything upfront to the hospital. At the same time, the cashless network of the hospitals should be sufficiently large enough that you can access a cashless hospital or clinic while you are travelling. When you are buying international travel insurance, you should make sure that the company has a wide cashless network in the country where you are looking to travel.  As a rule of thumb, the company should have over 1 lakh establishments across the globe in their cashless network.

3.  Should cover the need for medical evacuation: When you are looking to travel for enjoyment and adventure, it is very important to check if the travel insurance you are buying comes with a cover for medical evacuation. Assume that you are on a jungle safari and someone develops a problem that needs immediate medical attention, the cost of an ambulance or any other surface transport vehicle for moving the casualty from location to hospital comes in a case of medical evacuation. Ideally, this should be covered by the travel policy.  Similarly, the policy should also cover the cost of evacuation by air, if needed.

4.  Should cover the need for repatriation of mortal remains: Death is the inevitable and only truth of life and for most people, there is absolutely no way to predict where and when it may come. One always has to be prepared for it and when a person is travelling out of the country, they have to be even more prepared for it. With international travel insurance , it is important to check that the policy provides cover for the cost of repatriation of the mortal remains to the home country in case of death of the policyholder abroad. 

5.  Should provide hospital cash allowance: When you or someone you care for gets admitted to the hospital, there will be some expenses which are usually not considered as medical expenses and cannot be covered under medical costs. For such expenses, the travel insurance should provide for a hospital daily cash allowance. This can be used to cover these small expenses like any payment for food or some hygiene products. Check if this will be given on a regular basis during stay or as a consolidated, one-time reimbursement as part of the final settlement of the claim upon submission of bills.

6.  Should provide baggage related cover: With the travel policy, you should also check that you are getting baggage related cover. In case your baggage or personal items are lost while you are in your host country, you will have to make emergency purchases.  The travel policy should cover for these. Similarly, while the airlines have very robust baggage management processes, sometimes your baggage may get delayed, misrouted or delayed during travel. Sometimes your baggage can even get damaged and completely lost.  In such a case, you should be able to rely on your travel policy to cover the cost of emergency arrangements.

7.  Should provide journey related cover: International air travel is a very complex system and in any complex system, there may be small problems every once in a while. Your flight may get canceled or delayed; you may need to extend your hotel stay because of hospitalization. There is always the risk of theft, mugging or robbery as well. Although rare, plane hijackings are also a risk and cause immense distress. In such cases, your travel policy should come to your aid. 

Online Availability – Why it is Your Best Choice…

1.  It does not require any medical tests: A good travel insurance policy does not require you to undergo a medical test before you can buy it. Besides, there is no way to predict any accidents anyway. So why create extra expense and hassles of medical tests?

2.  It is very cheap: Buying online travel insurance is generally the best way because it works out to be much cheaper than buying it through an agent or through insurance agents or sales counters positioned on an airport.  For best deals, you should look at buying travel insurance directly from the company website.

3.  You can buy it anywhere: Online travel policy is very convenient because you do not need to visit the company sales office. Imagine having to visit the offices of ten companies to collect quotes on the policy because you want to get the policy. With online insurance, you can simply buy it while sitting on your couch.

4.  You can buy it even at the last moment: Online travel insurance is also a good choice because you can buy it anywhere, even at the last moment before your departure flight. You can be sitting in the airport lounge and open your laptop or a mobile phone app, choose the policy and make the payment online. You will have the policy in your hand then and there.

Finally for a travel insurance policy to be considered ‘best’, it is very important that it comes with 24 X 7 customer support and you should be able to reach them from anywhere in the world. Multiple communication channels should be available as well. Most of these factors are an absolute must for a travel policy and any features over and above this are a welcome extra.

Disclaimer – The above information is for illustrative purposes only. For more details, please refer to policy wordings and prospectus before concluding the sales