Travel insurance :All you needs to know before buying

By | November 25, 2015

Travel insurance

Travel Insurance

What is Travel Insurance Policy ?

Travel Insurance offers insurance protection while you travel. Travel Insurance may be called by different names by insurance companies. It is important for you to check and understand whether the policy covers domestic travel or overseas travel or both. Travel Insurance protects you and/or family against travel related accidents, unexpected medical expenditure during travel, losses such as baggage loss, loss of passport etc and interruption or delays in flights or delayed arrival of baggage etc.

You must read and understand what the policy you are considering exactly covers. Do ask your insurer and/or agent or broker questions to clear all your doubts and go through the terms and conditions of the cover thoroughly. Travel Insurance normally offers cover only during a specific period of travel. However, some insurance companies may offer various combinations of protection to cater to the specific needs of customers e.g., there could be a special policy for Corporate Frequent Travellers etc.

Q . Why should I buy travel insurance?

Ans. To obtain a visa for some countries, overseas travel insurance is compulsory. Even where it is not, it is prudent to obtain a travel insurance policy when you are travelling on business or holiday or for education, research etc as medical treatment costs in many countries are much much higher than what they are in India and are unaffordable.

What is normally covered under Travel Insurance ?

• The Scope of Cover and Benefits offered by different insurance companies would vary. You must shop around to ensure that you purchase a policy that you need. The following are covers that are generally provided under Travel Insurancethough the combination may vary.

The list, however, is not exhaustive.

o Medical Expenses with or without cashless facility (most travel insurance products offer cashless facility)

o Personal Accident o Loss of Baggage

o Delay in Baggage arrival

o Loss of Passport

o Travel Delay

o Repatriation

o Transportation of dead body etc

what is Sum Insured under Travel Insurance Policy ?

• The Sum Insured offered may vary and so would the premium rates, which would depend on the country in question, apart from other factors such as Age, Period Of Travel etc.

What is not covered under Travel Insurance ?

• You must go through the exclusion clauses very thoroughly. Ask your insurer and/or agent or broker for clarifications wherever you have a doubt.

In general, the following are not covered:

• Pre-existing diseases

• War Risks

• Suicide and Insanity

• Hazardous sports

There could be some exclusions relating to personal effects.

What to do in case claim arises abroad under Travel Insurance Policy ?

• It is very important for you to understand what to do in case a claim situation arises abroad. Generally policies provide hotline numbers where intimation of claim/s should be given. You must also notify the concerned authorities involved eg, local police, embassy, transportation company etc, as applicable. The insurer also should be notified. Normally, every travel insurance policy docket will also contain a claim form as you will be away in a distant place and may not be in a position to obtain a claim form immediately.

Q . Can I extend the period of my travel insurance?

Ans. You must check with your insurer regarding this as it would depend on the policy. Read your policy document and understand what it provides. Most policies, especially overseas travel insurance policies have a provision for one or even two extensions.

Q . Is there a minimum duration of period for purchase of travel insurance?

Ans. Generally there will be a minimum stipulated period. Normally pricing of the policy goes by the “trip band” i.e., the number of days of travel involved and there would be a minimum trip band.

Q . Is a medical check -up required to purchase a travel insurance policy?

Ans. You must check up with the insurer and/or the agent or broker about medical tests required and reports that are required to be submitted along with the duly filled in proposal form. Check up about the validity period of such reports as well—normally reports within three to four weeks prior to departure are required.

Q . Do I need prior approval of the insurance company before proceeding with medical treatment should the contingency arise?

Ans. Please read the policy thoroughly and understand whether there are such requirements. Prior approval would be required in most cases though there could be exceptions depending on the emergency involved. Get this aspect clarified at the time of purchasing the policy.

Q. Who is a Third Party Administrator in Travel Insurance?

Ans. A Third Party Administrator is one who offers claims services on behalf of the insurer. In most cases, they offer cashless facility. You must confirm details from your insurer before you travel. Ensure that your policy document has all the contact details and other relevant information related to the services offered by the Third Party Administrator.

Q. Can I get a refund under my policy if I cut short my travel?

Ans.In case your travel doesn’t take off and you show proof of the same, policies would normally provide for premium refund subject to deductions towards administrative costs. Where travel is cut short, policies may or may not allow refund subject to certain conditions. You must read your document and understand whether there is such a provision and if so, how it operates.

Q. Is my visa status relevant to obtain overseas travel insurance?

Ans. In most cases it would be. Normally, such policies are meant for travellers who visit other countries on business or holiday or education or other purposes and not for those residing permanently abroad.

Q.Policyholder Servicing Turnaround Times as prescribed by IRDA for Insurance ?

General

Processing of Proposal and Communication of decisions including requirements/issue  of Policy /Cancellations -15 days

Obtaining copy of the proposal-30 days

Post Policy issue service requests concerning  mistakes/refund of proposal deposit and also Non-Claim related  service requests – 10 days

Life Insurance

Surrender value/annuity/pension processing -10 days

Maturity claim/Survival benefit/penal  interest not paid-15 days

Raising claim requirements after lodging the Claim-15 days

Death claim settlement without Investigation requirement-30 days

Death claim settlement/repudiation with Investigation requirement-6 months

Grievances

Acknowledge a grievance – 3 days

Resolve a grievance- 15 days

What to do in case of a grievance under travel Insruance ?

The Consumer Affairs Department of the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) has introduced the Integrated Grievance Management System (IGMS) which is an online system for registration and tracking of grievances. You must register your grievance first with the insurance company and in case you are not satisfied with its disposal by the company, you may escalate it to IRDA through IGMS by accessing www.igms.irda.gov.in. In case you are not able to access the insurer’s grievance system directly, IGMS also provides you a gateway to register your grievance with the insurer. Apart from registering your grievance through IGMS (i.e., web), you have several channels for grievance registration-through e-mail (complaints@irda.gov.in), through letter ( address your letter to Consumer Affairs Department, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority, 3rd Floor, Parishram Bhavan, Basheerbagh, Hyderabad:4) or simply call IRDA Call Centre at Toll Free 155255 through which IRDA shall, free of cost, register your complaints against insurance companies as well as help track its status. The Call Centre assists by filling up the complaints form on the basis of the call. Wherever required, it will facilitate in filing of complaints directly with the insurance companies as the first port of call by giving information relating to the address, telephone number, website details, contact number, e-mail id etc of the insurance company. IRDA Call Centre offers a true alternative channel for prospects and policyholders, with comprehensive tele-functionalities, serving as a 12 hours x 6 days service platform from 8 AM to 8 PM, Monday to Saturday in Hindi, English and various Indian languages. When a complaint is registered with IRDA, it facilitates resolution by taking it up with the insurance company. The company is given 15 days time to resolve the complaint. If required, IRDA carries out investigations and enquiries. Further, wherever applicable, IRDA advises the complainant to approach the Insurance Ombudsman in terms of the Redressal of Public Grievances Rules, 1998

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide you general information only and is not exhaustive. It is an education initiative and does not seek to give you any legal advice.

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