With pandemic 2020’s ongoing spread, the whole of India is under a strict lockdown until the 3rd of May. People have been asked to avoid going out in public, and particularly avoid crowded places like airports, stations, gatherings, workspaces, and other similar public areas. Not only have people been directed to stay home by the government, but all public transports like trains, buses, metros, and flights have been halted amidst the lockdown. Hence, a governmental-issued travel ban, and international as well as domestic flights in India will restart their operations, after.
Impact of pandemic 2020 Travel Ban
Following the pandemic 2020 travel ban, airlines have been sending out pamphlets to their customers requesting them not to cancel their tickets as their PNRs (Passenger Name Records) will be ‘protected’ for up to one year post the booking date. Many airlines are, hence, asserting that there will be no charge if you choose to change or reschedule your suspended flight for one year since the booking date, except for any fare difference which will either be deducted or returned to you depending on the new cost. Hence, people can save their money when it comes to their airplane tickets. But what about travel insurance?
The insurance regulatory body of India — IRDAI , has declared a much needed pandemic 2020 mandate for the insurance providers. As per this latest circular, the IRDAI is advising insurers to allow current travel insurance policyholders to extend the start or end dates of policies. This is applicable provided that their travel policies are valid anywhere between 22nd March 2020 and 30th April of the same year. This authorization means that current travel insurance holders might receive the option to extend their policy dates without having to pay added charges.
This recommendation issued by the IRDAI could financially cushion the pandemic 2020 impact on travel insurance for eligible policyholders. The choice to extend one’s insurance policy dates without added charges comes as a relief. Those with travel arrangements have to reschedule their airline tickets due to the Indian government’s pandemic 2020 travel-ban. However, as per the circular issued on 30th March 2020, the IRDAI suggests that these rescheduled arrangements may be covered under one’s extended policy.
Here’s what this clause means for current policyholders. Under ordinary circumstances, insurance providers typically do not permit any date changes for a travel insurance policy. The policyholder must simply cancel their policy and repurchase a new policy. With the cost of the new policy and added cancellation and rebooking fees, this is a costly affair for policyholders who must change their plans unexpectedly. Now, with the current IRDAI circular, insurers will have to permit any change in dates or cancellations of travel insurance policies, without charging cancellation and rebooking fees.
So, suppose you have purchased travel insurance that is active during the date specified under the IRDAI circular. You may have the option to reschedule the starting and ending date of your trip in your policy. Your insurer can potentially accept this change without charging any extra costs. However, one thing to keep in mind is that the IRDAI is a guidance authority for insurance companies. Whether or not they choose to implement the IRDAI’s circular depends on your insurance provider.
So, in case you qualify for an extension as per the IRDAI circular, get in touch with your insurance provider regarding the extension of the policy tenure. For all others, getting travel insurance would be the first step, so you are financially covered for any uncertainties during your travel. Consider Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance available on Finserv MARKETS to financially secure your next trip. Avail benefits like compensation for flight delays and/or cancellations, funds to manage medical emergencies overseas, and compensation for any accommodation issues like unplanned cancellations. Get access to these and a slew of other benefits with Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance available only on Finserv MARKETS.
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