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India is a melting pot of cultural, historical, spiritual and culinary experiences. It’s the land that gave us Bollywood, spicy curries, yoga and some of the world’s best cricket players. The nation is also home to architectural gems like the Taj Mahal and the pink city of Jaipur, plus natural wonders like the Himalayas. The list goes on!

Whatever calls you to this unique destination, taking out travel insurance for India is a good idea to protect yourself financially against the unexpected, so that you can enjoy your trip with better peace of mind.

Do I need travel insurance for India?

Could you afford medical treatment in India if you broke your foot falling out of a rickshaw? How about the cost of replacing everything that was in the suitcase lost in transit from Mumbai to New Delhi? Could you afford to pay for new flights if you need to get home quickly and your original carrier can’t accommodate you?

The unexpected can happen anywhere and anytime, whether you’re at home or abroad. Travel insurance is designed to provide financial protection against mishaps, injuries and accidents that can happen on your journey, and even before you depart.

While buying travel insurance for India isn’t mandatory, it may improve your peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your holiday hassle-free.

Holi celebration in India

How can travel insurance for India help me?

Compensation for theft and scams

India has a high crime rate, including thefts, scams, robberies and assaults on foreign nationals, so it’s always best to be prepared with the right level of travel insurance cover. That way, you’ll be protected against things like baggage loss, credit card or cash theft and even loss of passport.

You should always be on the lookout for pickpockets near popular attractions and any suspicious activity; this is especially important for unsuspecting tourists who may be at a higher risk of being fleeced.

Common scams in India include, but are not limited to:

  • Card skimming at ATMs or establishments in tourist areas. Fraudsters use skimming devices to copy people’s bank card details onto a blank card to use.
  • Tour package scams. Fraudulent operators will sell tourists a fake tour package, or a guide will tell tourists the package they have is invalid and then sell them a ‘valid’ one.
  • Dodgy guide services. Criminals will pose as tour guides and take foreigners on ‘tours’ only to rob or take advantage of them at an opportune moment.
  • ‘Faster’ services. Scalpers or agents will claim to provide a ‘faster’ service for a fee. For example, if you’re going on a boat ride, the tour guide may make you wait or provide a slow service, then offer a faster service for a fee.

We recommend that travellers look into a comprehensive travel insurance policy that offers coverage for theft of cash and stolen, lost or damaged belongings. By having a travel insurance plan, you may save yourself from significant financial loss if your trip to India goes awry.

Financial protection for driving

India is known for its high number of road accidents due to poor driving, traffic conditions and constant disregard for road rules and safety. In 2020, there were 366,138 road accidents in India, most caused by disobeying the speed limit.2 If you’re planning on renting a vehicle on your trip, you will need to exercise care and safety when driving, and have an international driver’s license.

Cars often share the roads with pedestrians, carts and livestock. It’s also not uncommon to encounter vehicles travelling on the wrong side of the road or cars driving at night without headlights.

If you were involved in a car accident, your rental car company would most likely charge you an excess to cover the cost of repairs for your hire car. Generally, comprehensive travel insurance can cover your rental car excess and most overseas medical expenses in case of injury on the roads.

Healthcare costs

If you were to suffer a serious illness or injury, chances are you would require hospitalisation or medical evacuation. These costs could set you back tens of thousands of dollars if you don’t have sufficient medical cover as part of your travel insurance for India. But if you do, you may receive reimbursement for the healthcare costs involved in a medical emergency or other injuries, including doctors and hospital fees. Depending on your medical coverage, your policy may even cover repatriation.

That’s why it’s important to choose a policy that provides unlimited or comprehensive coverage for medical expenses when you’re planning on overseas travel.

What should my travel insurance for India include?

Travel insurance for India can come in different levels of cover, ranging from basic to comprehensive. A top-tier policy will typically offer cover for:

  • Overseas medical treatment and hospital expenses
  • Trip cancellation, amendment and delay costs
  • Lost, damaged or stolen luggage and personal belongings
  • Stolen cash
  • Hire car excess
  • Personal liability
  • Some sports and activities
  • Permanent disability and loss of income
  • Accidental death
  • Dependents under 18
  • 24/7 emergency assistance.

You should always read the policy wording of your Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), which outlines your cover, policy terms, sub-limits, conditions and exclusions.

What should I consider before taking out travel insurance for India?

When looking for a travel insurance policy for your trip to India, you should take into account:

  • Which parts of India you’re travelling to. Some parts of India may not be ideal to visit due to civil unrest, violent protests and terrorism.1 You can keep up to date with potential dangers by checking the travel warnings on Smartraveller.
  • What activities you’ll be doing. This might include tours, adventure sports, renting a car or riding a motorcycle or scooter.
  • The value of your cash, contents and personal belongings. Should you need to claim for the theft or loss of checked-in baggage and belongings, you should know the value of your possessions.
  • The cost of your trip. This includes flights, other transportation, accommodation and attractions you’d like to visit, as well as the level of cover you will need for your trip.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. Consider your current and potential healthcare and medical needs, including pre-existing diseases and other medical conditions. It’s important you find out what your policy includes and what it doesn’t when it comes to medical conditions.
  • Who you’re travelling with. For example, if you’re planning to travel with your family, you may want to consider family travel insurance instead of taking out individual cover. This will usually cover the policy holder as well as their spouse and dependents.

