What is Travel Insurance?

Created on 29 Jun 2022

Wraps up in 5 Min

Read by 2.2k people

Updated on 11 Nov 2023

You might have seen an option to check or un-check the travel insurance section while booking train or flight tickets online. By checking on the "insure my travel" or travel insurance option, you are asked to pay a bit of additional money. However, if you uncheck that option, you are auto-chosen for "I want to risk my travel". This option especially appears on the flight ticket booking sites. But why does one even need insurance when travelling? 

In this article, let us understand the meaning of travel insurance and the nitty-gritty of getting one for your travels. 

Travel Insurance Meaning

The answer to "what is travel insurance" is that it is a type of insurance product that can cover you and your family during travel against uncertainties like ticket cancellation, illness or death during the journey, accidents, baggage loss and more. 

This type of general insurance is available separately for domestic and international travel. Therefore, by spending a fixed amount on travel insurance, you can manage the financial costs due to uncertainties during your travel. 

There are four broad types of travel insurance plans available in India. These are domestic travel insurance, international travel insurance, medical travel insurance and senior citizen travel insurance. Let us understand them in detail one by one. 

  • Domestic travel insurance can cover you against uncertainties and medical emergencies that can occur during your travel within India. Typical uncertainties that can occur during domestic travel include delay or cancellation of your flight, baggage loss during transit or theft, medical emergencies, and third-party damages you might inflict during the journey. 

  • International travel insurance can guard against the uncertain and incidental financial losses that might occur while you travel abroad. 

  • Medical travel insurance only guards you against the treatment of emergencies during travel that is medical in nature. The policy inclusions and exclusions differ from one policy to another. 

  • Senior citizen travel insurance is specifically directed toward senior citizens (between 60 to 70 years). This policy can offer cashless hospitalisation and additional coverage specific to their needs. 

Apart from the four types of travel insurance policies mentioned here, there are a few sub-divisions to domestic and international travel insurance. These sub-divisions are as follows:

  • Single-trip insurance is a one-time travel insurance policy concerning an individual one-side or return trip. This is what you check or uncheck while booking online air tickets. 

  • Multi-trip insurance is a travel insurance policy for frequent travellers (domestic or abroad). 

  • Group travel insurance plans can cover you if you are travelling in a group. The maximum number of persons covered differs for different policies. Buying group travel insurance also becomes cost-effective when travelling with a big family. 

  • Lastly, there is educational travel insurance for students going on educational trips for a maximum duration ranging from 30 to 45 days (depending on the insurance provider). 

You can buy travel insurance as a part of your ticket, tour booking, or directly from an insurance provider. In the case of the former, you choose a pre-defined policy. However, suppose you are buying travel insurance directly through an insurance provider. In that case, you can select a plan that can give you the maximum coverage benefits. 

With a comprehensive list and variety of travel insurance policies available, you can choose the one that is more suitable for your needs and avail of its coverage benefits. 

What are the benefits of buying travel insurance?

The following are the major benefits of covering your travel with a suitable travel insurance policy: 

1. Coverage for trip cancellation or interruption

There are times when your trip can get cancelled due to multiple reasons. This is especially true after the COVID19 pandemic

In this case, the trip cancellation or interruption coverage can come handy. With this coverage, you (the traveller) can be reimbursed for prepaid and non-refundable travel expenses. 

Some of the acceptable reasons for cancellation or delay can be weather-related delays and cancellations, illness, death of an immediate member of your family, international conflicts and other such emergencies. 

These acceptable reasons for cancellation and interruption can differ for different insurance providers. 

This option and the luggage cover are usually available while booking flight tickets online.

2. Luggage cover

Sometimes, mishaps can occur with your baggage during your air travel. There can also be thefts or baggage loss during transits, especially during hopping flights. Thanks to luggage cover in travel insurance, financial damages against these uncertainties can easily be covered. 

3. Medical cover

Just like any general insurance that can cover your medical expenses, travel insurance too has a medical cover benefit. This benefit is available for both domestic and international travel insurance. Medical coverage benefits in travel insurance can include medical fees and hospitalisation expenses, injury and illness treatment and ambulance charges while travelling. You also can avail of cashless hospitalisation with this coverage benefit.

4. Accidental death coverage 

While booking your train tickets online, you have an option to buy travel insurance at minimal charges ranging from Rs.0.3 to Rs.0.6 per person. This insurance protects your family against the financial loss of accidental death and other related costs. This is specially provided under insurance coverage during train travel. 

This coverage can also be purchased for your air travel with exclusions depending on the insurance provider. 

5. Minimal exclusions 

One of the essential benefits of buying travel insurance is that there are minimal exclusions concerning uncertainties during travel. These exclusions include the following: 

  • Any financial loss (medical, luggage or cancellation) due to negligence, alcohol or drug abuse. 

  • Cost of ayurvedic or homoeopathic treatment.

  • Certain cosmetic surgeries.

  • Treatment of pre-existing conditions.

  • Self-inflicted injury or suicide.

  • Travel to prohibited or uncovered destinations.

These are the standard exclusions that will not be covered under travel insurance. To know about the exclusions of your travel insurance, please read the terms and conditions of your policy before choosing. 

Travel Insurance Vs Credit Card Travel Insurance

This is a common query when it comes to purchasing travel insurance. People often find themselves divided between purchasing travel insurance from an insurance company or getting a credit card that gives travel insurance as an add-on. 

So, let me help you out here by pointing out certain pointers:


Travel Insurance

Credit Card Travel Insurance


Comprehensive, based on the insurance policy 


Coverage limits




Varies depending on the policy

Typically included with the credit card


Anyone between 18 and 70 years old can purchase a travel insurance policy

Must be a cardholder of a credit card that offers travel insurance

The features above-mentioned may differ based on the kind of policy you are applying for or the credit card you purchase.

The Bottom Line

Travel insurance is one of the essential components of your travel plans. It covers you financially against any uncertainties arising from delays, cancellations, baggage loss and medical expenses during your travel. By spending a minimal amount on travel insurance, you can visit destinations around the world for leisure and business. Travel insurance ensures that your travels are hassle-free. It also prevents your travel budgets from having unaccounted emergency costs impacting your pocket.

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Devashree Patel

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Devashree has always been passionate about finance and economics. She has an experience of 2 years of working in the finance domain. Her writing is always detailed and on to point which makes it easy to read and understand. She has a BA in Economics degree and currently pursuing MBA from NMIMS.

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