Insurance Products That I commonly Use

Photo Credit Isak55/Shutterstock

All of us in our day to day life use insurance products some or the other time. For me, the most commonly used insurance product is travel insurance whenever I go abroad. Taking out a travel insurance is so easy, you can go online compare prices and see what works out for you. I have been lucky to not claim under travel insurance but having it gives me a peace of mind. If you travel a lot, then make sure that your travel insurance policy offers comprehensive coverage.

cliff-jumping
Cliff Jumping- That is Me!

Most of the common travel insurance policies would not cover adventure travels. Do read the fine print and only then take out the policy.

The next most commonly used insurance product for me is car insurance. Once again car insurance can also be purchased or renewed online. Also showrooms, from where you bought the car, take care of car insurance renewal. I am lucky that the showroom from where I bought the car from reminds me every time about the renewal. They also send someone to collect the check.

The third most common insurance that I use is the medical insurance. I am covered from my husband’s company. We have used medical insurance twice for his hospitalization, they were minor operations. But the medical bills were large. His medical insurance company offers excellent service, so we never had any issues in claiming the amount. Most of the medical insurance companies offer 90% cover for medical costs, while 10% have to be paid by us.

Buying a general insurance policy is easy, but selection of the best one requires you to look at important factors such as the customer reviews and track record of the company when it comes to honoring a claim. I hope all of us are lucky and we never need to use any kind of insurance, but if we are in need and if it is difficult to claim the insurance, then what is the point of having insurance in the first place?

So what is your insurance story? Do share in the comments.

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I recently saw this video on jugaad by Exide Life which goes with . Wheather we love it or hate it, we can’t ignore jugaad in India. Why we even have a vehicle called jugaad! However, jugaad takes us only so far! Along with Exide many have realized that jugaad is short term. I still remember their Money Book concept which encouraged families to keep their financial information in an accessible place. It is a simple but brilliant idea. And honestly most of us ignore it!

If you are interested in jugaad and innovation I would also encourage you to watch Professor Rishikesh Krishnan’s video on the topic. He is currently the director of IIM Indore but I knew him as the external examiner for my Ph.D. viva! He was at IIM Bangalore then. He is an excellent speaker and passionate about the subject.

Moving back to travel and me (after all it is my blog) I don’t think I have a jugaad mentality, at least not a massive one. But when I review my behavior I feel there are some aspects which I would like to change about my traveling.

Lousy Hotels that My Husband Likes

I met my husband where else but at IIT Kanpur. Before that from 6th to M.A. I studied in women’s school and college! I was the outsider, the poor research scholar! He was the IIT JEE undergrad! He now works in a swank multinational. But when it comes to hotels he can stay in the most hideous hole without batting an eyelid. In the initial years he dragged me too! I went along for a while. Then I started protesting, then I simply put my foot down!

I have no objection to staying in local places or budget places, I also like budget places. But I don’t have the same level of tolerance as him! I wonder what took me so long to make him scared about dragging me to a lousy hole, there is no other way to describe his choice of hotels! I should have done that from the word go!

What Will I Wear?

My sister is the only one in the family with a dress sense. I am bad. Before a trip she often asks me, “So what will you wear?” And it irritates the hell out of me. I will wear anything that is ironed and at hand! Now it was fine till I used to travel for leisure. But then I went ahead and made travel my work too. And there in lies the catch.

I discovered hotels which have a dress code! I went to events where I need to look the part. I so love to live in a faded jeans (substitute it with shorts/track lower according to the weather and need)  and mismatched t-shirt but slowly I am forced to pay attention to the question ‘what will I wear?’

I wish I did it in college when learning anything new was easy but then it is better late than never! I still manage to look like a dump when the occasion demands to look like a million dollars but then as House says ‘people don’t change.’ Not that much anyway!

When it Comes to Freelance Payments

Now that I have managed to make travel my work I need to deal with the consequences. I traded a paycheck for freelance. I did freelance even while I was working full time. So I went in with my eyes open. My pet peeve with freelance work is that many clients don’t pay on time. I still manage to deal with it.

But there was this once instance when I landed up myself in a situation where I didn’t get paid at all! Now that was a first even for me. I certainly wish I knew how not to land myself in such a soup. Anyway a valuable lesson learned the hard way! I try my best not to make the same mistake twice. And no I don’t believe in naming such people, this is a situation beyond hope. May karma catch up with them!

The Resistance to Raincoats, Umbrellas and Dry Bags

I have not paid a price for it yet! I am not so worried about myself, I am not made of salt so I won’t dissolve in water! But my camera and water don’t mix well and yet I have been managing with polythene! I too indulge in jugaad after all!

I will do it Later!

All my working life, I thought I would keep working for ever. Never made a bucket list of the places I wanted to go just took random holidays, expensive ones too! That was the time when cash flow was good!

