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Indian Express
01 November 2010

The tweets came in fast. It was an old friend on his annual va cation and he and his family were stranded at a European airport.
All flights had been cancelled due to the volcanic eruption in Iceland and he was anticipating high cancellation costs on the rest of his travel plans. He was ruing the fact that he had not taken travel insurance and was worried about his accruing losses because of his lack of preparedness.

A lot of travelers, including seasoned ones, often neglect travel insurance.
They put off the decision in the belief that `it won't happen to us'. The reality is that events like disasters and political upheavals happen without any prior warning. Travel insurance does not cost much and an adequate cover for seven days of travel for a family of four would be in the range of Rs 3,000. This would cover expenses such as hospitalization costs up to $50,000 and travel related exigencies such as trip cancellation, trip delay, loss or delay of checked baggage, passport loss and third party liability.

While talking to a travel insurance salesman, there are some matters the discerning traveler should keep in mind: Firstly be clear on the coverage desired. Some plans only cover medical expenses abroad though it is recommended to take a plan that also includes the aforementioned concerns.

The second aspect is the premium for travel insurance which depends on various factors such as age, sum insured, duration of trip, country being visited and the individual policy benefits. Premium can be calculated either for bands of travel days or on a per–day basis.

Thirdly, it is also important to know what is not covered in typical travel insurance policies.

Finally, consider buying travel insurance policy online.

Today travel insurance is very affordable and the importance of investing in an adequate and appropriate policy cannot be overemphasized. The level of protection and mental peace it offers during the `hour of need' more than makes up for the premium paid.The author is Kartik Jain, HeadMarket ing & Director with ICICI Lombard GIC.

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