Understanding International Travel Insurance

International travel insurance serves as a financial product crafted to shield travellers from unforeseen events and expenses while journeying outside their home country. Its primary objective is to furnish coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, lost baggage, and other unexpected occurrences that may disrupt or negatively impact a trip.

                                                                                                                         Subas Tiwari

Importance of International Travel Insurance 

Travellers often underestimate the potential risks associated with international travel. Having travel insurance is essential for several reasons:

  • Medical Emergencies: Varied healthcare systems globally and exorbitant medical expenses abroad necessitate travel insurance for necessary treatment without facing overwhelming bills.
  • Trip Cancellations: Unforeseen circumstances like illness, natural disasters, or work commitments leading to trip cancellations can be financially mitigated through travel insurance.
  • Lost or Delayed Baggage: Airlines occasionally misplace or delay baggage, and travel insurance provides coverage for the replacement of essential items and clothing.
  • Emergency Evacuation: In the event of a natural disaster or political unrest, travel insurance may cover the costs of emergency evacuation.

What Does Travel Insurance Typically Cover?

Coverage under international travel insurance can fluctuate, but it often includes:

  1. Medical Expenses: Encompasses the cost of medical treatment, hospital stays, and medication.
  2. Trip Cancellation/Interruption: Reimburses non-refundable trip expenses if the trip is cancelled or cut short due to covered reasons.
  3. Emergency Evacuation: Covers the cost of transportation to the nearest adequate medical facility.
  4. Baggage and Personal Belongings: Provides compensation for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage and personal items.
  5. Travel Delay: Reimburses additional expenses due to delayed departures or arrivals.
  6. Accidental Death and Dismemberment: Pays a benefit in the event of death or serious injury.

Types of International Travel Insurance 

  1. Single Trip Insurance-This insurance provides coverage for a specific journey, commencing when you depart and concluding upon your return.
  2. Annual/Multi-Trip-Insurance covering multiple trips within a specified time frame, usually a year, this is a cost-effective option for frequent travellers.
  3. Medical Travel Insurance-Focused on covering medical expenses and emergency medical assistance during your trip.
  4. Evacuation Insurance-Covers the cost of emergency evacuation to the nearest suitable medical facility.
  5. Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance-Reimburses non-refundable trip expenses if you have to cancel or cut short your trip due to covered reasons.
  6. Baggage and Personal Belongings Insurance-Provides compensation for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage and personal items during your trip.
  7. Adventure or Hazardous Activities– Coverage for travellers engaging in adventurous activities, such as skiing or scuba diving, specialized coverage may be necessary.

How to Choose the Right International Travel Insurance 

  1. Assessing Your Needs– Consider your travel habits, health, and the nature of your trip. Frequent travellers might benefit from an annual policy, while those with pre-existing medical conditions should ensure comprehensive coverage.
  2. Coverage Limits and Exclusions– Review coverage limits and exclusions to understand situations where coverage may not apply.
  3. Pre-Existing Medical Conditions– Declare any pre-existing medical conditions during the application process to avoid denied claims.
  4. Duration of Coverage– Select coverage that matches the duration of your trip and ensures a grace period for unexpected delays.
  5. Provider Reputation and Ratings– Research insurance providers for a good reputation, strong financial stability, and positive customer reviews.
  6. Cost of the Insurance– Prioritize coverage over price, as cheap insurance might not provide adequate protection in emergencies.
  7. Understanding Policy Terms and Conditions– Thoroughly read and comprehend the policy’s terms and conditions, including the claims process and emergency assistance contact information.

Key Features of International Travel Insurance Policies 

  1. Emergency Medical Assistance– A reliable travel insurance policy should offer 24/7 emergency medical assistance, providing access to medical professionals and facilitating emergency medical evacuations.
  2. Trip Cancellation and Interruption Coverage– This feature is crucial for recovering non-refundable trip expenses if unforeseen circumstances force you to cancel or cut short your trip.
  3. Baggage and Personal Belongings Coverage– Coverage for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage ensures you can replace essential items during your trip.
  4. 24/7 Customer Support– Accessible and responsive customer support is vital for assistance in emergencies and guidance through the claims process.
  5. Travel Assistance Services– Some policies offer additional travel assistance services, such as help with lost passports, translation services, and legal assistance.

Steps to Purchase International Travel Insurance 

  1. Research and Compare Plans– Begin by researching different insurance providers and comparing plans based on your specific needs.
  2. Check Visa Requirements– Check if your destination country requires proof of travel insurance for visa approval.
  3. Read Reviews and Testimonials– Gauge the reliability and customer satisfaction of insurance providers by reading reviews and testimonials from other travellers.
  4. Understand the Claim Process– Familiarize yourself with the claim process, required documentation, and emergency contact information.
  5. Purchase Insurance in Advance– Buy travel insurance as soon as you book your trip to ensure coverage for unexpected events before your departure.

What to Do in Case of an Emergency Abroad 

  1. Contacting Your Insurance Provider– In emergencies, contact your insurance provider immediately and follow their instructions for seeking medical attention or assistance.
  2. Seeking Medical Attention– Visit the nearest medical facility if medical attention is needed. Keep receipts and documentation for reimbursement.
  3. Documenting the Incident– Document incidents with photos, witness statements, and official reports for use in the claims process.
  4. Filing a Claim– Initiate the claims process promptly, providing all necessary documentation and following the instructions from your insurance provider.