Now I wish I had a bucket list! At the next opportunity, when I am in an expensive mood (and the cash flow permits it), I am going to visit places I really want to rather than booking anything last moment! I learned this one the hard way too!

What are your views on juggad vs being systematic?

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I am extremely lucky that in my 25 trips abroad I never really have faced any major travel crisis! And if you thought I have forgotten counting because I told you sometime back that I have visited only 16 countries then that is not true. I have visited a few as much as 5 times, so the total number of trips is more than 16.

Speaking of travel crisis, though I myself haven’t faced one, travel insurance is an affordable and reliable way to handle such mishaps. While travel insurance is mandatory for several countries (like Schengen Countries) there are quite a few where it isn’t mandatory. In fact I too forgot to buy insurance in one instance while traveling to one of these places. But I have never had any reasons to claim insurance till date. Though I hope my luck lasts forever, I also do realize the need to be prepared. Here are five reasons why I buy travel insurance.

#1 A medical emergency abroad can be very expensive

Expenses involved in a medical emergency can be massive. If a traveller sustains an injury that needs hospitalization, a single day of hospitalization can cost Rs 2-3 lakhs a day or even more in the US. What’s more is that if hospitalization gets extended to over a week or in case of immediate surgery (e.g. multiple fracture, heart attack etc.) the bill could easily touch a Crore or higher. With the right kind of travel insurance a traveller can receive coverage to the tune of half a million US dollars for an affordable price. In absence of timely funds to treat a medical emergency a traveller can be denied crucial treatment which in fact can result in permanent damage. Travel insurance is also particularly beneficial in situations where a traveller faces a life threatening injury or medical condition in a remote location where medical help could be several hundred miles away. Travel insurance offers medical evacuation during such instances so that the traveller receives immediate life-saving medical treatment without loss of much valuable time.

#2 Travel insurance assists you for nearly all kind of travel emergencies

Apart from medical emergencies, situations like delayed flights, lost baggage, misplaced/stolen personal belongings can easily botch a trip. Bharti AXA GI SmartTraveller insurance provides financial support in each of these situations.

  • Trip Delay/cancellation/interruption:Reimbursement is given for additional expenses if the trip is delayed beyond a period, due to airline problems, medical problems, personal employment problems or natural disasters. It also covers cancellation or interruption by offering payment towards the non-refundable prepaid payments or the additional expenses incurred on the trip being cancelled or interrupted due to medical problems, personal employment problems or natural disasters.
  • Missed Connection:Payment allowance is made towards additional expenses incurred, if the confirmed onward connecting flight is missed at the transfer point by the Insured/ Insured Person due to the late arrival or cancellation of the incoming confirmed connecting scheduled flight.
  • Loss of Deposit or cancellation– Hotel and Airline: Compensation is paid for loss of irrevocable deposits or charges paid in advance in case of, necessary and unavoidable cancellation of Hotel and Airline booking.
  • Loss of Passport, travelers cheques, traveling tickets/documents: Reimbursement of actual expenses incurred in connection with obtaining a duplicate or fresh passport or reasonable cost of replacing/obtaining the stolen documents/ tickets if the passport belonging to the Insured / Insured Person is lost.
  • Financial Emergency Assistance:Arrangement for emergency cash to be made available to the Insured in case of loss of the travel funds due to theft, mugging, robbery and dacoity.
  • Delay or Total Loss of checked-in baggage:Payment of compensation for reasonable expenses incurred for the purchases of toiletries, clothing and medication due to a delay in checked-in baggage or payment towards total loss of checked baggage caused by a common carrier.
  • Personal Accident:Payment of compensation if the Insured sustains accidental bodily injury during a trip  resulting in death or Permanent Total Disablement or Permanent Partial Disablement within 12 months of occurrence of such injury.
  • Personal Liability:Compensation for liability towards damages paid/payable to a third party, resulting from death, injury or damage to health or property caused involuntarily by the Insured.
  • Daily Allowance in case of Hospitalisation: Payment of daily allowance for the days the Insured is hospitalised beyond a specified number of days, as mentioned in the Policy Schedule, for which a valid claim is admissible under the Policy whilst on a trip abroad.
  • Compassionate Visit: Reimbursement of round trip and stay expenses of the immediate family member to visit the Insured if he/she is hospitalized for more than seven consecutive days. Reimbursement of return fare of the Insured to visit the native place in case of the immediate family member (spouse, dependent children or parents) being hospitalized for more than seven consecutive days in India or in the event of death.
  • Hijack Distress Allowance: Payment of distress allowance in case of hijack of a common carrier for more than certain number of hours whilst on the trip.
  • Home Fire & Insurance Contents: Cover against any loss or damage of the Contents at Home of the Insured in India, caused by Fire and Allied perils or through burglary and/or housebreaking while the Insured is on a trip abroad.
  • Overbooked Flight: Provides for indemnifying the Insured/ Insured Person for the expenses incurred, if denied boarding of an aircraft on a commercial scheduled flight due to over-booking.
  • Bail Bond:Provides for payment of bail amount on behalf of the Insured if he/she is arrested or detained by Police or Judicial authorities, for any bailable offence whilst on a trip abroad.
  • Legal Expenses: Payment of legal costs and expenses incurred by the Insured towards claims from third Parties for compensation in respect of death or disablement arising due to an injury whilst on a trip abroad.
  • Emergency Accommodation Payment of compensation for the additional cost of emergency accommodation if the Insured/ Insured Person could not stay in the accommodation originally booked due to fire, flood, earthquake, storm, hurricane, explosion, outbreak of major infectious diseases.

