Decoding Insurance

Travel Insurance in the post-pandemic world

For most of us the onset of summer break signals a long relaxing vacation!  To escape from the daily stressors of life, we always find peace in traveling. It makes us happier and helps us relax in difficult situations. As a result, whenever we have a chance, we pack our bags with excitement and go out to see all of the fantastic and adventurous destinations the world has to offer. Especially when everything is back to normal after 2 years of the COVID pandemic, beaches, mountains, and exotic sites are once again resurfacing in travellers' dreams.

With that, as soon as the skies opened a few months ago  many of us began making travel arrangements. However, in several countries now it’s necessary to purchase travel insurance in order to obtain a visa. But why is travel insurance considered extremely useful even when it isn't mandatory? 'The pandemic has proved that life is full of unpredictability, and travel insurance is just the right thing that will provide the assurance you need to travel worry-free.' 

Additionally, in the aftermath of the pandemic, travel has changed. As now, it comes with the constant worry of contracting the virus, which could result in an extended stay or possibly hospitalization in a foreign country, overturning your vacation plans. Thus, the number of people purchasing travel insurance coverage has skyrocketed.

Sanjeev Upadhyay, Vice President Digital Buisness, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, said, “Before the pandemic the insurance penetration to total travel from India was around 17% - 18%. In the post-pandemic world, we see the numbers rising and penetration increasing upto 35 to 40%. The attitude obviously has changed post pandemic and the demand for Covid-related medical cover has increased. Even for short individual trips to south Asian countries we find the ratios for insurance increasing. In fact, South Asian countries have made it compulsory for visas to have a minimum $10 medical cover.” Further substantiating this attitudinal shift with numbers, he mentioned that “BAGIC has paid claims upto 100  INR on medical coverage in which Covid claims were upto 2 million INR since 2017.”

Besides the terror of COVID, considering the risks associated with travelling in a foreign land, it is crucial for a traveller to cover him/her from potential financial losses due to theft, loss of travel documents/ passport for a wholesome trip. Pawan Pandey, Digital Sales and Strategy, Reliance general Insurance said, “A  travel insurance plan can cover a wide variety of expenses during your international travel, including hospitalization costs, daily allowance, cashless hospitalization, and the cost of medical evacuation to India. However, footing the bill yourself will burn a hole in your pocket. Additionally, travel insurance also covers expenses incurred due to personal liabilities, loss of personal belongings, delayed/ canceled trips, emergency cash assistance, etc.”

Things to keep in mind while investing in a travel Insurance plan

While traveling, everyone has different requirements and according to those needs one should customize and invest in a travel plan. For instance, consider looking for features like tuition fee coverage, emergency financial aid, passport loss assistance, etc. if your trip is to study abroad. If, however, you are traveling for leisure and are interested in trying out adventurous sports, the travel insurance must have an adventurous sports benefit. Reliance’ Pandey, said, “You must ensure you have an adequate sum insured amount to cover any financial losses abroad, and the policy period should cover the entire travel period - start to end date. Additionally, it is of utmost importance that you know about the visiting country’s travel policy mandates before purchasing a cover and read the travel insurance features and clauses in detail before embarking on a trip. Travel insurance should be the first thing to book once you plan your travel.” 

Adding to this, Bajaj Allianz’ Upadhyay, said,  “Declaring PED in case any before travel to have a hassle free claim experience. Also, opt for companies who have seamless claim processes by digital means. If it is corporate travel then flight delay, baggage delay plays an important role. Now BAGIC covers baggage delays on both sides of travel to and fro to India.” 

Mistakes to avoid when buying travel Insurance 

Unfortunately, many people tend to ignore certain aspects that one should take into account while purchasing a travel insurance plan. Here are a few mistakes/mishaps involving travel insurance that one should take note of for a smooth and trouble-free post-pandemic trip.  Pandey said, “Most people buy travel insurance for visa compliance and not for medical requirements. Secondly,not reading the visa application guidelines on insurance requirements and not understanding the terms and conditions of a policy before purchasing one. With the constantly changing global and country-specific travel guidelines, it is important that one reads and understands visa guidelines and policy clauses carefully to ensure a smooth and hassle-free trip.”

Further, with the lifted travel restrictions in countries and the increased demand in travel insurance more and more companies are creating value-added products. “Many travel insurance companies have started giving options like missed call facility, tie-up swith entities like UNITED HEALTHCARE for cashless options in the US and higher Sum Insured medical options covering PED (Pre Existing Diseases).  Also the demand for hyper personalisation kinds of products for travel insurance has also increased,” said  Sanjeev Upadhyay. 

To Sum up 

It is crucial for travelers to secure both financial and physical protection against COVID-19 and other mishaps. Moreover,  with the onset of COVID-19, the world has changed forever, and it is now time to rethink your travel habits.



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