(MENAFN- Khaleej Times) Delayed or lost check-in baggage is one of the most common mishaps faced by travellers by Nasreen Abdulla
Published: Thu 21 Jul 2022, 1:55 PM
Last updated: Thu 21 Jul 2022, 10:30 PM
Demand for travel insurance has risen by 150% in the second quarter of this year as compared to the first, according to leading insurance and financial products marketplace Policybazaar.ae.
Mandatory insurance requirements by several countries, lingering fear of the pandemic and staff shortages in various airports leading to baggage loss are some of the reasons for the significant increase in demand for travel policy.
The cost of a good travel insurance, according to several insurance brokers we spoke to, is an average of AED 100 for 2 weeks.
“One thing the pandemic has taught us is to take necessary precautions,” said Neeraj Gupta, CEO, Policybazaar.ae.“We have seen a rise in travel insurance especially for Covid or unexpected medical costs and loss or delay of baggage.”
The company has seen increased demand from top tourist destinations such as the USA, Schengen countries, Indonesia, UK amongst others - as majority of these countries have made travel insurance mandatory along with other valid travel documents. Even those going to countries where travel insurance is not mandatory are opting to buy it due to fears of COVID19.
According to Mr. Gupta, people are very conscious about what kind of coverage their insurance offers.“Customers are now more careful in choosing insurance and what is covered in it, rather than just buying for visa purposes,” said Neeraj Gupta.“They look for a fully loaded product including trip cancellation, baggage loss and Covid 19 cover.”
Other experts also agreed that in the post COVID world, people are opting for more comprehensive insurance covers.“Now the biggest concern for everybody is that if they meet with a medical emergency, it should be adequately covered,” said Anurag Mathur, Executive Director of Compass Insurance Brokers.“People normally prefer a product that offers a larger limit for emergency medical expenses. They also prefer a policy that allows either medical evacuation in case their destination doesn't have adequate medical facilities or one that allows family members to be flown in to be beside them, should they fall sick. One of our most popular products among people traveling outside the UAE is the TravelSmart. It offers very extensive coverage of up to USD 1 million and has many additional bonuses. Business travelers usually opt for a full year of insurance which covers them for multiple travels.”
Additionally, a lot of passengers are opting for insurance policies that cover baggage loss.“Baggage coverage is a very important benefit within travel insurance plans,” said Neeraj Gupta.“It can provide monetary assistance when things go wrong during a trip. Baggage loss can be claimed up to USD 5000 and comes at an additional cost of just AED 20-50 depending on the duration of travel.”
Delayed or lost check-in baggage is one of the most common adversities faced by travelers. Nearly 220,000 bags were 'mishandled' by U.S. airlines in April 2022 alone, meaning they were lost, damaged, delayed or stolen, according to the most recent data published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Several people traveling through European airports via inter-connected flights have also faced issues where luggage is either being left behind or lost due to staff shortages.
Anurag Mathur also warned people not to scrimp while buying insurance.“When it comes to travel insurance, a person should select a policy that gives them adequate cover from all possible risks,” he said.“For a traveler, the risk begins from the time tickets are booked. Most people book in advance. If they become COVID positive right before the trip, they will lose all the money of their flight, hotel and transport bookings. This is a risk. If the flight is delayed, it could sabotage further plans. That is another risk. Once the traveler reaches their destination, if baggage goes missing, that is still another risk. During the holiday, if the traveler falls sick or tests COVID positive and the destination they are at does not have the required medical facilities, it is yet again a huge risk. So, we always advice our clients to make a worthwhile investment and take a policy that covers all the possible risks.”
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