In a nutshell, travel insurance offers travellers relief in nearly all kind of travel related emergencies

#3 Travel Insurance is Reliable and affordable

A lot of insurance firms in India are joint ventures between an Indian entity and an International insurance firm of global repute. While the prices of travel insurance products are affordable the coverage and ease of claims assistance are at par with global standards. Travellers have access to huge cashless networks of hospitals across the globe where they can avail cashless treatment. A large network also implies quick help, specially in case of medical evacuation and emergencies pertaining to financial assistance.

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With regards to affordability, travel insurance usually costs less than one percent of the entire trip! Bharti AXA GI’s SmartTraveller offers travel insurance for one week trip for an individual less than 40 years with half a million dollar cover costs just Rs 1100. A week’s trip to Europe with a 100,000 Euro cover for a person aged 40 years or less costs just INR 606. A week’s trip with a $50,000 cover to Singapore for a person aged 40 years or less costs just INR 349. I myself have paid a little more than INR 500 for a lot of benefits that go with having a travel insurance policy. Before buying an insurance I was not even aware that lost luggage could be covered by insurance.

#4 It is Easy to Buy Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can be purchased online through any mobile device (phone/laptop or tablet) in a matter of minutes and on the same day of travel. Given are a few simple steps to purchase Bharti AXA GI Smart Traveller online.

When I was working full time, I used to travel a lot as well because of my blog. For all my trips I bought travel insurance last minute, probably on the day of departure. If I had to go somewhere to buy travel insurance I might have skipped whenever I could because taking leave was never an easy option.

#5 It is Easy to Compare Travel Insurance Plans

If you are not sure which travel insurance plan to buy it is easy to compare. First of all you can compare the various plans offered by the same company. There are third party websites that would let you compare insurance across service providers. There was a time when I would look at the cheapest quote as the best option. But after traveling more I realized it is also important to consider what is it that you want to be covered on a priority basis!

Peace of Mind

There was this one instance when I was visiting Thailand and I completely forgot to buy travel insurance. Travel insurance is not mandatory to get a visa on arrival in Thailand. Throughout the trip I had this nagging voice in my head telling me ‘you are not insured.’ I would rather travel without that voice nagging me all the time. Though travel insurance is not mandatory for a lot of countries I would strongly recommend that is it bought while travel to these nations too. As emergencies pertaining to travel can happen anywhere, assistance at that point of time in a foreign location can provide immense relief so that you can worry about safeguarding your- self and your loved one rather than worrying about bills.

What is your take on buying travel insurance? Do share your tales.

Please Note: Insurance is a Subject matter of Solicitation.

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Life insurance is something we don’t think about much. It is a policy which is tucked away in some remote corner of the house. Many a times it is accompanied by a fear based message. After doing an exercise with Exide Life Insurance I realized that I hardly dream about anything else but travel!

My Story from Mridula Dwivedi on Vimeo.

Exide Life Insurance has tried to inject some fun into planning for our life. The above video is based on their idea of maintaining a scrapbook called ‘my long and happy life.’ where “the basic idea is to promote Long and Happy life, Kal Khoobsurat Hai, Well planned life for a beautiful tomorrow”. You can see that my life revolves around my family and travel. These were the parts that I filled first!

Apart from thinking of Chhavi and her college everything else revolves around travel for me! Antarctica you are still a dream, but it is good to have dreams!

Here is the official video from the company where a young couple goes about planning their life.

exide-life-insurance
My Money Book

But it was their money book that really caught my attention. It puts the idea of maintaining the family financial records in one accessible place for every member of the family. The only document we have commonly accessible in my family is our health insurance. Otherwise we know that we are the nominees in each other’s policies. Beyond that we have no clue who has invested where and what!

I know it is not a wise thing to do. But tell me how many of you have made such a file or document which has details of invest readily and systematically available to each-other?

I am even worse. I have some investments which I need to close and take out my money from. It always gets postponed to tomorrow! Earlier the excuse was that with my work and travel I had no time. Now I do not know what my excuse is! Maybe that it is my daughter’s summer vacation right now?

When I was invited by the company to do this exercise, I was not too sure what was in it for me. But after completing some of it, I know there is a great message for me, to become more disciplined about my financial planning.

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