How Important is Travel Insurance?

It’s vacation time and Indians are traveling like never before. Even the best planned vacations can be interrupted by glitches and emergencies. You could lose your luggage. You could slip or catch a bug and need medical treatment. Not only do these disrupt your travel plans, they could also cause you financial discomfort or downright adversity. This is where travel insurance can be your savior, covering as it does your financial losses in different situations, emergencies, or mishaps during your travel.

Specially designed to address the situations and risks involved in travel, it provides coverage from the moment you leave on your travels, to the moment you return to your home. Since the travel insurance policy is going to be your best friend in need in a foreign land, it is important that this friend is chosen with care.

Most travelers depend on their travel agent to arrange the insurance for them. But travel agents are not insurance professionals who understand the various travel insurance products on offer. Their expertise lies in arranging the best travel and stay options. It falls on you, the traveler, either to understand the various policies on offer and choose one that fits best or engage a knowledgeable broker to do this task.

What can travel insurance do, specifically? It can reimburse you for any baggage or items that you could lose during your trip. This is particularly important if you plan to buy anything of high value, such as local antiques, or are carrying expensive jewelry or electronic equipment.

Imagine being sick and broke in an unfamiliar country! If you are visiting a place where doctor’s bills and other emergency procedures are expensive, or where there are very real health risks, travel insurance is absolutely vital. Travel insurance is also very important if you plan to take a driving vacation. Many automobile policies will not extend their coverage outside the country you live. The last thing you want to worry about is how to pay for a rental vehicle that got smashed by another driver, or take over the costs of repairing a car that you have banged into.

Travel insurance also provides protection against emergencies that are specific to going abroad that include trip interruption, emergency hot line, and medical transportation services. In this case, any fees or down payments that you may have made that would otherwise have been forfeited if you had suddenly canceled your trip will be returned to you.
You may ask why you need travel insurance when you have really good regular insurance.

Many people are under the notion that between their automobile, homeowner’s credit card and medical insurance policies, their coverage is so wide that it would automatically provide protection against anything, anywhere in the world. This is not necessarily true. If you fail to take the additional coverage given by travel insurance, you may find out the limitations on your other insurance policies the hard way – when you are caught in an emergency, and are forced to spend a large amount of money with little hope of compensation. Travel insurance gives you that guarantee of security.

Now take that vacation with complete peace of mind.

The author is a Certified Financial Planner working as a Relationship Manager with Mumbai-based SRE Financial Planners.