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Travel insurance India

The Taj Mahal

India: one country, many names. Many people, too. With a population of almost 1.4 billion people, it’s the second largest country by population in the world. Drenched in myths, spirituality, and culture, India is a diverse land of discovery. Some people go to India for the food, some go for the culture, and some even go on a George-Harrison-esque journey to ‘find themselves’. But before you go buying your saree, or finding a bag big enough to carry your sitar, consider adding a travel insurance policy to your inventory.

What should my travel insurance policy for India include?

Depending on what type of traveller you are, the kind of international travel insurance policy you choose will come down to factors like how long you’re travelling for, if you think you’ll need any specific benefits, like cover for cancellations and delay, and if there are any optional extras you might need.  

Whether you’re driving around India in a rental vehicle or motorbike, backpacking across the country, or sightseeing, an international travel insurance policy should fit your needs and budget. Also, if you’re travelling with a pre-existing medical condition, make sure that your insurance provider covers your condition. You don’t want to foot the bill in an overseas hospital if your health acts up while travelling. 

Generally, travel insurance providers will offer different tiers of cover on their international policies. These often range from basic or essential policies, to premium or comprehensive policies. 

Basic policies usually cover benefits like overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses, and personal liability. However, cover for things like flight delays, cancellations, loss of travel documents or cash, might only be available if you pay a higher premium. It comes down to how much you’re willing to risk on your journey, so assessing your needs before you start researching a policy is a good way to get the most suitable cover.

Do Australians need a visa to travel to India?

Australians do need a visa to travel to India. You can find more information about visas for India and apply online through the Indian government’s e-Visa portal. An electronic visa allows you to travel for up to 60 days in India for tourism, business, and medical reasons. 

Once you have your visa, Smartraveller recommends that you carry a printed copy of your e-Visa, known as an electronic travel authorisation (ETA). When you arrive, you will receive a formal visa in your passport.

Can I get COVID-19 travel insurance for India?

While some providers will include cover for Covid-related claims, such as cancellations and delays, and overseas medical and hospital, it will often be subject to the Smartraveller advice warnings. In many cases, a ‘Do not travel’ warning will mean that any claims for insured events to do with COVID-19 will not be covered by the policy. 

To get into India, you will need to complete the 'Air Suvidha self declaration form’ before you leave home. The Air Suvidha declaration form is a travel health certificate used to help monitor the spread of COVID-19 in India. You can also upload your vaccination certificate or a negative PCR test to support your declaration. 

However, travel and entry requirements are always changing, so keep up to date as best as you can by checking the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website before you go.

What vaccines do I need to travel to India?

Unfortunately, there are a few health risks when it comes to travelling to overseas countries, and India is no exception. You will need to take the following vaccines, or provide evidence of your immunity:

  • COVID-19
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella
  • Tetanus-Diphtheria-Pertussis
  • Polio

Other vaccines which are frequently recommended for India include:

  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Typhoid
  • Malaria
  • Japanese Encephalitis 
  • Rabies

Travel insurance tips for India

  • Excess fees. When you need to make a claim on your travel insurance policy, you may be required to pay a certain part of the total value of your claim. The rest would be paid by the insurance provider. This amount that you need to pay yourself is called an excess. This excess fee can vary according to your policy. Generally, the cheaper the cover, the more likely your excess fee will be higher.
  • Pre-existing conditions. Travel insurance providers ask you to declare any pre-existing conditions at the time of purchasing the policy. If you fail to do so, the insurance company can reject a claim you later make regarding that condition. Also, remember that pregnancies are considered as a pre-existing condition.
  • Unattended baggage. Remember that if your bags go missing while you’ve left them unattended, your insurance provider may reject your claim. In fact, even when you leave your bags with the hotel concierge after you’ve checked out, that’s often considered ‘unattended’ in the provider’s eyes. So, even leaving your luggage with the concierge at the hotel could result in your provider refusing to reimburse you for it, if it goes missing. 
  • Report incidents ASAP. Whether you’ve injured yourself or had your bags stolen from your hotel, you need to report any incident as soon as possible. Again, if you’ve read your policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) carefully, you’ll know the exact documentation that you will be required to submit with your claim. Generally, these will be doctors reports, hospital bills, police reports, or receipts, depending on the nature of your claim. So, make sure you hold onto these when it comes to contacting your travel insurance provider. 
  • Driving in India. First of all, don’t drive a vehicle you aren’t licensed to drive. If you want to drive in India you will need an international driving licence, or Indian driving licence. You can apply for an international driving licence in India at any Regional Transport Office. You’ll need various points of identification, of course, such as your passport, your visa for India, proof of address, and your Australian driving licence. 
  • Driving a rental vehicle in India. If you’re renting a car, make sure you have the right paperwork and consider whether or not your policy covers rental vehicle insurance excess, in case there’s an accident in your hire car. And like in any part of the world, don’t drink and drive – your insurance will not cover you for any accidents while under the influence.
  • Drink responsibly. Always remember to be responsible with your drinks. If you face a medical emergency or injury while you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your insurance company could refuse to reimburse you for those expenses.

Compare travel insurance policies - last updated 15 June 2024

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Jack Dona
Jack Dona
RG146
Money writer

Jack is RG146 Generic Knowledge certified, with a Bachelor of Communications in Creative Writing from UTS, and uses his creative flair to cut through the financial jargon and make home loans, insurance and banking interesting. His reader-first approach to creating content and his passion for financial literacy means he always looks for innovative ways to explain personal finance. Jack's research and explanations have been featured in government publications, and his work is regularly featured alongside major publications in Google's Top Stories for Insurance.

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