Travelling is an exciting adventure, whether you plan on doing it within Pakistan or abroad. However, it comes with its share of uncertainties. While you may be prepared for sightseeing, trying new cuisines, and experiencing different cultures, you should also be prepared for health and other logistical challenges that can affect your health and well-being.
This is where travel health insurance for international trips comes into play. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of this insurance and its various aspects, including medical expenses, repatriation, and more. Travel insurance is an essential item to have on your checklists along with the visas and other travel arrangements. It is often overlooked by travellers planning their trips. Whether you spend money on a long-awaited trip or a quick getaway, travel insurance can save you money, and time if things go wrong.
Why Travel Insurance is Essential
When travelling, you can encounter unexpected illnesses or injuries. This usually means a lot of expense as well as logistical management. Needing medical treatment in a foreign location usually means that you incur multiple medical expenses. This would include the doctor’s fees, hospitalization costs, surgery, diagnostic tests, and prescription medications. This is where travel insurance ensures that you receive the medical care you need without being burdened by hefty bills.
In addition, travel insurance helps to protect travellers from sickness and injury, from cancelled flights, damaged electronics, lost luggage, and even the death of a family member at home or during the trip.
In short, travel insurance offers the insured party an all-emergency-covered safety net. Such plans are among the most critical items on your buy list when planning your trip. It is strongly advised that travellers never start a journey without it. Travel insurance can help save people a lot of unnecessary expenses and hassle.
Advantages of Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is the sensible choice to make if you want to protect the amount of money you have already paid out for your vacation. But no one can blame you for being hesitant about adding another expense to your travel budget after paying for airfare, hotels, meals and activities.
However, if you are like most of us, and can’t afford to lose the mostly non-refundable money you have paid for travel arrangements, travel insurance is a smart investment.
Travel insurance covers standard travel issues like lost or stolen luggage, injuries, broken phones and medical treatment. All of these items are expensive on their own. When you consider the different prices of things in other countries and our weak currency, you should develop a healthy appreciation for travel insurance and the safety net it offers to travellers.
The objective of travel insurance is to ensure that you don’t lose a lot of money if an emergency happens while you are abroad. Since most local health insurance programs don’t cover overseas travel and travel credit cards offer limited protection, buying travel insurance is something you need to protect yourself against the unknown.
Standard Features of Travel Insurance Plans
Buying travel insurance is relatively easy, and there are many different options in the marketplace. If you have never purchased a travel insurance plan, a good place to start is generic aggregator sites or insurance marketplaces which let you compare different carriers based on both price and coverage.
You usually need to either fill out a brief questionnaire about what you need or talk to a representative that will help guide you through the process of selecting an insurance policy according to your budget and travel plans.
The main objective is to survey the travel insurance marketplace and compare policies in one place. Visiting individual company websites can be a tedious and time-consuming process.
Items to Focus on in a Travel Insurance Plan
When shopping for a policy, look for these benefits:
Trip Cancellation Coverage
Your travel insurance policy can reimburse you for prepaid, non-refundable trip deposits if a trip is cancelled for a covered reason. These outlays can include airline tickets, hotel rooms, rental cars, tours and cruises.
Examples of acceptable reasons to cancel a trip include illness, injury or death of the traveller, a close family member or a travelling companion. Military deployment or civil unrest, a serious family emergency, or any other unplanned event.
Other reasons include travel suspension due to a natural disaster, severe weather or a strike, and your home or destination becoming uninhabitable. However, bear in mind that you cannot cancel your trip for any reason and expect to be reimbursed just because you have paid for travel insurance.
For example, if you have a fight with your friend and don’t want to travel with her, or you change your mind about taking a long-distance flight to Canada, these are not covered reasons.
Trip Delay Coverage
Should you experience an issue in your travel itinerary, your travel insurance policy can provide some financial relief. Travel delay coverage provides reimbursement if a traveller is delayed for one of the policy’s covered reasons. This benefit usually reimburses for expenses such as food, lodging and local transportation that are incurred during the delay.
Covered reasons commonly include severe weather, airline maintenance or civil unrest. There’s often a waiting period before your benefits kick in.
Trip Interruption Coverage
In case you need to cut your trip short due to illness or injury you experienced during your trip, or if there’s a family emergency back home, your policy may reimburse non-refundable expenses you forfeit if you return home early.
Such policies may also cover the cost of a one-way economy airline ticket home. Not all reasons are covered, however. Only emergencies and illnesses are commonly covered.
Medical Expenses and Emergency Evacuation
Even more expensive than medical treatment is an emergency medical evacuation, something the right travel insurance policy can arrange and cover. If you’re heading overseas, you will need the additional protection of emergency medical benefits and emergency medical transportation benefits.
If your travel insurance plan includes baggage benefits, your insurer can reimburse you, up to the maximum shown on the Confirmation of Coverage, for covered loss, theft or damage to your baggage and personal items. Every plan has specific coverage limits for each benefit, which are outlined in the plan documents.
Your personal possessions are also covered if lost or stolen while you’re travelling. Travel insurance can reimburse you for the actual cash value, repair or replacement — whichever is less, based on the limits in your insurance policy’s letter of confirmation.
You must report losses to your airline, airport, police or other relevant authorities like a tour operator or hotel manager. You will need this documentation when you file a claim.
Not all items are covered by your travel insurance policy. For example, cash is not reimbursable, and many policies won’t cover very expensive jewellery, art, antiques or heirloom items. To reduce the risk of losing irreplaceable items, don’t bring these items on vacation. And make sure to read your policy carefully to see what is covered.
Travel of a Family Member Traveling with the Insured
Travelling with family members is fairly common. If a family member who is travelling with the insured faces an illness or accident, travel health insurance can cover the costs associated with their travel to their home country.
Travel of One Immediate Family Member
In case of extended hospitalization or medical treatment, it is reassuring to have the presence of a family member. Travel health insurance in Pakistan often covers the travel expenses of one immediate family member to join the insured during their treatment abroad. This ensures that you are not alone during a challenging period and that you have the support you need.
Delivery of Medicines
Running out of essential medications during your international trip can be a cause for concern. Travel health insurance covers the cost of delivering vital medicines to your location. This provision is particularly beneficial for travellers with chronic health conditions who rely on regular medications.
Loss of Credit Card
Losing your credit card while travelling can be a significant inconvenience. It often includes coverage for the costs associated with replacing a lost credit card. This coverage provides financial security, allowing you to address this issue without disruptions to your travel plans.
Flight delays due to various factors, such as weather, technical issues, or air traffic congestion, can disrupt your travel schedule. Travel health insurance can cover additional expenses incurred during a delay, like hotel stays, meals, and transportation to your destination. This ensures that you’re not financially burdened by unforeseen travel disruptions.
Travel insurance usually doesn’t cover financial losses due to any reasons and circumstances that are under your control. Its main purpose is to safeguard your trip investment if unexpected circumstances derail your plans.
For instance, the majority of the benefits only apply if they occur due to a reason listed in the policy, which are mainly unforeseen events out of your control. That means you won’t be eligible to file a standard trip cancellation insurance claim if you simply change your mind about going on your trip.
Review the policy fine print before you buy it and familiarize yourself with what the policy doesn’t cover.