Should you buy travel insurance in India or U.S.?

It’s cheaper to buy the policy in India but watch out for fine print

Travel insurance is not only important for people visiting a foreign country for studies, a vacation or business trip, but it is equally important for those visiting their family members residing in a foreign land.

For parents travelling abroad to visit their children, it is strongly recommended to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to ensure complete coverage for them in the event of a medical or travel emergency.

Below are some of the important parameters that one must consider when buying travel insurance for parents.

Pre-existing diseases

When zeroing in on a travel insurance policy for your parents, it is important to check if the policy provides proper cover for pre-existing diseases as some diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart-related ailments are quite common during old age. It is also important to declare to the insurer, while buying the travel policy, about any ongoing medical treatment that any of your parents is undergoing or any ailment for which they were treated in the past, usually in the last 48 months. Any older surgeries should be declared. Not informing the insurer about pre-existing diseases can result in the rejection of claim during a medical emergency.

Cashless hospitals network

Before buying a travel insurance policy for your parents, you should ask the insurer for a list of hospitals that provide cashless claim facility around your area of residence. Under travel insurance, only claims related to emergency or unplanned hospitalisation are covered.

Cost of travel insurance

Travellers planning to buy travel insurance from India can do so at affordable prices from online insurance aggregators’ websites. The insurance can be bought for a maximum of 180 days when travelling to the USA.

Choose wisely

With the increase in the number of travellers visiting the U.S., numerous insurers in that country as well have started offering travel insurance to customers visiting from India. However, the offered features and services of the different plans widely vary from insurer to insurer and the way these plans work are also quite different from the ones offered by Indian insurers.

Most travel insurance plans offered by U.S.-based insurers come with a pre-defined deductible amount or even ‘co-pay’ in some of the plans. Also, the premium charged by U.S.-based travel insurers is significantly higher.

While the cost for a 60-year-old male and 58-year-old female travelling to the U.S. for a period of 180 days comes to somewhere between ₹15,000 and ₹31,000 when buying insurance from India; the same, when bought from a U.S.-based insurer, costs $1,812 along with a $250 deductible for each person.

(The author is chief business officer, General Insurance, Policybazaar.com)

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