Buying travel insurance? Here are 5 mistakes you should avoid
- In some countries like the US, medical expenses can be very high, so not buying an adequate cover can be risky.
- It is important to understand all the exclusions under the policy to understand clearly what is covered and what is not.
- When buying travel insurance, find out how to contact the insurer in case of an emergency.
When booking a trip, we plan for destinations to visit, where to stay, what to do, what to eat, what to shop for and so on, but travel insurance, one of the most important parts of planning a trip, often comes as an afterthought. Now, with Indians travelling more than ever before, we look at five common mistakes to avoid when buying travel insurance.
The last minute purchase
Buying travel insurance is crucial, so leaving it for the last moment is a mistake that should be avoided. Doing so means one has no time to compare different policies, and choose the one that best suits their needs.
“People also often overlook the importance of comparing different insurance plans, and choosing the one that best suits their needs. Failing to consider factors like coverage limits, deductibles, and emergency medical expenses could leave them underinsured or paying more than necessary,” says Pankaj Vashistha, Founder & CEO, Policy Ensure, an insurance aggregator.
Travel insurance policies will not cover everything, and even if they do, they would be covered subject to certain limits. “One mistake is not carefully reading and understanding the policy terms and conditions. This can result in surprises later when a claim is denied due to specific exclusions or limitations,” says Vashistha.
For example, your insurance policy is unlikely to cover you in case you are planning to go bungee jumping or indulge in other adventure activities. Also, your travel insurance may cover your gadgets up to a certain limit, and your expensive laptop may not be covered fully. So it is important to read all the exclusions and understand what all is covered.
Having enough sum assured
Medical expenses vary from country to country and can be very high for some countries. So, it is important to always buy adequate travel insurance as required and not always go for the basic plan.
“A common mistake is not purchasing enough coverage for example, individual travelling to US, and Canada should buy higher sum insured of $5 lakh as in case of medical emergency or evacuation the expenses will be extremely high,” says Nikhil Apte, Chief Product Officer, Product Factory (Health), Royal Sundaram General Insurance.
Margin for the return date
Sometimes a trip may get extended for several reasons, and if travel insurance is bought for the exact number of days of the trip, one will not be covered.“ It is always advised to keep a margin of return date, as in case of trip extension by a few days your policy will be still valid on your return journey,” says Apte.
Understanding how to contact the insurer
Encountering a tragedy in a foreign country where there is a language barrier can be incredibly stressful, and it’s easy to forget to inform your insurance provider promptly. However, failing to do so can compound your problems.
Travel insurance policies typically stipulate that if the insurer is not informed within 24 hours (or 48 hours in certain cases), no coverage will be provided. It is advisable to choose an insurance provider with a 24×7 helpline, or who responds promptly via email. Before embarking on your trip, review your travel policy documents and make note of essential contact numbers and email addresses. This preparation will help ensure that you can promptly inform your insurance provider in case of an emergency or unfortunate event during your travels.