The US and some European countries make it binding on incoming travelers to have overseas medical cover, by making it a pre condition for a visa. Such compulsions aside, even if you are traveling to a country where travel cover is not mandatory, it helps to have ravel insurance to fall back on in case of any travel related risks. WHAT IS IT? Travel insurance covers you for risks you might be exposed to on an overseas trip. Typically, it covers death, personal accident, medical expenses, repatriation (in the event of death abroad, the cost incurred in bringing the body back to the native country), loss of checked baggage, delay in receiving checked baggage, loss of passport and third party liability. Precisely how much value is derived from the nonmedical covers that are part of this policy is debatable, though, for it's quite possible that such cover is already being offered to you by another source. For instance, in the event of baggage loss or a delayed flight, the airline will anyway compensate you. And if you do feel the need for additional cover, before buying it as part of your travel insurance policy, check out the add on benefits on your global credit card it might cover you adequately for these risks. The cost of travel insurance depends on your age, duration of travel and the countries you plan to visit. Premiums increase with age and with an increase in the duration of your stay. Also, insurance for travel to the US and Canada costs far more, due to the high cost of medical services in these countries, than for travel to an Asian country. FINE PRINT 1. All travel insurance policies carry a 'deductible', of generally$ 100. 2. In case of loss of checked baggage, generally, an insurer pays a pre specified value. Having said that, the insurer reserves the right to, replace the lost articles, or pay an amount equivalent to the value of the lost articles. At the time of making a claim, you'll have to submit a 'property irregularity report', which is basically a certification from the airline that your baggage has been lost. The other pre requisite for making a claim under this section is that the checked baggage should be lost on an international flight. Illustratively, if you are traveling from New Delhi to Boston with a flight changeover (not a connecting flight) in New York, you can make a claim if you lose baggage during the New Delhi New York flight, but not if the loss occurs on the New York Boston leg. If an international airline delays the delivery of your checked baggage by more than 12 hours, you can claim a maximum of $100 towards emergency purchases of items in your baggage. In order to do so, you will have to submit a 'nondelivery certificate' from the airline while raising a claim under this section. Also, any reimbursement claimed under this section is deducted from any amount given to you under the 'loss of checked baggage' section. in case of loss of passport, an insurer will reimburse you actual expenses incurred towards the issuance of a duplicate passport, up to the maximum allowed under your policy. However, a claim can't be made if the loss of passport is due to a delay, confiscation or detention by the customs, police or local authorities, or if you fail to report the theft to the police within 24 hours of the discovery. 5. Under the personal liability section of the policy, you can file a claim for accidental injuries or property damage caused by you to a third party. However, rein in your pet if you are traveling with one damages due to its antics are not covered. Also excluded are injuries you cause to a third party during the use of aircraft, boats, parachutes, hot air balloons and firearms. EXCLUSIONS 1. Treatment for existing medical conditions, traveling against the advice of your physician, receiving or awaiting treatment, or traveling to get treatment. 2. Suicide, alcoholism, venereal disease and HIV related illnesses. 3. Losses while traveling on a non licensed flight. 4. Injury or damage due to adventure sports, riding or driving in races or rallies, hunting, rafting or yachting. 5. Manual work and hazardous occupation (say welding, fire fighting, security guard). 6. Needless exposure to peril (the exception to this is if you are trying to save human life), criminal or illegal acts. TIPS 1. Since the premium on travel insurance policies increases with the duration of stay, it makes sense to take the policy only for the travel period. The increase in premium from one time slab to the next can be steep. Even if you're not sure of your travel plans, you needn't buy a safety buffer, as all insurers let you extend your policy period even while you're traveling. Buy cover for the minimum travel duration planned, and keep extending it along your journey. 2. At the time of taking the policy, remember to take the list of region specific toll free contact numbers from your insurer. In case of any queries or claims related to your policy, all you need to do is call on the nearest toll free number, and your insurer's representative in that area will help you out. 3. When it comes to buying travel insurance packages, it pays to look beyond the premiums, specifically at the claims procedure (whether cashless insurance is readily available) and the access offered to local (country specific) hospitals. If you seek admission in one of the empanelled hospital (you can get a list of such hospitals from your insurer), you can walk away without paying a dime. If you're admitted to hospitals that are not empanelled with your insurer, you might need to pay upfront and subsequently raise a claim with the insurer along with the required paperwork (a filled up claims form, prescriptions and medical records and cash receipts). 4. Some insurers don't cover you for injuries or death while driving, or traveling on, a two wheeler (four wheelers are covered). Those who do will make good a claim from you only if, at the time of your accident, you were carrying a driving license valid in the country you were visiting and were wearing a helmet. So, if zipping around on a two wheeler is on your itinerary. look for a policy that offers such cover and make sure to carry an international driving license. MAKING A CLAIM In case of any health related claim, call the nearest toll free number given by your insurer. If you need to go to a hospital, your insurer's representative will give you a list of the hospitals with whom the insurer has tied ups. You can walk into any of these hospitals, show them your policy, get treated and walk away without paying anything. The hospital will settle the claim with your insurer. You can also go to hospitals not empanelled with the insurer. However, in this case, the settlement will not be in the cashless mode you'll have to foot the hospital bill and get it reimbursed from your insurer on your return to the country. Along with the claim form, you'll have to attach a copy of your policy and hospital bills. For non medical claims (loss of checked baggage, delay in receiving checked baggage, loss of passport and third party liability), you'll have to furnish the requisite proof to get compensation. 11 Of great value to frequent travelers, a baggage insurance policy covers the risk of loss of accompanying baggage due to accident or theft. WHAT IS IT? Baggage insurance can be bought as part of the householders' package policy or as a standalone policy. In the latter case, though, only those insurers from whom you have bought some other insurance cover will be willing to issue you this policy. Insurers charge a premium of 0. 75 per cent of the sum insured of the baggage. In value terms, that works out to Rs 750 for a sum assured of Rs I lakh. If your claim is accepted, you will be reimbursed the approximate value of your baggage, up to a maximum of the sum insured. FINE PRINT 1.The policy covers only loss of baggage; there's no cover for damaged baggage. 2. The policy doesn't cover loss of baggage during travel within the city limits of your place of residence. Say, you are taking a train from New Delhi, where you stay, to Mumbai. Your policy comes into force from the time you reach the railway station in New Delhi from where you are to board your train. In other words, you don't have a case if you lose your baggage during the journey to the station. Any loss at the station is covered, as also at all places in other cities. 3. No compensation will be paid for theft of baggage from a car if it was unlocked at the time of the incident. 4. You can make a claim with only one entity. So, if the airline compensates you for lost baggage, you cannot raise the same claim with your insurer. There are checks in place to prevent multiple payments against one claim. in the above case, for example, to raise a claim with your insurer, you'll have to get an undertaking from your airline that your baggage has been lost and that you haven't been compensated for the loss. However, since the airline has compensated you for the loss, in normal circumstances, it won't issue such a document.
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