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In this season of flight cancellations, remember to buy travel insurance

Saikat Neogi
In case of cancelled flights or delay, a valid travel insurance can help the passenger. (Illustration: SHYAM Kumar Prasad)

As cash-strapped Jet Airways has cancelled most of its flights and is staring at a closure after it failed to find financial support, passengers who have booked their tickets in advance are seeking refund from the airline.

While an airline will refund the money in case of a cancelled flight or book on its alternate or the subsequent flight, the operator has no obligation to compensate in case of delay. Also, a passenger will not be entitled for any compensation in case he does not accept the alternate travel arrangements offered by the airline or when the cancellation occurs due to extraordinary circumstances beyond the control of the airline.

Insurance compensation
In case of cancelled flights or delay, a valid travel insurance can help the passenger. If the airlines cancels or delays a flight, the travel insurance cover will compensate the passenger. Insurers pay a fixed amount of money depending on the sum assured of the policy under the head trip delay and missed connection . However, the insurance cover will not compensate the passenger in case she misses the flight due to delay on her part.

It is always advisable to take a travel insurance which covers cancelled flights, especially for foreign travels. In fact, a travel insurance is mandatory for travelling to the US or on a Schengen visa, which covers 26 European countries. If one is planning for more than one foreign trip, then he can opt for an annual travel insurance cover.

If a passenger has not purchased trip cancellation insurance and the flight to an international destination is cancelled, then he will not get any compensation. If the passenger has invested in trip cancellation insurance, then he will receive refunds for flight tickets and accommodation. In case flights are cancelled because of terror attacks or any political disturbances, the passenger will be compensated by the insurer under trip curtailment claims provided the insurer has included acts of terrorism in the policy coverage. Do preserve all the bills and documents as they will have to be given to the insurer in case of any claims.

Comprehensive cover
A comprehensive travel insurance offered by all general insurance companies will cover both medical and non-medical emergencies. A valid cover will compensate for loss of passport, natural calamities leading to trip cancellation and delays. Medical expenses abroad can be very expensive. Do ensure that the expenditure limits attached to your health insurance cover is adequate. A comprehensive travel insurance cover will not only take care of your medical cost abroad, but also bear the cost of flying the insured person back at home under medical care.

Apart from the medical expenses, most policies compensate for non-medical exigencies. If your travel plans change at the last moment, it can cost you lot of money as you have to book your travel arrangements once again. Take up a policy which can cover a part of the costs for missed flight connection, extra stay in hotels, etc. In case of lost baggage, the insurer will pay for your clothing and other belongings. Do check out the real value of your luggage before opting for a luggage cover as your cover should ideally cover the real value of your luggage.

Insurance companies are offering a wide range of specialised travel insurance plans such as individual plans, family floater, senior citizens, students and multiple trip for business travelers. Premium depends on the age of the insured or the number of family members, country of visit, number of days of the trip and the kind of coverage opted. So, before buying a travel insurance, do read the terms and conditions and the coverage of the policy for a hassle-free travel.