A foreign holiday is all about exploring a new country, learning about a new culture and spending quality time with our loved ones without having to worry about anything. However, this is only possible if we have an overseas travel insurance plan in place. I had got my learning when I did my first Euro trip, seven years ago.
We get so busy planning about all the places we want to visit, the things we want to do and the food we want to eat that we often forget that we also need something to look after us in times of an emergency situation. While planning a trip to Europe, it must be kept in mind that most of the European countries fall under the Schengen area and as per the laws and rules governing the area, having a travel insurance plan for Europe is a must. I appreciate the fact that they make it mandatory right at the time of applying of visa.
There are a total of twenty six countries that fall under the Schengen area and in order to apply for your visa before visiting these countries, ensure that your insurance documents are ready. The countries that form the Schengen area are Switzerland, Austria, France, Italy, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal, Liechtenstein, Slovenia, Hungary, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Greece, Czech Republic, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden. So if you are planning to go to any of these places, and fall under the list of countries whose nationals require a visa, ensure that you have an insurance plan to cover you while you are there.
A good insurance plan that will ensure that your vacation in Europe is stress free should cover the following costs:
- Trip Cancellation – this may be because of an emergency situation like a serious medical reason or sudden death right before the schedule of the trip.
- Trip Interruption – this usually happens when a medical emergency or an unexpected event like death occurs during the trip because of which it has to be cut short.
- Medical Emergency if the sickness or accident has occurred while in the Schengen area.
- Repatriation of remains – this is when the event has occurred during the trip. This makes up for a huge cost as it requires special ambulance and flight permissions.
- Emergency Evacuation – this usually occurs when there is a sudden political unrest that takes place in the country like war or a terrorist attack.
- Accidental death, disablement or injury benefit – when all or any of this occurs in the Schengen area.
- Delayed baggage (cost of replacement of items that are needed urgently) – this usually occurs when baggage does not reach because of the flight timings or a mistake on the part of the airline. To provide relief till the baggage arrives, some basic everyday essentials are given to the passengers.
- Lost, stolen or damage baggage – when this happens because of the mistake on the part of the airline or other event that is not under control then relief is provided to make up for the lost items.
- Lost or stolen travel documents – getting a passport remade can hurt more than losing one. In the event of this the insurance company takes it upon themselves to get another one made.
- Delay in travel due to weather – because of weather or other natural calamities travel might be delayed or cancelled. The cost of a new travel plan is borne by the company.
- Pregnancy related expenses – if the travel period is during the first trimester. Post this the insurance coverage differs from company to company.
After your camera, an insurance plan is your second best friend while travelling.
How to choose the best insurance plan?
There are a lot of factors that go into determining the cost of an insurance that covers travel insurance and it is important to know about that beforehand. One of the major costs that are taken while calculating the cost of the plan is the cost of the entire trip. Apart from this the other little information that the insurance company will ask you for to calculate the cost of the plan are:
- Age of all the people travelling – this is a very important factor in determining the cost of the plan because if someone of the age of 65 years and up is travelling then the cost will automatically increase. Like if there are minors travelling then they might be added to the plan without any additional cost depending upon the discretion of the travel insurance company.
- The number of people travelling – the more the number of people, more will be the cost of the plan because the risk attached automatically increases.
- The length of the entire trip – just like in the case of the number of people, the same applies with the length of the trip also. The more the number of days, the more will be the risk of unexpected events occurring. This automatically increases the cost of the entire plan.
- The type of coverage needed – what you want is what you will have to pay for. A plan that is basic with no frills attached will cost less than a plan that includes a whole lot of benefits and inclusions.
The price of the plan should not lure you or deter you from purchasing a plan that is going to meet your needs and requirements. The kind of travel protection that will be needed by a family that is going for a quiet family holiday to Hawaii will differ vastly from someone who is planning to go on a hiking trip to the Himalayas. Buy your insurance plan as per the needs and activities of the trip. It is also influenced by the place you are travelling to and number of days that you will be spending there.
Before you invest in a plan that is going to protect you and your entire family it is always advisable to do a thorough research and compare against various plans as it will help in making a better decision. There should be no compromise on the health and safety of your family members because of a few extra bucks. Chances are that if you think of money now, you might end up spending more than you can save because of the unexpected situation. You got to save yourself from such situations when nobody can offer much help.