It’s that season when everyone wants to get away and come back refreshed. India is vacationing! After buying travel insurance, one hopes.

Travel insurance is a package policy with emergency hospitalisation due to sudden and unexpected illness/injury being one of the main risks covered.

The package usually includes set compensation for missing or delayed baggage, lost passport, cancellation of flights, and personal liability. There are packages for domestic and foreign travel, for individuals, families, and tour groups as well.

Under the international policy, health-related cover typically includes the cost of consultation, hospitalisation, pharmacy bills, investigation expenses, and local emergency transportation apart from the cost of repatriation of mortal remains.

In case of accidental injury or death, compensation is as per a table of benefits set out.

Treatment, except on an emergency basis, related to any pre-existing disease, whether declared or not, is not covered.

It has been available for over three decades now and coverage broadly remains the same with some notable improvements.

At extra premium

One of the improvements is the treatment for pre-existing medical conditions, which can be covered by payment of extra premiums.

Only some companies offer this add-on cover, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company being one of them, and Care Health Insurance and Niva Bupa Health Insurance being others.

There can be a sub-limit, typically 5-15 per cent of the sum insured, for claims under this cover. It may also be conditional, say, being only for life-threatening conditions due to the pre-existing disease.

Cover for locked-up home

Other interesting covers, extra or built-in, include compassionate visits of your family member/s from India, repatriation of minor children, and even fire insurance for your locked-up home back in India when you are away taking in the sights abroad!

Read the specific clauses before buying, and weigh the costs and benefits. If you need medical tests before a policy is issued, ensure you get a copy of the report and proposal form along with a policy copy.

This ensures you and your insurer are on the same page should it come to a claim. It’s a good idea to get the same medical tests done independently, in parallel, whether they are asked for or not so that you have an independent record in case of any doubt or disputes.

(The writer is a business journalist specialising in insurance & corporate history)