Growing awareness of insurance has led many travel insurance companies in India to roll out a variety of plans. These plans cater to different travel and personal needs, often costing differently. However, your health is the most important factor that determines your insurance premium.
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Let us first understand why insuring your trip has become non-negotiable. Be it a domestic trip or a journey abroad, insurance has become a necessary step during many countries’ immigration and consular procedures.
While several countries need you to first have travel health insurance before you can legally enter, the sheer cost of living in other places doesn't leave you much choice.
Most common coverage benefits include emergency medical expenses, flight cancellation, personal accident, personal liability, loss of passport and baggage loss.
People aged between 18 years and 45 years are considered less risky than many travel insurance companies in India. Most insurers don't require any health check-ups before issuing a policy.
However, this changes in the case of any health complications. If a person is suffering from an ailment or had a health condition recently, this will be considered a pre-existing health condition.
Another thing to remember is that most trip insurance plans may not cover underlying health conditions but in case of a life-threatening emergency, while the insured is abroad, they will be covered.
In India, there are some insurers who don’t cover pre-existing diseases, while there are also some insurers offering coverage for pre-existing diseases. Sharing your medical history before finalising your travel insurance plan will clear any doubts regarding coverage benefits or claim settlements later.
However, the exact coverage should always be discussed so that you can buy an add-on accordingly, or look for another plan to suit your health requirements.
Before we proceed with the subject, let’s quickly understand the meaning of pre-existing diseases.
Pre-existing diseases are the health conditions with which a person has already been diagnosed. These consist of health conditions, injury or any related condition for which there were signs or symptoms and were diagnosed within 48 months of buying an insurance policy.
Most insurers don't provide any coverage for pre-existing ailments. If you don't declare these while buying travel insurance policy and file a claim later, the chances of your claim getting rejected are pretty high.
Many people avoid sharing their medical history while declaring their past health records as premium rates increase considerably for such cases. Since the insurer is taking on a higher risk category, they must increase the premium costs to cover their emergencies if they do face complications while on their trip abroad.
There have been numerous cases of people who hide their medical condition to save some money on premiums. Most people consider it an additional expense as they feel that paying an extra premium for a short vacation abroad is not justified.
However, if unfortunately, they fall sick or need medical attention because of their already existing health conditions, they end up regretting it. Paying a nominal sum earlier to avoid paying exorbitant prices abroad is always a better option.
If you’re still not convinced about being honest about your medical condition, take a look at some more benefits:
First and foremost, declaring your underlying health condition saves you the trouble of checking multiple plans that don’t cater to your needs. Since there are some insurers that don’t cover pre-existing conditions, you can filter them out and directly read about policies that definitely offer this benefit.
In most cases, there are add-ons for pre-existing diseases that can be bought at an additional premium along with your travel insurance policy. Your health conditions will be covered under this add-on and declaring them would let you have that peace of mind while you are busy having fun on your trip.
Once you have declared your pre-existing health conditions, you can relax and sit back knowing that if they cause complications while you’re on your trip, your insurance policy will take care of the expenses.
Since your insurer is already aware of your medical history, the chances of rejecting your claim will be very low and you’re very likely to get your claim benefits later.
By declaring your health conditions, you will be likely to pay an expensive premium so that you’re covered for that condition during your trip. However, this is a very nominal price to pay for your medical and financial security.
Developed countries like the US, the UK and many others have extremely expensive healthcare and charge at least four to ten times it does in India. Already knowing that your condition is covered, you can make an informed decision to save extra costs later.
Even if your insurer restricts your pre-existing health conditions or you can’t be covered for a certain disease, you won’t be under any disillusion regarding claim benefits later. Knowing the exact coverage of your policy will keep you alert and manage your medical expenses abroad accordingly.
Suppose Nitin is suffering from hypertension and depression and his insurer does not cover mood disorders, then he’s aware that only one of his PEDs will be covered. This will avoid any false promises and allow him to manage his funds accordingly while he’s travelling.
Through travel insurance, financial losses can be minimised that will otherwise cost a lot abroad. Places like the USA, Australia and several Gulf and European countries need visitors to have travel insurance so that they are financially capable to take care of medical and other emergencies. In such cases, it’s important to be honest about your health condition before you buy any trip insurance policy.