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Why is Travel Insurance Necessary?

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Wed, 05/27/2015 - 15:29


Individual travel insurance

Even the most frequent of travellers are bogged down by monotonous travel related paper work. Amongst all formalities associated with travel, insurance is viewed as the most unnecessary. If not mandatory or paid for by the employer, most frequent travellers in India see travel insurance as an obligation and a waste of money that must be avoided as much as possible.

They also feel that travel mishaps (if not too severe) are actually a part of the travel experience. Let’s take the example of Mr. Desai – a diamond merchant who travels around the globe for his business. After 15 years as an entrepreneur Mr. Desai has experienced quite a few mishaps. After witnessing dozens of cancelled flights, stolen documents and money, he thought he had seen it all. His last trip however made him realize how mistaken he was

During the course of his trip to California, he suffered a life threatening heart attack that required immediate surgery and two weeks of hospitalization. Without any travel insurance, he had to shell out close to $200,000 (3 Crore Rupees) for treatment expenses from his own pocket. Like Mr. Desai there are a lot of travelers who do not bother to insure themselves primarily because of the limited number of days of the stay during these visits and also due to lack of awareness of the benefits that one can enjoy if insured.

Unpredictable Situations

Unpredictable weather conditions contribute substantially to botched travel plans. Imagine getting stranded in an expensive city like New York due to a blizzard. Such circumstances result in cancelled or delayed flights. Not only are passengers required to take care of stay and food expenses till the next mode of transport is available but also lump additional costs on account of missed connecting flights. Adding to this is the sheer uncertainty of how soon would things return to normalcy.

During this time, if one does not have the security of insurance, incurring even the normal costs would burn an enormous hole in one’s pocket and cause a huge setback in one’s plans. A blizzard or a typhoon or any natural disaster can batter your holiday and result in unmanageable cost escalation. Ignoring the possibilities of occurrence of such situations could lead to serious financial trouble and mental restlessness.

Other than natural catastrophes, facing health problems while travelling to the US could make you spend thousands of dollars. Keeping in mind, the high cost of treatment in the US, getting travel insurance before you pack your bag is utmost necessary to mitigate any kind of risks incurred during the travel.

Preach and Practice

Taking risks is important but it is better to be safe than sorry!

There are several questions you must ask yourself honestly while trying to determine whether to buy
travel insurance:

  • What is the duration of your stay?
  • Can you afford the cost of the trip back home if an emergency arises and you need to get back outside your schedule?
  • If you or someone traveling with you falls ill, will you be able to afford the treatment costs abroad?

Consider buying a policy which is basic, affordable and most importantly covers medical costs, cancellation costs and personal liabilities. There are 5 main categories of travel insurance:

  • Medical Expense
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Trip cancellation
  • Accidental death (in common carrier)

If you need a more comprehensive policy you can look at other add-ons like loss of checked-in baggage, delays etc. This would give you peace of mind while travelling and insure effective coverage. According to your need, you can choose and opt for the most suited plan for yourself.

When the bags are packed and you are ready to go, make sure you return with good memories and not bills.

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Bharti AXA General Insurance Company Ltd is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises, a leading Indian business group and AXA, a world leader in financial protection.

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