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Friday, November 13, 2015

Why Travel Insurance is critical?

When we plan our travel, we expect only good things to happen. We expect everything to happen as per our plan and we look forward to a happy and memorable trip. But in any travel- particularly international ones, there are many things that often go wrong.

Consider these examples:
  1. Bali airport was closed for several days recently, resulting in thousands of stranded passengers (read my Bali experience here)
  2. Due to sandstorm Dubai airport had to be shut down for several hours earlier this year.
  3. Important travel documents like passports get stolen or lost causing major trouble
  4. International flights often get delayed or cancelled due to various reasons unpredictable and not in our control
  5. Our health may betray us when we need it to be at its best. Facing illness in a foreign land could cause huge expenses we never anticipated or factored.
  6. Despite best of the technology in baggage tracking, airlines occasionally misplace your checked in luggage- sometimes they take several days to recover it, leaving you high and dry without your essential stuff. (Recently British Airways misplaced Sachin Tendulkar's baggage and faced wrath of whole nation)
  7. Ever increasing threat of terror is always a factor for concern
While you hope for the best experience, it helps to be prepared for the worst. For an additional few dollars, having a travel insurance policy handy assures peace of mind whenever the unexpected events unfold.
You can either take a huge risk by trying to save a few dollars and facing all the uncertainty yourself (and spending a fortune if things go wrong) or offload that risk and expense to an insurance company by buying a decent travel insurance package that takes care of such potential mishaps. I would recommend the later.

While there are many companies offering Travel Insurance, you should keep in mind following aspects before selecting one:
  • Does the travel insurance company have a 24x7 customer care that can be reached with ease in case of an event? If such a helpline doesn’t exist or reaching them is near impossible, avoid such companies
  • Does the travel insurance company offer cashless hospitalization? For what kind of incidents? If you have to pay in cash and claim later, trust me you are very likely to run out of cash trying to pay hospital bill abroad.
  • What is the compensation paid in case of theft, loss of baggage/documents etc? Is that compensation adequate for you to overcome the crisis? (Example- if you lose your passport, you will have to go to Indian Embassy in the country where you are in, have to cancel your immediate travel and extend the stay for few days while you get new passport etc)
Read Anita Bora’s experience of losing her passport abroad.

2 comments :

Gowri said...

Now the Paris attacks will also mean so many problems for travel plans made long ago. Think how many tourists are stuck in and en route right now.

Of all the problems faced, losing passport has to be the worst. It involves so much paper work ,fees, trip to a Gov office. Another active Twitter person also lost his/her passport and got help from the Minister thru twitter recently (choosing not to name because that person here). Overall, i prefer to stay in a secure hotel and leave passport in room/safe rather than risk loss of it on the street while roaming around all day.

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Agree. Thanks for your comments Gowri. Hotel locker is the safest place, but sometimes we will have to carry it along.