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Travel insurance: don’t leave home without it!

It could be fatal – literally – to leave home without travel insurance. Here’s a guide on why you need it and how to get it.

Rajat Sohoni* (27) spent days looking up information on the best place for a budget stay for a week. “I spent all my time on the Internet, looking up places and comparing prices. The entire planning and procuring of tickets at a discount took over a week. I was so excited to visit Switzerland for the very first time!”

But disaster struck when he changed a train in Switzerland. “A local resident befriended me on the train. When he was getting off, he waited till the train was about to take off and then snatched my backpack! I lost all my valuables, cash, travellers’ cheques and passport.” With no idea of what to do next, Rajat somehow filed a police complaint but the thief and his backpack were never traced.

“It was the worst experience ever,” Rajat says. “I was stuck in a foreign country with no money and no passport. With great difficulty, I contacted my travel insurance company, which helped me out.”


How does travel insurance help?

This is an insurance that secures you against theft of cash and other valuables while on foreign soil. If your insurance is valid, most premium insurance providers like Cholamandalam MS General Insurance are quick to help out stranded Indians.

If you have been robbed or you have misplaced your luggage, you must first file a police complaint in the relevant area in the country where the incident occurred. The police report copy must be sent to the travel insurer to get the process of filing the claim going.

Travel insurance can literally be a lifesaver – imagine being stranded without money and belongings, in a foreign country whose language you may not know!


Purchase travel insurance before you leave

Ask your insurance provider what kind of travel insurance you require on your holiday, and how to get it. Travel insurance generally covers losses due to accidents or thefts, a medical emergency arising on foreign soil and requiring doctor’s intervention, loss of valuable documents like passport and travellers’ cheques, danger posed to life and belongings owing to riots, natural calamities and terror attacks on foreign soil. Some travel insurance plans also cover the costs of cancellation charges due to delayed flights.

However, the travel insurance will not cover pre-existing illnesses, nor claims filed without proof of theft (supported by a police report).

“I used to think travel insurance was only for loss of belongings,” says Megha Ruparel* (33). “I was surprised to know that it covers medical expenses also. I always make sure I get travel insurance when we take family vacations – medical care is very costly abroad.”

* The characters in this article are fictional and have been used for illustrative purposes.

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