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Travel insurance: Here is everything you need to know

Tarun Mathur
Every destination has a unique set of risk factors, which are critically important to know before departure. But ensuring safety is a prerequisite and the minimum for the basic operations of a successful and memorable trip. (Representational)

Tourism and travel is today considered one of the world s largest industries which generated US$ 8.8 Trillion in 2018 (as per World Travel & Tourism Council). There is an undeniable thrill of visiting a brand new destination. Unfamiliar cultures, sights and sounds can make for a memorable travel experience, but it is also important to consider the risks associated. In today s environment, the risk that an inpidual may be a victim of terrorism, international conflict, health hazard or natural disaster is very considerable. Every destination has a unique set of risk factors, which are critically important to know before departure. But ensuring safety is a prerequisite and the minimum for the basic operations of a successful and memorable trip. Safety when travelling is something that should always be a priority and, for the majority of tourists, pre-trip vaccinations, well-stocked first-aid kits and most importantly a travel insurance are common precursors to most holiday plans.

Common risks involved

Some major risks associated with tourism are terrorism, war and political instability, health, crime, loss of baggage, flight/trip cancellation and delay, and natural disaster. All these risks are of growing importance in the global tourism environment and present great threats to tourists. The tourism industry is safety and security dependent and perceptions of safety greatly influence tourists intentions to travel internationally.

Some of the common risks involved with popular international travel destinations like Indonesia, Australia, Philippines and Japan are volcanic eruptions. These places in the Pacific ring of fire which has over 450 active volcanoes and 90 per cent of the worlds earthquakes. One volcano erupts every week somewhere in the world due to which incidents related to trip cancellation and personal accident see a significant hike. However, this must not restrict you from taking a holiday in any of these destinations as you can insure your trip and stay adequately covered by taking insurance for as low as Rs 45 a day.

Moreover, as per report, international airlines collectively lost 18 million bags in the year 2017. As per IATA, only 99.57 per cent of bags transported by airlines reach their owners while the remaining are lost while transferring from one place to another. But, if you have travel insurance which covers you against loss of baggage, you must not worry about anything. Medical emergencies are also a major risk while travelling to a foreign land and it is important that you stay covered under a comprehensive travel insurance policy.

The average cost of a single emergency room visit in the US is USD 100 while the average cost of a single emergency room visit in Singapore is ~SGD 300. Both these amounts are quite huge when calculated in INR. To avoid being trapped in a financial crisis due to a sudden medical emergency, you must buy a travel cover. Travel insurance for USA can be bought for Rs 70 per day and travel insurance for Singapore can be bought at Rs 45 per day. When in Switzerland, an equally well known among tourists for its beautiful scenery, be aware of pickpockets and scammers. The city is well known for thefts along the roadside and loss of passport and personal belongings are some common incidents reported by the tourists. With your travel insurance, you can take advantage of the Emergency Cash and Loss of Passport feature in case of theft. Travel Insurance for Switzerland can be bought for Rs 62 per day.

Choice of prominent insurers

Most insurers include all these features in their comprehensive travel plan and it is best to compare the policies online to get maximum benefits at a minimum premium. Religare, Reliance General insurance, Bharti Axa are popular brands that offers travel insurance with great coverages. Other insurers like GoDigit, Apollo Munich, Tata AIG, SBI, Royal Sundaram, Bajaj Allianz and HDFC also offer comprehensive travel insurance products at affordable prices.

Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer- General Insurance, Policybazaar.com