Of all the industries, travel and hospitality were the most impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. Both domestic and international travel have been poor since 2020, and the industry is still trying to revive. Along with travel, the travel insurance industry was equally impacted by covid.
Aatur Thakkar, co-founder and director at Alliance Insurance Brokers, said, “Post November 2020, the travel market had witnessed some growth; however, after the second covid wave, there was a steep decline in the travel segment again."
Thakkar added, “Since most countries have not opened borders for international travel, that market is still slow. Some countries have made travel insurance compulsory, and many other countries are likely to follow suit."
That would mean travel insurance may have to be factored into every travel plan from now on.
Travel ban burdened insurance industry: The travel and hospitality industries are correlated, and the impact on one has involuntary effects on the other. “The insurance industry has been impacted during covid. However, all of this will change in the next few months. We can foresee a gradual movement in travel," Thakkar said.
Once that happens, travel insurance policies that provide cover for expenses that may arise due to covid-19 should always be given priority.
According to insurance experts, a few insurers that can help consumers with hassle-free and smooth journey experiences are: TATA AIG, HDFC ERGO, Bajaj Allianz, Go-digit, Care Insurance and Bharti AXA.
The right travel policy: You have to be choosy when buying travel insurance so that it will cover any expenses incurred on account of covid-19.
“Basic medical expenses, baggage loss/theft/delayed expenses, flight missed/ delayed/cancelled expenses, any loss of belongings expenses should be considered while buying travel insurance," said Thakkar.
When consumers have so many options available in the market, they should consider product features. Along with that, they should also consider the insurance company’s claims settlement ratio, overseas network hospital tie-ups, solvency ratio, and its track record in the market.
Naval Goel, founder and chief executive officer, PolicyX.com, said that amid the pandemic, the risk of catching the covid-19 virus is multifold as the entire world is grappling with this highly infectious disease.
Keeping this in mind, people are required to be more careful in making a right selection of travel insurance as it should serve a broader purpose than just loss of luggage or passport.
“People must opt for a travel insurance that offers health protection and stand-in support to cater to medical expenses, along with various other medical facilities such as air ambulance, daily hospital cash allowance and accidental coverage," Goel said.
Moreover, since quarantine is a mandatory norm for people travelling from other states or countries, a few companies are also paying for quarantine expenses.
“Apart from this, the chances of flight cancellation are more these days, so people planning to buy travel insurance should opt for Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) add-on as well to avail accommodation and flight cancellation benefits during the coronavirus," said Goel.
CFAR allows the insured to leverage the opportunity to cancel travel plans for reasons other than those listed as “covered reasons" on a policy. CFAR permits the insured to bypass that list, giving greater flexibility and freedom when making decisions about travel reservations.
It comes only as an add-on rider offered with a comprehensive policy, but only if the insured meets specific criteria.
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