So are you planning to travel to the United States, Australia or Germany this year ? Most Indians while planning a tour abroad do not intend to purchase any travel insurance, only when it is made compulsory by the Visa issuing authorities, do we purchase it. Travel insurance is compulsory for students going abroad for higher studies and also for those visiting a foreign country on a work Visa.
So before we list out and review the different travel insurance companies and their plans in India, let us try to understand how these plans work and why you should purchase a policy.
Travel Insurance – How does it work ?
When a person buys a Travel Insurance policy from an insurance company, he gets the right to claim reimbursements for any un-planned expenses he may incur when faced with the below risks during the course of his travel.
- A medical emergency which might involve hospitalization.
- Loss of baggage – checked in or delayed.
- Losses incurred while travelling.
- Emergency replacement of important items.
- Emergency evacuation from host country.
- Accidental injury.
- Acts of terrorism.
- Loss of passport.
If you encounter any of the above emergencies , then you can avail assistance from your insurance cover provider as well as seek complete reimbursement for the losses incurred when you return to India.
Medical Insurance is the main component of all travel insurance policies and the cost of availing healthcare facilities in the country you plan to visit will primarily determine the insurance premium. Having a travel insurance policy with you ensures that you will be provided cashless hospitalization in foreign countries.
Most hospitals abroad will not admit you without a valid insurance cover because healthcare costs in some countries like America , Germany, Britain and Australia are very high and is beyond the reach of ordinary Indian citizens. For instance a 1 week stay in a medium sized corporate hospital in the US could cost you as much as US$ 25,000 (Rs 15 Lakh) for even a minor ailment !
Also when you purchase a travel insurance policy you often receive additional services such as access to a 24 hour helpline and emergency travel assistance. If your travel plans change and you are forced to extend your stay in a foreign country, you can renew the policy and increase it’s duration at any point of time.
How much does it cost ?
The premium cost can vary depending on the following factors
- If the cost of living in the country you are visiting is high then the premiums will also reflect a similar trend.
- Size of the cover, it can range from US$ 25,000 to US$ 1 million.
- Duration – From a few days to several months.
- Age of the person to be insured.
In India , you can get travel insurance to the US for 1 month for as little as Rs 1800 per person with a cover of US$ 50,000. If you are traveling in a group you can opt for group insurance schemes which further lower your premium costs.
How soon can you purchase it before your travel ?
You can purchase travel insurance up to 1 year in advance though most people buy it only 1-2 months before their departure. If you come across any good deals on travel insurance do not hesitate to buy it , well in advance. It is always recommended that you buy your plan directly from the companies rather than go through an insurance agent.
What should you look for in a travel insurance plan before purchasing it ?
Always compare your plan before you purchase it. There are many free comparison portals online which provide competitive quotes. Read the fine print on what the plan offers in terms of online services , 24 hour helpline, the claim process, terms and conditions, exclusions etc.
European Countries have a special European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and users who have this card need not purchase additional insurance policies.
Travel Insurance plans from companies in India
The list of insurance companies in India whose policies are recognized by Visa consulates and MNC’s are given below. You can click on the link to visit their website and get a customized online quote tailored to your unique travel needs.
- Oriental Insurance Company – http://www.orientalinsurance.org.in/
- National Insurance – http://www.nriol.com/
- Apollo Munich – http://www.apollomunichinsurance.com/
- Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance – http://www.bajajallianz.com/
- ICICI Lombard – https://www.icicilombard.com/
- HDFC Ergo – http://www.hdfcergo.com
- Future Generali – http://www.futuregenerali.in/
- Reliance – https://www.reliancegeneral.co.in/
- Tata AIG – http://www.tataaiginsurance.in/
- IFFCO Tokio – http://www.iffcotokio.co.in/
Other Travel Insurance Companies for Indian Citizens (Not accepted for VISA processing by Consulates but valid for International Travel.)
- Atlas America Visitor Insurance. – https://www.insubuy.com/
- Thomas Cook. – http://www.thomascook.in/
- New India Assurance. – http://newindia.co.in/
- Chola MS General Insurance – http://www.cholainsurance.com/
Online Travel Insurance Reviews
After scouring through dozens of websites , I would suggest that you avoid taking ICICI Lombard and New India Assurance plans because users have posted many negative reviews about their cumbersome claim processes.
New India Assurance has a tie up with a company called Mercury International, so you are buying the cover from them indirectly. If you need to make a claim you will have to process it through Mercury International. One also finds various online reviews of ICICI Lombard where users have complained about the delay in reimbursements on flimsy reasons . The company make you run from pillar to post to collect your claims.
Complaints against Insurance Companies
The nodal agency for regulation of travel insurance providers in India is the IRDAI ( Insurance Regulation and Development Authority of India). If you have any complaints or face any trouble in putting across your claims to your insurance company, you can contact IRDAI for grievance redressal.
For complete reviews of the different travel insurance plans launched by Indian companies visit : immihelp.com