As the Indian summer hits the peak, many Indians would be exploring travelling abroad to relatively cooler climes to and to enjoy a global holiday destination. Others may be visiting friends and relatives overseas or planning an extended stay with their children settled elsewhere.

While packing the most needed things and keeping safe custody of important documents are important, a critical point to note is taking insurance for your period of overseas stay – a travel cover.

Many western countries mandate travel insurance for visitors, while some keep it optional. Whatever may be the country of your visit, amidst all the running around for visas, clothing, international roaming SIM cards and other stuff, buying a travel insurance policy should not be a mere formality left for the last minute, but planned carefully.

Many insurers offer comprehensive travel policies. These include Tata AIG, ICICI Lombard, Care, Reliance General, Bajaj Allianz, SBI General, Digit and Oriental Insurance, among others.

Read on for the key features that are a critical part of a quality travel insurance product, and which you must ensure are available in the product you buy.

Ensuring the best features

Travelling abroad may mean multiple transits before reaching your final destination. Sometimes, connecting flights may miss your checked-in luggage.  At times, the luggage itself may be lost in transit.

Therefore, having coverage for loss of luggage during overseas travel is highly essential. Insurance companies offer coverage of anywhere from $250 to $1,000 for baggage loss.

While waiting at airports, boarding gates or while spending time at lounges or during shopping, there is a possibility of lowering your guard on key documents at times.

In the unfortunate event of your passport getting lost, you will definitely be stranded and in need of assistance. You can get $150 to $300 as coverage amount for losing your passport at an airport, while travelling locally or other international destinations.

The next key coverage point is on accidents. In case of any unfortunate personal accidents resulting in injuries or something even more serious, your insurer must provide coverage and the requisite assistance. Some insurers also cover damage to third-party entities in select cases, which may be a useful addition. It is a personal liability cover.

One of the most important factors to note is the insurance cover for medical emergencies and immediate treatments during your stay abroad. You must ensure that the travel insurance policy offers comprehensive coverage

A few other innovative additional covers offered by select insurers are for visa rejection, cancelled trips due to unavoidable reasons, natural disasters, political factors, reimbursement of unauthorised charges levied on a stolen payment card, missed flights and so on.

Insurers offer these travel policies without any prior medical check-up.

Operational factors

Companies offer a coverage of  up to $100,000 under their travel insurance plans with comprehensive features. You should not be in a hurry to buy travel insurance policies offered by your ticket-booking portal. Instead, you must pore over various travel insurance policies and take one that meets all your requirements.

This is especially important when senior citizens are travelling and plan to stay on for several months at the international destination, on aspects such as medical emergencies, as medical costs can be prohibitively expensive abroad.

You must also check whether the travel insurance policy offers a robust cashless network of hospitals in your vacation city or location so that any medical claims are settled smoothly. This will help in avoiding unnecessary spending from your own pocket.

Your travel insurance must have a 24*7 dedicated global helpline for you to call and raise claims or seek approvals at short notice. A solid app-based claim process with quick decision-making from the insurer is also a welcome addition for smooth settlement.

You will also have to take note of the exclusions on the travel insurance policy. Most insurers do not cover pre-existing illness and any claims related to those even when treatment is taken abroad. A select few insurers, in recent times, cover pre-existing illness as well, but making claims may require considerable effort.

Most insurers do not cover treatment for complications due to anxiety, depression, alcohol and drug intake. Ayurvedic treatment, naturopathy, spa sessions are not covered.

For those looking to enjoy with adventures, rides, and sporting activities at theme parks abroad, there is a note of caution. Most insurers generally do not entertain claims arising out treatment of injuries sustained while engaged in these adventure activities.