I have been habitually purchasing insurance for domestic air
travel with the expectation that I will be able to buy ticket for another
flight on spot in case any flight gets cancelled and thereby, I hoped to
prevent the entire trip getting jeopardised. I thank my stars that for all
these years I never had to invoke my rights for an insurance claim, until my
recent trip to Andaman in end January, 2015.
Traveling out of Delhi in peak winter season of end Dec to
mid Jan, which unfortunately is also a peak tourist season, is always full of
uncertainties due to fog. Both flight and train schedules go haywire as fog
plays havoc across north India. To minimise possible impact of weather, I had
planned my trip with return from Portblair on 17th Jan, 2015. I had
booked tickets with MakeMyTrip who were offering travel insurance by Apollo
Munich. It cost me around 169 per person per ticket. While travelling abroad, I
had purchased insurance for a period covering my travel. But somehow domestic
travel insurance is linked to a ticket, not for a period.
|Apollo Munich domestic travel insurance certificate|
In last few years, there has not been serious fog issue
after 15th Jan. But when nature decides to play truant, you can only
be mute spectator. Fog came late this year, and stayed late, well past 18th
Jan, 2015. Waiting in the lounge for a whole day at Portblair airport, with
bright sunshine all around, we realised that the world is so interconnected
that fog in Delhi is sending flight schedule go haywire across India, even at
places as remote as Portblair which probably have never seen fog. The day I
landed at Portbalir, the temp was 23 or so, as against 6 degree of Delhi.
There are 3 daily flights between Portblair and Delhi via
Kolkata. My ticket was with Jet Airways. Against all odds, the flights that
were least expected to arrive that day, Spicejet and Go Air did landed, though quite
late, and returned to Delhi or Kolkata. But the Jet Airways flight, which was
the only full fare carrier, and which was most likely to arrive did not come
that day leaving us all stranded at Portblair. We came to know that due to fog
the flight took off quite late from Delhi as against scheduled departure of
0930 hrs. By the time it had arrived at Kolkata for stopover, it was too late
for them to attempt a trip to Portblair, which is a military airport and hence
night landing or take off are not allowed. The last hours by which a flight has
to depart was 1630 hrs. This means the flight from Kolkata has to take off
latest by 1400 hrs so that it can land by 1600 hrs and return by 1630 hrs.
Apparently both the Kolkata – Portblair and Portblair-Kolkata-Delhi flight were
reasonably full, and hence Jet Airways did not cancelled and dumped all
passengers. Rather than refunding fares or attempting a risky trip and then
getting struck at Portblair for the night, Jet Airways had arranged for an
unscheduled flight next morning. The airport staff had written on ticket that
due to fog delay at Delhi, flight is cancelled and passengers to report
tomorrow at 7am. They had a discussion with CISF at stamped the tickets so that
passengers are allowed in next day. Now came the issue of accommodation. Full
fare airline is supposed to provide accommodation in case of flight
cancellation and Jet Airways is one of the few remaining full fare airlines. But
the shock came in the form of their declaration that accommodation is not
provided in case of fog delay. We all had argued in vain. I thought that my
travel insurance will come in handy for the first time. I decided to call their
helpline from airport itself to find what is admissible.
Call centre line was not busy. Responding to the customer
care executive’s greeting of how he might help me, I announced about my policy
details and said that my flight is cancelled. The voice over responded that
flight cancellation is not covered. Note this first catch - flight cancellation
is not covered. Thus my very first reason for purchasing travel insurance went
up in smoke. You will not be able to buy an emergency ticket in case your
flight gets cancelled. So what next? I changed track, and told him that even
though my flight is cancelled for the day, it is rescheduled for next day. Then
the executive read out to me certain clauses of insurance I had not access to
earlier. He told me that flight delay has to be more than 6 hrs, and reason for
delay is either due to bad weather or technical fault with aircraft. Strike by
staff not covered. I will have to obtain a travel certificate from the carrier
mentioning total delay and cause of delay. Further, I was advised to retain all
bills and vouchers of expenses. The maximum amount reimbursable is Rs.2000/-
per person. As I have 3 tickets for the family, the potential claim amount of Rs.6000/-
would be enough for one night’s additional stay in a decent hotel at Portblair.
At that point we were more worried about daughter missing her unit test at
school scheduled for next morning.
