After months of scorching summer heat, winter usually receives a warm welcome across India. After all, the onset of winter marks the beginning of the end of the year, bringing in much-awaited festivities and holiday vibes. This is also the best time to plan a trip to any part of the country or even an international destination. Cooler temperatures allow you to indulge in outdoor activities that may not be comfortable during the summer. And, if you fancy visiting a cold destination then what better time than winter?
Travelling in the winter is a different experience altogether. However, remember, it may not be as convenient and comfortable as travelling during any other time of the year. Why? Because, with winter comes several season-related issues such as fog, snow, low visibility, bad weather, increased risk of falling sick, flight delays and cancellations, and more. Travelling in winter can easily become a troubled affair but that does not mean you postpone your trip. All you need to do is buy comprehensive travel insurance and stay prepared to face any unexpected situation during your trip.
Why is it necessary to buy travel insurance for winter trips?
You cannot foresee emergencies such as bad weather and flight schedule changes during winter. You may have a clear night sky only to wake up to an especially foggy morning, or heavy snowfall. As a result, all your plans may come to a standstill. Now, imagine the losses if you have made bookings already. Some situations that can cause worry during a trip include:
- Trip cancellation: A sudden worsening of the weather can lead to trip cancellation, especially if you were planning to visit a cold destination with extreme weather conditions. For instance, travelling to Helsinki, Finland, in the winter is a dream holiday for many. However, the weather there in the winter is extremely turbulent which may make it difficult for you to carry on with your travel plan. In case of trip cancellation, you can stay protected against financial losses by buying a travel insurance plan to cover your winter trip.
- Flight cancellation: Cold icy weather quite often leads to flight cancellations. During the winter holiday season, what follows is mismanagement or failure to accommodate the travellers of the cancelled flight for further travel. In the winter of 2022, within three days, the US cancelled more than 12000 flights due to harsh weather. Flight cancellations at the last minute or of that connecting places can leave you in a difficult situation. If the delay is significant, your travel insurance provider will arrange for your stay or help you get a new ticket.
- Flight delays: It is pretty normal for flights to get delayed, especially in the winter season. The fluctuations in the weather are quite volatile in the winter, making last-minute flight delays and alterations in the flight schedule a common occurrence. Such changes can significantly affect your whole travel itinerary and subsequent booking, which you may have planned and paid for months ago. With an active travel insurance plan, you can choose to either buy a ticket back or another earliest ticket even if it has a high price.
- Change of plans: A sudden change in weather may force you to abruptly change your plans. For instance, you may have planned a car drive between two nearby towns and due to heavy snowfall, the road may get blocked. In such a scenario, you may have to extend your stay and cancel your other booking. This could not only lead to a loss of the booking amount but add to your financial woes for the additional unplanned stay. However, if you have a comprehensive travel insurance plan, your insurer will cover these additional expenses.
- Medical emergency: You may end up catching a bad cold, or spraining your ankle while walking on the icy slippery road. In some countries, expenses related to even the basic or preliminary medical treatment may cost you a hand and a leg. Furthermore, if you have to cut short your trip due to an illness, the unanticipated expenses, if not cushioned with travel insurance, can cause you major financial strain.
What will a comprehensive travel insurance plan cover?
By now you must be aware of the need for a travel insurance plan while travelling in the winter season. Here is a quick take on what a comprehensive travel insurance plan will cover.
- Medical cover: Changing time zones, eating new foods, and getting little sleep increase the likelihood of getting sick. Your travel insurance plan will cover your medical costs in case of a sickness or injury.
- Cancellation of the trip: A paid trip, if and when cancelled, comes at great expense. However, having travel insurance takes care of such eventualities.
- Loss of baggage: A typical occurrence during the holiday season is lost luggage. Your travel insurance will reimburse you for the misplaced items if your luggage is lost in transit.
- Loss of documents: If you lose your important documents such as your passport, your travel insurance will cover the charges of issuing the duplicate passport.
- Third-party liability in an accident: If you end up causing an accident and consequentially there are third-party liabilities, your travel insurance provider will cover you.
- Medical evacuation: In case of a serious illness, if you must be evacuated to a better medical facility or the home country, then the concerned cost will be taken care of by the insurance provider.
- Repatriation of mortal remains: Even though you might not want to consider such possibilities, an accident or physical condition could be fatal. International travel insurance will assist in arranging for the return of a person’s remains to India and will also provide the nominee with an amount insured.
Some tips for your winter trip
Now that you are all well informed about how travel insurance can help mitigate your winter travel woes, here are some quick tips for preparing better for your winter trip.
- Buy your travel insurance as soon as you plan and confirm your trip. Do not wait for the last-minute rush.
- Make sure you check the travel policy inclusions and exclusions. Choose the travel insurance plan that provides maximum coverage for weather-related woes.
- If you plan to indulge in winter sports such as skiing, or mountain trekking, do not forget to cross-check if the same is covered by your travel insurance.
- Pack judiciously. While you will need more clothes for your winter travel, try to keep essentials such as medicines, documents like identity cards, passports, cash and cards, phone charger and likewise in your hand luggage.
One cannot overemphasise the importance of travel insurance. Be it a domestic trip or an international one, a comprehensive travel insurance plan is a must. In case of any crisis, inform your travel insurance provider at the earliest. So, go ahead and enjoy the winter vacation at your favourite destination, but do not forget to buy your travel insurance before you take off.