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    Why you should not ignore travel insurance

    Multi-trip travel insurance is ideal for businessmen, corporates or entrepreneurs who keep travelling for work or individuals travelling more than 3 times a year.


    Travel Insurance during an international holiday protects the insured from any unforeseen and emergency health situation. It also covers emergency evacuations to the nearest and best hospital, says Parag Ved, EVP and Head Consumer Lines, Tata AIG.


    As travel insurance covers medical and non-medical part, it really helps the customer during any emergency medical event, personal accident, in case of baggage loss, baggage delay, trip delay, trip cancellation, etc.


    In an interview with Moneycontrol’s Hiral Thanawala, Ved talks about the importance of having travel insurance, benefits of multi-trip travel insurance, travel insurance for senior citizens travelling abroad and much more.


    Q. Travel insurance is part of travel planning where typically the first stage is when a traveller is researching a destination and insurance is often the last step. How to change the thinking of the urban traveller?


    A. This particular mindset is witnessing a major shift in the international travel market, where insurance is considered an essential and critical part of the entire journey process. More so because the cost of unforeseen perils in unfamiliar environments that the traveller is exposed to is huge and can gravely affect the whole trip.


    In the domestic segment, consumer awareness is still at a nascent stage and is likely to improve in a few years. In India alone, the international travel segment is growing at 15 percent annually, with approximately 5 crore passengers travelling overseas and another 15 crore travelling within India alone.


    With the right awareness initiatives, consumers will grow more mindful about the potential risks they are exposed to while travelling even in the domestic sector.


    Just as one hardly misses lugging medicines, toolkits and other essentials during their trips, it is time that consumers start considering travel insurance as a ‘not-to-be-missed’ item to help them be in-control of huge medical expenses for ailments or injuries suffered during the trip.


    Q. Highlight the benefits of a multi-trip travel insurance and who should buy this policy?


    A. Multi-trip travel insurance is ideal for businessmen, corporates or entrepreneurs who keep travelling for work or individuals travelling more than three times a year. The essential benefit of this policy is that it allows the insured to take multiple trips within the coverage period of one year. It is cost-effective and rules out the need for policy renewal reminders.


    Q. Is it possible to withdraw your travel insurance cover if you don’t take a trip?


    A. Yes, one can withdraw from the policy before the policy start date or travelling date whichever is earlier.


    Q. What does travel insurance cover for natural disasters during international and domestic holidays?

    A. Travel Insurance policy covers trip cancellations in the event of natural disasters. In addition, the insurance company has medical emergency evacuation feature which assists in the insured to evacuate from the accident location to the nearest hospital or a safer location.


    Q. Are pre-existing diseases covered under travel insurance for senior citizens travelling abroad?


    A. Generally, pre-existing diseases are not covered in any travel insurance policy but some insurance providers have unique products that covers pre-existing diseases in life-threatening situations.


    Q. What are the circumstances insurance companies generally deny claims in travel insurance?


    A. Travel insurance claims are denied in many situations. Generalized exclusion in medical cases is pre-existing diseases.


    Non-medical cases are denied on a number of grounds because of multiple reasons as per policy. Extreme adventure sports are also not covered by travel policy. The insured is further not covered for any expenses incurred directly or indirectly in case of travelling against the advice of a physician for obtaining treatment. Cases of suicide or attempted suicide, war, terrorism, illegal acts, dangerous sports are excluded from the coverage.


    Q. What are the new developments we can expect from the travel insurance industry in the coming year?


    A. Today, a consumer has an array of options to pick from, owing to the rapid pace of the growth momentum underscoring the travel industry and adoption of digital as a medium.


    In travel Insurance space, more than the product, service breadth cuts across the clutter. Customer experience journey is the crucial factor so the industry is geared towards pushing its traditional boundaries and setting newer benchmarks in notching up its capability levels so as to offer unmatched service experience to the consumer.


    The market may adopt concept of non-medical product for short haul travels. In domestic insurance, multiple benefit and non-medical products may be the biggest influencers. As an industry, we need to take note of the domestic insurance segment and with improved awareness levels at the consumer end, insurance companies will have a major role to play in the coming year.


    Source: Money control, Nov. 21 2018


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