India is an exciting place to be in. Be it for business, investment or tourism, travelling to India is fun. And while you may think you have got yourself covered for the business trip, here’s a little reminder – have you insured yourself for the trip?
Well, it might look like an unnecessary expense when you first hear about it. But think hard. You’ll be taking a business trip to a country you hardly have any idea about. The pollution there is at dangerous levels and the food is absolutely opposite to what is known as ‘Indian’ here. Still not convinced? Allow us to explain with a few points.
What it Covers
1. Medical Emergencies
You travel to New Delhi and finalized the deal, finished checking the factory, or any other business-related activities. Just getting off work, you are enjoying yourself thoroughly. You gorge on the street food that looks tempting but at the end of the day, you are down with a bad stomach. You call the doctor at the hotel and he tells you it’s a severe case of food poisoning.
You are admitted to a nice private hospital near your hotel and get treated for three days. At the time of checking out, your hospital bill comes to over $500. Stunned? It’s natural.
In the above scenario, a business travel insurance would have covered your unwarranted hospital expenses but since your instincts told you otherwise, you end up paying over $500 from your own pocket.
Another common scenario, when your travel insurance will come to your rescue is baggage loss. Losing your baggage in a foreign country can be a harrowing experience. In such a case, your business travel insurance pays you a certain amount to ensure that you can buy the basic stuff you need for the trip. Apart from this, your travel insurance covers accidental death and travel cost (reimburses the expenses in case your prepaid reservation gets cancelled interrupted or delayed), thus protecting you from any unforeseen event that can happen to you on your trip
What it doesn’t Cover
A travel insurance does not cover any costs incurred if there is civil unrest in a place. For example, if you travel to Srinagar, which frequently witnesses unrest due to the militant activity in the area, and there is a curfew, your travel insurance company will not cover the additional costs incurred due to the extended stay.
Another important thing to remember is that most travel insurance plans do not cover any accidents caused by adventure activities. So say, you go para gliding in Himachal Pradesh, a northern state in India or bungee jumping in Andhra Pradesh and you end up injuring yourself in the process, your travel insurance will not pay for the extra costs incurred at the hospitals.
Accidents Due to Alcohol or Drugs
The same stands true for any medical emergencies caused due to alcohol or drugs. So, if you think you can party hard after work and your travel insurance will take care of the additional costs of the hospitals, should you land yourself in any, then you are in for a huge disappointment.
Expats in India: Buying Health Insurance Locally
According to the statistics by the Indian government, tourists from the US constituted the largest share of foreign tourist arrivals (FTAs) in India in 2014. The statistics revealed that 111898.3 tourists from the US travelled to India in the year, thus making up 14.7% of the total FTAs. Currently, there are 30,000 expats living in India, of which US is one of the largest contributors.
The best way for expats to protect themselves is by buying their health insurance locally. Not only your local insurance agent can give you personalised services, but you can also benefit from their experience in dealing with the right person at the right time when making a claim on your behalf.
What about business travel insurance? It’s best suited to those who are travelling to the country for a short span of time, may be for a few days or a month. But if you are moving base to the country for a few months, you may want to move over travel insurance and buy yourself a comprehensive international health insurance plans by IMG, Cigna, Allianze among others.
A Note on Inadequate Group Medical Cover
While their employers do provide a group medical cover, however, it may not be suffice as insurance companies do not partner with every hospital in the city. In such a case, it is advisable that you buy your health cover to protect yourself of any unforeseen event from an insurance company there as they would be more economical and convenient.
Most of the American insurance companies such as MetLife, Prudential and ManuLife have a substantial presence in the country and offer comprehensive health insurance plans. Some of the insurance covers offered to foreign nationals include CIGNA TTK Pro Health Preferred plan for a sum insured of $22,335. This cover is available at an annual premium of $564, which offers accident covers from the beginning while covers for any disease such as cancer, tuberculosis after a month of the issuance of plan.
Similarly, another insurer, Royal Sundaram, is offering a plan of the same cover at a premium of $276.8. Another plan offered to foreign nationals in India is by Max Bupa, which offers a cover of $29,780 at an annual premium of $280.50. The benefits offered by both the plans are similar to the ones provided by Cigna.
Any Pocket-Friendly Insurance Plans?
You can of course choose the quantum of your cover depending on the duration of your stay in India. Insurance companies often offer covers from as minimal as $7,000 up to at least a million dollar. One must also remember that buying health insurance in India would be far more economical and easier for you to use.
Easy to use, easy to claim
Remember, every insurer has his own tie-ups with certain hospitals and so it is best to ask your local broker there for a list of their network hospitals. If you happen to visit any other hospital, not registered with your insurance agency, then you will have to pay out of your pocket and get it reimbursed from your insurer. If you visit one of the network hospitals, you will be able to enjoy a cashless transaction.
You can check out for more options on Indian online insurance portals such as PolicyBazaar.com that will help you compare different health insurance plans in order to buy the best that suits you.
We suggest that before you buy your health plan, it is best to know your area of residence in the country and the hospitals around. Choose a plan that has tie-ups with hospitals in your vicinity in order to avoid any unnecessary hassle.