Without a doubt, buying travel insurance is the most confusing part of planning an international travel trip. Is buying it worth the money? Which is the best one to choose and which company offer the best coverage?
Before getting on to these queries, first of all, let’s start with the definition of travel insurance:
Travel Insurance can be defined as an insurance policy designed to provide financial security against eventualities which can impact a tourist’s travel experience. Some of the popular benefits of a travel insurance policy include coverage for health emergencies, coverage for trip expenses, luggage theft, trip cancellation, etc.
Do you need travel insurance?
Although it’s a personal choice to make, if you look into the sheer number of problems faced by overseas travelers every year, the answer to this question would always be yes.
What if you get your leg fractured while trekking? Are you ready to spend a hefty amount as the hospital bill to get that fixed? Or, what if you contract a disease while traveling? What would you do in the absence of overseas travel insurance?
These things constantly keep happening to travelers and can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars.
However, there are a lot of questions and concerns associated with travel insurance and it’s quite a confusing topic to discuss. Therefore, we have tried to answer a few of the most common questions & concerns people have while buying travel insurance:
- Does travel insurance work as health insurance while you are overseas? Can I visit a doctor anytime I want?
No, travel insurance is much more than a general health insurance plan. Not only does it have some medical components attached to cover sudden illnesses or injuries, but it also covers you against trip cancellation, theft or loss of your baggage, any kind of trip interruption, emergency evacuation, etc.
Now, for the second question, as it’s a not a general health insurance plan, it shouldn’t be taken for one. It is there to financially cover you during unexpected emergencies. If you want to visit a doctor for a routine health check-up, it is certainly not going to cover that.
- Can I get treatment for a disease/illness I am already suffering with?
Overseas travel insurance policies only cover those diseases which are contracted while the insured is on a trip. If you have an existing medical condition, it is not going to be covered by your overseas travel insurance plan.
Additionally, in some cases, it has been found that if you get sick while using one travel plan and extend it or buy a new travel plan, your illness might be considered as a pre-existing condition and hence, won’t be covered under the new policy.
- My credit card comes with certain protections, would that be sufficient for me?
As a fact, credit cards offer very limited protection. Some of them would provide protection against stolen items, medical expenses and trip cancellations (only if you have used your card to book the flight tickets for your trip).
And, even if your credit card covers you against certain circumstances, the coverage so provided would be so low that you would be shocked to see the difference in the amount you would need to pay out of your pocket and the coverage provided by the credit card. Therefore, relying solely on your credit card for the insurance won’t be a good decision while going abroad.
- How does travel insurance actually work? Do I get a card that I need to show to the doctor?
If you are stuck in a major medical situation that needs medical assistance, such as emergency repatriation or overnight hospitalization, your overseas travel insurance card will help you contact the emergency assistance team to make the required arrangements as well as to get approval.
In a day-care situation, you would have to get your claim reimbursed from your insurance company. Make it a point to keep all your documents with you, such as medical bills, etc. because in any case, your insurer is not going to pay you based on your word. They will need the required documents to carry out the procedure.
- I have gone through the online reviews and the customers weren’t too positive about their experiences. What should I do?
Most people rarely go through the fine print of their policies and assume that everything will be covered if anything goes wrong. However, this is never the case.
There is a reason why these finely printed T&C are mentioned in the policy documents and shared with the customers. This is done to help them get a clear picture of the inclusions & exclusions in the policy. Also, most of us don’t write good reviews when we are helped by the company but always a hue and cry when something goes wrong.
Hence, it’s always recommended to take these insurance reviews with a grain of salt. Every customer has a different experience with a company and its services. For some, a company can be good while for others it can be categorized as the worst. Therefore, generalizing the outcome of reviews/experiences will do more harm than good. It would be better to have a detailed conversation with your agent before signing the deal to avoid any hassle later on.
- I am a senior citizen. Will I get overseas travel insurance?
Yes, you can certainly get overseas travel insurance. However, the premium could be on the higher side due to high-risk factors associated with senior citizens.
Wrapping it Up:
No one likes to think about the negative factors while going on a trip, but problems always come unannounced and without a good overseas travel insurance plan, an unexpected incident like theft or injury can ruin your whole traveling experience. Just make sure to follow the universal rule of going through the fine prints as almost 99% of your questions and concerns would be sorted.