Travel goals are no longer just about luxury and relaxation. Seeing the world is now an adventure! If you are young, bold and sans young dependents, nothing stops you from planning a mountain trek, cycling tour in Europe or a deep-sea dive in the Indian ocean.
Don’t get too excited, this article is not short listing your best adventure holidays! Rather we are going to talk about the one thing you definitely need to carry along with the right clothes, footwear and that selfie stick – a comprehensive travel insurance plan.
Why think about the worst case?
Its not so much about thinking of the worst case, rather its about being prepared for the worst case.
A fellow writer and ex-colleague, Pooja Sarkar, ran into trouble sometime back when she travelled to France and got her wallet stolen on the very first day. Sarkar not only had cash in there, but also her passport and cards. By the end of it, all the money got stolen from her bank account too, as her cards were linked to it.
There are so many things that can potentially go wrong. Sarkar put things in perspective, “For people like me who travel solo it’s important to be even more watchful and prepared for emergencies. Contrary to popular belief, places in Europe are dens for thieves who run away with your belongings.”, she said.
Being robbed aside, even the slightest accident while you are travelling abroad can cost you an arm and a leg. What does not cost a lot, is a travel insurance plan to protect you against these very high costs of something going wrong.
But what could go wrong???
Several things if you are not careful or just plain unlucky. Here is a short list just to put things in perspective, but its not an exhaustive one.
- Airlines loses your luggage or it gets left behind at the connecting port
- Getting robbed of your belongings, money and cards
- You are enjoying the view on an extremely scenic trek, but trip, fall and break a limb
- You wake up in the middle of the night with a tooth ache that is so bad, it’s giving you stomach cramps
- Flight delays which make you late to reach your mother’s 50th birthday back home
- Accident with your rented car; car is insured but you are not
And these are only some things one can think of that could go wrong. There are several other unseen possibilities that travel insurance can help with.
How does it help?
A comprehensive travel insurance plan will provide financial assistance in case of medical emergencies, luggage related losses and losses around your cost of the journey itself. The cover can be taken only for the duration of your trip, so you don’t pay This is the amount you pay for keeping an insurance policy active. Usually paid in a lump sum at the start of the policy term or annually through the term, it includes all the charges and levies by the insurance... More for when its not needed. Its all available online, you needn’t bother about going into an insurance office or dealing with insurance sales personnel.
For a regular, healthy 30-something solo traveler going to various destinations in Europe, a $250,000 sum insured travel policy can cost anywhere between ₹2,500 to ₹3,500 for a maximum of 30 days of travel (multi trips). Imagine if you are careless about travel insurance and the worst-case scenario plays out, you end up spending $50,000 instead of just the ₹2,500? How foolish is that?!
The sum insured gains importance when it comes to emergency medical expenses, you should pick a maximum sum insured on the basis of what it could potentially cost you to be hospitalised for a few days in the country you are travelling to.
Other than the sum insured here are the main things you should look out for in a travel insurance plan.
- Personal belongings and important documents
- Medical emergencies
- Travel related delays, postponements or emergencies
- Natural disasters
- Insurer’s record of settling claims
Just paying the This is the amount you pay for keeping an insurance policy active. Usually paid in a lump sum at the start of the policy term or annually through the term, it includes all the charges and levies by the insurance... More is not enough
Remember this is insurance, there will be procedure. Procedural issues are hard to predict in advance as each case will be different. At a bare minimum, you need to have the 24-hour customer service helpline number handy with you, along with your policy details and payment receipts.
Sarkar was unable to claim any of her loss in France because at the time she wasn’t aware that she needed to make the claim while she was still overseas. When she tried to do so after reaching home, it was already too late. Not only that, when her cousin was robbed (again at an overseas destination), the customer support numbers were unreachable or not working and he too was unsuccessful in getting help when it was needed most.
Ensuring you know the basic claims procedure is as important as getting the insurance itself.
Make sure that the insurance company number you have is working and gets answered by someone. If possible, track the claims settlement record of the insurer you are choosing. It’s utterly useless to get insurance and not be able to claim it. But, being prepared with all the details is your job.
Travel light, travel happy but ultimately to protect yourself against adverse monetary consequences of travel mishaps make sure you get travel insurance and make sure you know how to claim it!