Whether travelling within the country or abroad, it always involves some element of risk. Then, why not to get travel insurance even for domestic travel, as one does for foreign travel?
Mostly, travelers ensure that they buy travel insurance policies only when travelling abroad predominantly because several countries have a pre-requisite for the issuance of visas. However, only a few people opt for domestic travel insurance as they don’t feel the need to spend that extra money to secure their trip. ,
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Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich General Insurance said that in a country like India, where there is a chance of flights being unduly delayed or cancelled due to fog, heavy rains etc., domestic travel insurance comes handy and provides an umbrella cover from such unexpected emergencies.
“Hence, domestic travel insurance is essential in mitigating the risk and protects travellers against unforeseen circumstances such as cancellation of the trip, loss of baggage, unexpected accidents and medical emergencies,” he said.
Why you should have domestic travel cover
Tarun Mathur- Chief Business Officer- General Insurance, Policybazaar.com said buying domestic travel insurance is definitely relevant like any other insurance. However, one needs to ensure purchasing an overall travel insurance and not just an accident cover which most travel portals or agents offer and customers too end up buying without much validation. It is often done due to lack of awareness on the product. “An accident cover which is generally sold by most of the travel portals only covers accident related risk like death and hospitalization. Whereas a domestic travel insurance covers flight delay, cancellation, hospitalization due to an accident, death, baggage loss, baggage delay, etc,” he explained.
However, Jacob said that in case of total loss of checked-in baggage, documents required are signed claim form, statement of claim furnishing the details of items contained in the checked-in baggage, property irregularity report issued by the common carrier clearly accepting the total loss of checked in baggage along with Compensation details and address proof.
“It is important to take a look at the exclusions and caveats before buying a policy in terms of the amount of claim settled and extent of premium repayment in case of policy cancellation,” he said.
Exclusions in domestic travel insurance include the following:
— Any ‘non-accident’ incident (such as illness) that happens during the travel
— Any existing medical ailment/condition
— Any accidents caused due to non-normal activities like horse riding, adventure activities, skydiving etc.
— Only a few provide cover if you are a member of armed forces.
— Being a part of any activity which is against the Indian Penal Code.
— Working or learning to handle any aircraft or carrying out duties as a crew member on any airline.
–Loss attributable to the insured’s actions (Example: travelling against the doctor’s advice)
— All non-medical expenses etc.
The above were some uniform exclusions across insurers.
Vijay Kuppa, Chief Business Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Oro Wealth said that there are some more relevant exclusions that some insurers have and some don’t. Here are some of them:
–A common exclusion is if one falls ill during the journey (non-accident). Hence, it is best to have a regular health insurance plan (not related to travel insurance). This will ensure that one will not worry about falling ill while travelling
— Another common exclusion is if the carrier/railway voluntarily cancels or suspends the services. This is actually the most common form of delay during travel.
Vijay Kuppa said another issue during claims processing is that in most of the cases you need to get a sign-off from the airline/railway/hotel for any damage or loss or delay which is not very forthcoming. So, many claims don’t get processed as a result.
“In general, there are only a few providers of domestic travel insurance like Tata AIG, Bajaj Allianz, Apollo Munich and a couple more. Their policies are fairly adequate and cover most of the items. The very process of purchase of domestic travel insurance is also very easy,” he added.