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Safety Abroad: Always buy travel insurance for your foreign trips

With the end of the pandemic-induced pause on all forms of leisure travel, a number of Indians are now raring to go on a foreign trip. However, travelling to another country is not the same as travelling within India. Not just passports and travel visas, you may also have to buy a travel insurance plan that has been made mandatory for inbound travellers by many countries.

Countries, where travel insurance cover is mandatory for inbound travellers, are Cuba, the USA, UAE, Qatar, Russia, Turkey, Ecuador, Galápagos Islands, and Schengen countries. Travel insurance is also mandatory if you are planning to travel to Antarctica, according to a recent report by Digit Insurance.

What travel insurance covers

A typical travel insurance plan provides cover for expenses incurred in medical assistance, cancellation cost, loss of passport, baggage loss and flight delay. Travel insurance is a must even if you are travelling to a country not mentioned above as medical emergencies during travel can happen to anyone, at any point of time and jeopardise the trip.

“Consumers should look for cover against loss of checked baggage or loss of passport to avoid being stuck in a foreign country. If one is a frequent family traveller, he/ she should make sure that the insurance covers him or her for last-minute trip cancellations or modifications,” says Indraneel Chatterjee, co-founder of RenewBuy, an online insurance distributor.

Some travel insurance policies offer emergency medical treatment and evacuation cover to help the insured in case of unexpected emergencies.

What policy should you buy

Before travelling abroad, buy a travel insurance plan that provides overseas medical insurance coverage, including major medical expenses incurred outside India for sickness, bodily injuries or contracted diseases. “Consumers should also check if the coverage allows him/her to be sent back home, in case of an extreme medical emergency,” adds Chatterjee.

What travel insurance may not cover

There are several “general exclusions” for which travel insurance plans do not provide any cover. These are mentioned in detail in the policy document. Travel insurance plans may not provide cover for any delay made public or known at least six hours before the scheduled departure of the flight.

Delays caused due to any change in laws, regulations or orders from the government may also not be covered by a travel insurance plan. Apart from the above, delays due to strikes or labour disputes, may also not be covered in a travel plan if the airline has already issued an advance warning a day before the date of the travel.

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