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What you need to know about travel insurance for visiting India

What you need to know about travel insurance for visiting India

It's a land of dance and music, spirituality, fascinating flavours and lush rainforests. A trip to India can be the holiday of a lifetime – and you should enjoy it with the peace of mind that travel insurance brings. Here's how to find and compare India travel insurance that does what you need.

Patrick Ikhena
From the Travel team
minute read
posted 21 JANUARY 2020

Do I need travel insurance for India?

It’s not compulsory, but you’d be very rash to visit India without any insurance that could cover medical emergencies. According to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), local medical facilities aren’t comparable to those in the UK, particularly in remote areas.

India isn’t without crime, so it’s a good idea to have cover in case of a snatched purse or stolen passport.

How much is travel insurance for India?

If you’re travelling to India, worldwide travel insurance could cost from £10** for a week or £17*** for annual travel, based on Compare the Market data in September 2019.

**50% of people could achieve a quote of £9.95 for worldwide travel insurance for 1 week based on Compare the Market data in December 2019
***50% of people could achieve a quote of £16.45 for for Worldwide multi travel insurance based on Compare the Market data in December 2019

What should I think about when choosing India travel insurance?

What activities will you do? You might be going to chill on a beach in Goa, a yoga retreat or an Ayurvedic resort or to admire the temples, but for some, India's a great place for active exploring. There's trekking, white water rafting and even elephant rides or trying to spot wild tigers in Ranthambore, if you prefer something more active. But insurance providers may exclude some high risk activities from your policy. Doublecheck to ensure you have cover for all the activities you plan to try. Find out more about adventure travel insurance.

What are the limits for cancellations? Flights to India aren't cheap, and some policies have quite low limits on what you can claim back if you have to cancel. Look at the limits carefully before you buy – and don't forget to factor in accommodation and excursion costs. Find out more about holiday cancellation insurance.

Are all your belongings covered? Think about the value of the personal belongings you're taking along – whether it's a backpack of the basics, or all your gadgets, long-lens camera, jewellery and designer sunglasses. Add up the total and make sure you have at least that much cover for theft or loss of baggage and personal belongings.

Will your policy pay doctors directly? If you'd find it hard to cover a big bill, check to see if your insurance provider will pay money directly to a doctor or hospital, or if you'd have to cover it initially and then be reimbursed. (Don't forget to keep any bills or documentation so you can make your claim.)

Are you covered for repatriation? In layman's terms, will your policy cover the cost of flying you home in an emergency?

When you compare India travel insurance with us we'll show you the key details of each policy, making it much easier to weigh up your options.

Do I need a visa for India?

If you're a British citizen visiting India solely for a holiday (this includes visiting friends and relatives), you can apply for an e-Visa. It's free, and you can do it online at the Indian e-Visa website.

You should also check your passport to make sure:

  • it has at least two blank pages (for your visa going in and coming out)
  • it's valid for at least six months from the date you arrive in India

There are some exceptions to these guidelines so always check first.

Any other tips for visiting India?

Here are some tips to make your trip as smooth as possible:

Vaccines and malaria: You can't get vaccinated against malaria, so you'll need to take suitable antimalarial tablets if you're travelling to areas at high risk of malaria or you have additional personal risks or are staying for a longer time. All travellers should try to avoid being bitten my mosquitoes.

Also, check that your immunisations are up-to-date or if you need a booster for Diptheria, Hepatitis A, Tetanus and Typhoid vaccines – usually free on the NHS. You may also want to consider other vaccinations for Cholera, Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis and Rabies. Either way, speak to your doctor at least one month before you go to discuss what you might need.

Currency: The Indian rupee is the official currency (₹ or R). You can't take travel money into the country, so you'll need to exchange money while you're there. ATMs are becoming more common and some places accept cards.

Language: There are 23 official languages but Hindi is the most spoken (around 40% of the population speak it). English is also widely spoken.

Tipping: Tipping is welcomed and as a tourist you'll probably be regarded as wealthy.

In restaurants, tipping 10% of your bill is a good start. If you've been particularly impressed with service then it's at your discretion how much more you give.

Taxi drivers won't expect tips unless you've made unscheduled stops.

If you're using a guide or driver it's entirely down to you what you choose (and can afford) to give.

Tap water: Never drink tap water unless it's been boiled. You should also avoid ice cubes, and salads and fruit if they've been washed in tap water. It's important to stay hydrated and avoid heat exhaustion.

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