Common Mistakes to Avoid 

  1. Underestimating Coverage Needs– Comprehensive coverage is crucial, so don’t underestimate your insurance needs and consider potential risks.
  2. Ignoring Policy Exclusions– Read and understand policy exclusions to avoid disappointment when making a claim.
  3. Not Disclosing Pre-Existing Conditions– Honesty about pre-existing conditions is vital to avoid denied claims.
  4. Waiting Until the Last Minute– Purchase insurance soon after booking to avoid vulnerabilities to unforeseen events.

FAQs about International Travel Insurance 

  1. Do I Really Need Travel Insurance? While not mandatory, travel insurance is highly recommended for international travel to protect against unexpected events.
  2. Can I Purchase Insurance after I’ve Started My Trip? Most providers require coverage to be purchased before departure, although some may offer limited coverage if bought shortly after departure.
  3. What Happens if I Have a Pre-Existing Medical Condition? Declare pre-existing conditions during the application process. Coverage varies among policies, so choose one that meets your needs.
  4. How Long Should My Insurance Coverage Last? Ensure coverage for the entire trip duration, including any planned extensions.
  5. Is Travel Insurance Worth the Cost? The value becomes apparent in unexpected events, offering peace of mind and financial protection.

In conclusion, international travel insurance is a vital part of trip planning, providing protection and peace of mind. By understanding coverage types, assessing needs, and choosing a reputable provider, travellers can ensure a worry-free and enjoyable experience. Thoroughly read and comprehend policy terms, follow proper procedures in emergencies, and purchase insurance well in advance for maximum benefits. Safe travels!

Premium Comparison for 2 members for USA travel (Age- 40 Years, Duration of travel- 30 Days)

Company Name

Product Name

Medical Expenses

Loss of Passport

Baggage Loss

Premium (GST included)

Tata AIG

Travel Guard – Gold




₹ 4,196

Niva Bupa

Travel Assure




₹ 2,467


Travel Care Individual




₹ 2,812

Care Health

Explore Silver


Not Cover

Not Cover

₹ 3,009

Bajaj Allianz

Travel Elite




₹ 3,722

DIGIT General Insurance

Carefree Option




₹ 2,456

Royal Sundaram

Travel Shield Single Trip




₹ 3,288

SBI General Insurance





₹ 5,890

New India Assurance

Overseas Travel Ease




₹ 4,149

Oriental Insurance

Business and Holiday – Silver B




₹ 4,740

Quotes taken from: policybazaar.com as on 13th December 2023

Choosing the best international travel insurance in India is crucial for a safe journey. Here are 30 tips to help you decide:

  • Coverage Types: Understand coverage, including medical expenses, trip cancellations, and baggage loss.
  • Medical Coverage: Ensure adequate coverage for emergencies, hospitalization, and evacuation.
  • Policy Duration: Check that the policy covers your entire trip.
  • Geographical Coverage: Confirm coverage for all planned countries.
  • Emergency Evacuation: Verify coverage, especially for remote locations.
  • Pre-existing Conditions: Check coverage for pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Age Limit: Be aware of age restrictions.
  • Adventure Sports: Confirm coverage for adventurous activities.
  • Trip Cancellation: Evaluate coverage and claim conditions.
  • Baggage Coverage: Check for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage.
  • Policy Exclusions: Understand exclusions to avoid surprises.
  • Claim Process: Ensure a straightforward and transparent process.
  • Network Hospitals: Choose plans with a hospital network at your destination.
  • Deductibles: Know the amount you pay before coverage starts.
  • Coverage Limits: Check maximum coverage for medical and baggage.
  • Renewability: Opt for easy policy renewability.
  • Customer Reviews: Read reviews for insights.
  • Insurer’s Financial Strength: Choose a financially stable provider.
  • Cancellation Policies: Understand the insurer’s cancellation policies.
  • 24/7 Assistance: Ensure round-the-clock emergency assistance.
  • Policy Customization: Look for customizable policies.
  • Travel Alerts: Check for destination-related alerts.
  • Additional Riders: Explore add-ons for enhanced coverage.
  • Policy Language: Confirm understandable policy documents.
  • Refund Policies: Understand refund policies.
  • Ease of Purchase: Choose a user-friendly online platform.
  • Family Coverage: Explore family options for cost-effectiveness.
  • Policy Inclusions: Understand all inclusions.
  • Compare Plans: Compare multiple plans.
  • Read the Fine Print: Carefully read policy details.

For claim success, be thorough:

  • Read and Understand: Understand coverage, terms, and exclusions.
  • Full Disclosure: Provide accurate information on the application.
  • Pre-existing Conditions Declaration: Disclose pre-existing conditions.
  • Travel Itinerary Accuracy: Double-check travel details.
  • Document All Losses: Thoroughly document incidents.
  • Timely Notification: Report incidents promptly.
  • Follow the Claim Process: Adhere to specified procedures.
  • Keep Copies: Maintain copies of relevant documents.
  • Emergency Assistance: Use the emergency hotline for guidance.
  • Adherence to Policy: Ensure claims align with policy coverage.
  • Avoid Risky Activities: Refrain from excluded or high-risk activities.
  • Timely Reporting: Report stolen items promptly.
  • Continuous Coverage: Avoid coverage gaps.
  • Review Exclusions: Understand and avoid excluded situations.
  • Valid Documents: Ensure valid travel documents.
  • Alcohol and Drug Use: Know the policy stance on substance-related incidents.
  • Seek Approval: Get approval for high-value items.
  • Emergency Evacuation Approval: Seek approval for evacuation services.

By following these guidelines, travellers can make informed decisions and minimize the risk of claim rejection when purchasing international travel insurance in India.


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