Is Travel Insurance Awareness Increasing Post-COVID?

The sheer unpredictability because of the last two years has surely taught us a lesson or two. There has been a steep rise in the number of people buying travel insurance before their trips; let's understand why.

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* Price shown is for a 15 day trip to UK with a 1 lakh dollar coverage for an adult of age 25 years

Why is Travel Insurance Critical?

As we see more nations planning to boost tourism after a two-year halt, we can only hope that this may be the last of this devastating pandemic. Like every sector, travel too took a huge setback. However, travellers who had to cancel their flights or those who fell sick while travelling realised how stressful it was.

Especially when you’re travelling abroad, travel insurance plan not only protects you from emergency medical expenses but also from several issues like baggage loss, passport loss, missed connection or delayed flight.

Reasons Contributing to Travel Insurance Awareness

While India resumed international flight operation last month, some of us are still wary of travelling and the risks it brings. Thankfully, we have something reliable to keep us safe from such scenarios. More and more people seem to be waking up to the benefits of insurance, all for good reasons:

The Pandemic Effect

Before the pandemic hit us, not many people bought travel insurance for domestic travel. Even in the case of international travel insurance, people only purchased them when they had no other option. However, there has been a shift in this mentality and more Indians are opting for travel insurance now.

When students found themselves stranded abroad, or when a traveller had to extend their trip because of testing positive, news spread that travel insurance indeed was beneficial. This was coupled with the IRDAIs guidelines to the insurance companies in India that they would have to cover the medical costs if the insured traveller was admitted due to the coronavirus. What could have been a lengthy receipt to be shelled out from here and there, was taken care of sooner or later.

The insurance sector, including travel, was quick to adapt itself to the need of the hour. They started offering benefits for trip cancellations, quarantine costs and more to improve the scope of their coverage.

While the pandemic seems to be in its last stages, people aren’t likely to leave anything to chance and prefer insuring their trips.

Means of Damage Control

Life was considerably unpredictable before the pandemic, and with the virus finally out of the picture people are back to the daily hustle. However, this hustle and bustle will occasionally be accompanied by unfortunate scenarios — someone had to cancel their entire trip because of a tragedy; or someone’s hotel cancelled their advanced booking.

People, especially meticulous people who probably spent a great chunk of their time planning their vacation’s every detail aren’t going to take it well. For them, some form of reimbursement is obviously better than wasted time and money.

New Travel Norms

While most countries resorted to blanket bans or completely shut off their borders, many imposed several entry regulations and screening procedures to detect infected travellers and whatnot. Latest RTPCR test reports, self-declaration, random resting, quarantine etc. became the new travel norms.

However, the problem was the strict protocol that needed to be followed; you can’t board a flight if you’re tested positive. Or even when you’ve travelled that far and reached your destination, you may have to quarantine if anything is suspected. All these factors gave rise to a lot of uncertainties. Top them with inflexible rules imposed by tour operators, hotels etc. and planning a trip was a gamble not everyone could afford.

Mandatory Requirements

If preparedness and financial security aren’t good enough reasons, then among the reasons for raising awareness of travel insurance are mandatory requirements. Earlier, only Schengen and a handful of countries had compulsory travel medical insurance. Without getting these plans first, you couldn’t really get to enter their territories.

However, the pandemic was too much for governments across the world. Not only were they responsible for the health and safety of their citizens, but also had to find a way to support those foreign nationals who would test positive on their shores.

Countries like UAE, and Thailand also made it compulsory to have travel health insurance before they would approve your visa. While the situation has certainly improved, there have been no recalls or changes in these travel regulations.

Peace of Mind

After all that has been said and done, there remains a group of people who swear by insurance. They simply view insurance as a small price to pay for their peace of mind. As someone once said, if you can’t afford travel insurance then you should probably consider taking a trip.

What are a few thousands of rupees to the lakhs that you may end up risking? Even if you end up not needing it at all, you will always have the confidence that you’re financially covered, come what may.

In fact, your travel insurance also offers assistance services regarding the best course of action, contacting authorities or basic information about the nearest network hospital (despite any language barrier) whenever you find yourself in an emergency.

In a Nutshell,

With so many types of policies available in India, the benefits of trip insurance are definitely real. Mandatory or not, travel insurance is very important for any person who wants to have a trip without complications. Not only will it protect them from severe expenses like hospitalisation or legal liabilities but also from less severe inconveniences like delayed flights, theft of baggage and other journey-related troubles. Just make sure to read the policy documents thoroughly and compare them on Policybazaar.com before buying!

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