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Busting Some Travel Insurance Myths

Get your travel insurance plan without harbouring any myths about the policy or the insurer. We debunk five popular ones.

Every traveller should get travel health insurance before leaving home. But while some travellers get insurance as a precaution against their bags being mishandled, damaged or even lost by airlines, others seek insurance to guard against falling ill on the trip and stacking up expensive medical bills.

The fine print of the travel health insurance plan specifies all the terms and conditions that make the policy void – but not many take the trouble to read and understand it!

This can lead to confusion and dispute later on, when one tries to claim insurance but cannot. Consider these five travel insurance myths that you must stave off:

1. You can claim damages or expenses for every item in your baggage.

Most people who take travel insurance are not aware that the plan pays for only a few items and only a percentage of that item’s price. For example, if you are carrying an expensive guitar to a foreign country and the airline damages it, the insurance will pay only a part of the guitar’s cost. At the same time, you cannot claim the full cost of all items that were lost or damaged. The insurer will specify a cap on the reimbursement and the number of items you can claim insurance for.

2. You can claim insurance for every lost bag.

The insurer will pay about 50% of the bag’s contents cost, but you have to prove that the bag was stolen and not mislaid by you. For instance, you can claim expenses if a thief snatches your bag or if the airline damages the bag’s contents while handling it. In both cases, you will require a written authentication of the incident to claim insurance. However, you cannot leave your bag behind in a cab or leave it unattended in a public place and then claim insurance.

3. Insurance covers you for all accidents and injuries.

While you can claim travel health insurance for injuries or illness sustained on your trip and arising out of accidents or sudden ill health, you cannot claim insurance for self-inflicted injuries, wounds arising out of an accident caused by you, or participating in dangerous sports such as snowboarding, bungee jumping, deep sea diving, etc. Your insurer will provide a list of injuries that are not covered by the plan.

4. Your insurer will reschedule all cancelled flights.

While the insurer will reschedule a flight that has been affected by terrorism or a natural calamity in the destination country, you cannot get coverage for flights diverted or cancelled for bad weather, delayed flights, etc. Similarly, you cannot claim insurance for such reasons as failing to get a visa and cancellation of ticket on non-emergent grounds.

5. Your insurance will pay if you fall ill or are pregnant.

Some insurers offer pregnant women coverage up to the third trimester, but subject to certain conditions. Also, while travel health insurance can cover illnesses arising on foreign soil, it does not cover pre-existing conditions, or illnesses arising out of substance abuse, trying experimental drugs, participating in field trials involving unknown food or medicines and taking medicines without a doctor’s prescription.

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