We reported at Portblair airport next morning and were happy
to see Jet Airways staff arriving. We were relieved to be informed that aircraft
had departed from Kolkata. The Jet aircraft indeed came from Kolkata in an
unscheduled flight. But it was now informed that the aircraft would now ply
between Portbalir and Kolkata. The Jet staff at Kolkata will arrange to send
passengers to Delhi at the earliest available flight. The other option was to
wait till evening for that day’s regular Delhi bound flight to arrive. The
manager of Jet Airways team opined that there is no point staying stuck at
Portblair. Fog was reported from Delhi on that day’s morning as well and flight
had been delayed. Hence one cannot be sure of when flights from Delhi will
arrive. Once you reach mainland, there will be various options for further
transit. There was merit in his comment. So we boarded the flight and reached
Kolkata at 1130 hrs. It was another ordeal at Kolkata as all flights were full.
Finally we were handed boarding pass for a Kolkata-Delhi flight at 1830.
Therefore my total delay had actually crossed more than 24 hrs.
|Travel certificate by Jet Airways|
After reaching Delhi, I had downloaded forms and couple of
other documents from Apollo Munich’s website. The claim is to be preferred
within one month. I tediously filled up claim
forms, separate forms for each one of us, claiming a total amount of Rs.6100/-
as against admissibility of Rs.6000/- (@2000 per person). The travel
certificate issued by Jet Airways, Portblair says that flight on 17th
Jan was cancelled and passengers were rebooked on flight on 18th Jan. This along
with my boarding passes covered my total delay clause. The ticket also had Jet
Airways’ stamped statement that due to fog delay flight is cancelled. This
covered weather delay clause. I did not want to send original bills along with
my claim, and hence sent photocopies. I wanted to ensure that my claim is
acknowledged first before I part with my original bills.
After about a month of preferring the claim, I had received
a letter from Apollo Munich saying that they are in receipt of my claim and
have provided me a claim id. They requested to submit all bills in originals
within 15 days. Assured that my claim has not been put into dustbin, I sent all
original bills through reputed courier so that receipt can be verified.
In another month’s time, I had received a confirmation from
Apollo Munich saying that my claim had been settled for Rs.4660/- with reasons
for rejecting balance amount. They did not pay cost incurred in additional to
and from trip to airport. This amount was good enough as I had recovered 90% of
cost I had incurred.
If you closely examine Domestic travel insurance policies,
it is not difficult to understand that it actually is a medical insurance with
some elements of travels fitted in. It is offered by airline or travel portal
in association with an insurance company. Therefore insurance certificates are
mailed to you separately after tickets are booked. For any claims, you have to
deal directly with the insurance company, not the travel portal. The policy
issued shows elements covered and the max amount payable against each of the
clauses. But it does not say anything about situations under which you are
eligible for claim. Therefore, you should visit the insurance company website
for detailed clauses. Here are relevant clauses from the detailed document of
|FIner points of detailed clauses|
Going through the detailed clauses will make you understand
what is covered and what is not. I would suggest to call their helpline to understand fine points. Always keep their helpline no ready. You do
not know when you may need it. Insurance is meant to cover uncertainties. And, uncertainties arrive without calling. This was a good lesson in travel for me. For me it ended on a happy note. I hope that my sharing of this experience will help you stay informed to travel
Labels: apollo munich, Travel, travel insurance
posted by Rupankar Mahanta at 10:30 AM
Please DO NOT post comment with url. If you have an url, then you should request for a link exchange.
Translate this post into:
| || || || || || || || |
At July 21, 2015 4:27 PM,
Color Holidays said...
Really Thanks For knowable information of which part of India View of beautiful destination spectacular I hope if the tourist go for stay there n than feel it amazing. Domestic tour packages
At September 10, 2015 3:25 PM,
Hotel Singh International said...
I think I am going to use a similar blog template to yours. I find it very attractive to the reader.
3 star hotels in karol bagh
At September 19, 2015 1:40 PM,
Great Journeys said...
For once I had visited the North Eastern part of India. It is simply one of the most beautiful places that I had ever visited in my life. You must also visit Argentina that has got the beauty of nature, and don't forget to keep a detailed Argentina Road Map along with you to explore each and every part of its beauty
Links to this post: