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IRDAI Issues Guidelines for Standard Travel Insurance Policy

Travelling within the country is anyway more common than travelling abroad. Nobody needs to be supremely rich or need to take a loan to travel from one state to another. Right from taxis, buses to trains and flights, a mode of transport is available for people from all walks of life. No wonder travelling to different Indian cities, especially during holidays, has been a major part of most people’s childhood.

Even though most people travel within the country several times a year, only a handful of them buys travel insurance for their trip. For the unversed, travel insurance provides financial aid to the traveller in case unforeseen incidents faced during the trip causes financial loss. Even though people buy international travel insurance for their foreign trips, they neglect to buy insurance for a domestic trip. But doing so is not at all wise as accidents and adversities can occur anywhere, be it within India or abroad.

However, many domestic travellers who do opt for a travel policy often complain about the lack of domestic travel plans with standard norms. The terms and conditions vary from one insurer to another, making it difficult for the travellers to find the most suitable policy for themselves. To simplify the coverage, benefits and policy wordings, IRDAI has introduced norms for a standard travel insurance product for domestic travellers.

IRDAI Sets Norms for Standard Travel Insurance

The IRDAI or Insurance Regulator and Developmental Authority of India have introduced guidelines for a standard travel insurance policy for domestic travellers, which will be known as the Bharat Yatra Suraksha policy. The guidelines for the product were issued on 5th May 2021 and will remain the same across all travel insurance providers in India. The Insurance Regulator has directed all travel insurance companies to launch this standard domestic travel insurance product (SDTIP) by 1st July 2021.

As per IRDAI, the objective behind launching the Bharat Yatra Suraksha policy was to make every travel within the country safe and financially secured against unforeseen contingencies. Besides, a wide variety of travel insurance plans are currently available in the market with varying benefits that make it difficult for travellers to choose any one. With the standard norms, travellers will find it easy to buy the Bharat Yatra Suraksha policy for their domestic trips.

Types of Standard Travel Insurance

The standard travel insurance policy will be available in five plan variants or types to domestic travellers. Take a look at them below:

Plan A: This plan is designed for people travelling through a bus, taxi or cab. This plan only covers trips undertaken within a distance of not more than 100 Km from the place of trip commencement.

Plan B: This plan is designed for people who will be travelling beyond a distance of 100 Km from the place of trip commencement through a bus, taxi or cab.

Plan C: This plan is designed for people travelling via trains on a reserved ticket. It does not come with any restriction on the distance of the trip.

Plan D: This plan is designed for people travelling within India by air. It also does not have any restriction on the trip distance.

Plan E: This plan is designed for people who may use one or multiple modes of transport during their trip. Although this plan does not have any distance limit, the policy will only cover trips with a maximum duration of 30 days.

All the plan variants will cover the traveller for only a single journey that begins from the place of trip commencement to the destination. Moreover, the first four plans will be active for the entire duration of the trip. However, none of the plans is renewable.

Features of Standard Travel Insurance Policy

Take a look at the features of the Bharat Yatra Suraksha or standard travel insurance policy for people travelling within India:

No Age Restrictions

The standard travel insurance product does not come with any entry age restrictions. Thus, people of all ages are eligible to be covered under this policy. However, the proposer or the person buying the policy should be at least 18 years of age. Moreover, the policy will be available across the country for individuals, families as well as groups travelling together.

No Waiting Period

The Bharat Yatra Suraksha policy comes with no waiting period. This means the traveller does not have to wait for a fixed period before the policy activates. The policy coverage will begin as soon as the traveller commences his/her journey.

Online Sale of the Policy

IRDAI has mandated all insurers to sell the standard travel insurance product online. The insurers can sell the policy through other offline distribution channels but selling it online is mandatory. The regulation is especially vital at this time when the entire country is dealing with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The online sale of the STDIP will eliminate physical contact between the agents and the customer and prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Advance Premium Payment

The premium for the standard travel insurance product should be paid by the domestic traveller in a single payment before commencing his/her journey. This means the traveller will not be allowed to pay the premium on a daily basis for each day of their trip. However, the premium for the policy can vary from one insurer to another.

What is Covered Under Standard Travel Insurance?

The standard travel insurance product will provide coverage to domestic travellers for the following:

Accidental Hospitalization

The Bharat Yatra Suraksha will cover emergency hospitalization expenses resulting from an accident of the insured caused during the trip. This cover will come with a sum insured ranging from Rs 1,00,000 to up to Rs 10,00,000. The higher the sum insured, the higher will be the risk cover. The coverage will be available on an indemnity basis and will apply a deductible of Rs 500.

Accidental Death

The policy will provide coverage for the accidental death of the traveller during the trip. The insurance company will pay compensation ranging from Rs 1,00,000  to Rs 1,00,00,000 per person. A higher sum insured will cover a higher risk cover.

Repatriation of Mortal Remains

The policy will cover the expenses incurred on the repatriation of the mortal remains of the traveller, provided he died during the trip. All types of Bharat Yatra Suraksha policy, except Plan A, will provide this cover ranging between Rs 20,000 to Rs 1,00,000 with the higher sum insured offering a higher risk cover.

Permanent Total Disability

Under this cover, the insurer will pay compensation to the insured traveller if an accident during the trip results in his/her permanent total disability.

Optional Covers:

Based on the type of plan variant, the standard travel insurance product will also offer the following optional covers to domestic travellers:

  • Trip Delay (Available only under Plan D for delays of more than three hours)
  • Loss of Checked-in Baggage
  • Carrier Cancellation (Available under Plan D only)
  • Compassionate Allowance
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption
  • Missed Flight Connection

What is Not Covered Under Standard Travel Insurance?

The Bharat Yatra Suraksha policy will not provide coverage if the traveller gets hospitalized/ dies during his/her trip due to pre-existing disease, injury, illness or condition. Claims arising out of self-inflicted injuries or suicide will also be not covered.

In case the traveller gets hospitalized/ passes away due to an accident caused while driving his/her own two wheeler will be excluded. Moreover, claims arising out of situations where the traveller was driving the common carrier (or bus/ taxi/ train/ flight) will not be covered.

In a Nutshell

Buying travel insurance for domestic trips is not common. Unlike international travel insurance, people do not prefer buying travel policy for domestic trips because they often can’t decide the best policy for themselves. With IRDAI issuing guidelines for the new standard travel insurance policy, domestic travellers will soon be able to buy the Bharat Yatra Suraksha policy for themselves easily without any confusions.

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