India travel insurance: Exclusions and what to watch out for

Travel insurance for India can come with a set of general exclusions. Generally, travel insurance doesn’t provide cover for:

  • Travelling against government advice or warning (these are listed on the Australian Government’s website, Smartraveller)
  • Negligence leading to loss or damage of personal belongings and valuables (e.g., forgetting your luggage outside your hotel)
  • Trip cancellations due to change of mind or unpreparedness (e.g., forgetting to renew your passport)
  • Extreme or high-risk sports and activities (e.g., white water rafting, skydiving)
  • Hire car excess if the accident was caused by breaking the law
  • Claims caused by drug or alcohol-related activities
  • Claims resulting from unlawful activities
  • Loss or injuries from unapproved pre-existing conditions
  • Acts of war, terrorism or civil unrest.

In cases like these, your insurance claim may be rejected. However, some things that are generally considered exclusions may be covered if you have a comprehensive insurance policy or you’ve purchased additional extras; for example, adventure activities and extreme sports. You should always understand the specifics of what your international travel insurance policy covers by reading your policy documents.
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Top travel tips for India

1. Check in regularly with Smartraveller

If you’re travelling to India, you should check in regularly with Smartraveller, which issues country-specific travel advice and warnings for more than 170 nations around the world.

By signing up to the free email and SMS service, you can even receive this advice, alerts and up-to-date information straight to your inbox. Remember, however, that registering with Smartraveller doesn’t guarantee you consular assistance if you get into trouble in another country. See the Consular Services Charter for more information.

2. Check your passport and visa requirements

If you’re travelling to India as an Australian national, you should make sure your passport is in good condition and valid for at least six months from the date you plan to leave India.

Australian citizens also require a valid visa for entry into India. The easiest way to get an Indian visa is to apply for an e-tourist visa online at least four days before your departure, which are valid for up to 60 days. If you plan to stay longer, you’ll need to apply for a tourist visa extension in person. However, not all international airports in India will accept an e-tourist visa, so plan your trip accordingly or apply for a regular visa through an Indian embassy or consulate.

3. Check your travel immunisations are up to date

Travelling to a developing nation like India means you could be exposed to infectious diseases. So, before you head off on your trip, make sure you’re caught up with all your vaccinations. Consult a doctor or visit a travel health clinic before you depart for the latest information.

The following vaccines may be recommended for your trip to India:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Typhoid
  • Cholera
  • Japanese encephalitis
  • Malaria
  • Dengue fever
  • Rabies
  • Influenza
  • Yellow fever.1

You may also want to pack medication for traveller’s diarrhoea in case you consume contaminated food or water. Check with your doctor to ensure that such medication is suitable for you.

4. Familiarise yourself with local laws and customs

Remember that while you may be an Australian national, you’ll be subject to India’s local laws and penalties when you enter the country. So, do your research on local laws and customs before you travel to avoid trouble.

Some illegal activities in India include:

  • Failing to carry your passport at all times
  • Trespassing or taking pictures or videos of airports, military establishments, dams and certain places of worship
  • Intentionally maiming or killing a cow
  • Flying drones without official permission.1

India also has a strict social code of dress and behaviour. If in doubt, always dress conservatively and take care not to offend or provoke anyone. You should also be aware that physical contact between men and women in public is frowned upon.

Find out more about travel insurance for Asia.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Top travel insurance tips for India from our expert, Stephen Zeller

  • Consider the cover that best suits your travel needs when deciding on an insurance policy. This might include medical treatment, travel delay and cancellation costs, theft of personal belongings and cover for rental vehicle excess if you plan to drive.
  • Excess is the amount of money you pay when making a claim. By choosing a higher excess amount, you can reduce your premium; however, always consider what a manageable excess amount is for you and your budget.
  • When applying for travel insurance, always declare any pre-existing medical conditions and make sure your policy provides adequate cover for them. That way, you ensure you have the cover you need if illness or injury happens overseas, and there’s no surprises with your claim.
  • Make copies of your passport, ID cards and other important documents and leave them with someone in Australia in case they are lost or stolen.
  • If you’re a frequent flyer overseas, you may find greater value in purchasing annual multi-trip cover to last for an entire 12 months, rather than a single trip travel insurance for each journey (but be sure to check the maximum travel days that are covered, per trip).

Compare travel insurance for India to find great-value cover

Looking for travel insurance to cover your trip to India? Our free comparison tool can help you compare a range of policies from leading brands based on your preferred level of cover, policy benefits and excess amount.

Find out why it pays to compare travel insurance today!


1 Smartraveller. India. Accessed May 2022.
2 Government of India – Ministry of Roads and Transport. Road Accidents in India 2020. Accessed May 2022.

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