It's going to be tricky, to say the least about travel insurance. The first question to be answered is whether to go for a travel insurance or not.
Let's not get into the pros and cons of whether to insure or not. Prudence says yes. If so comes the trickier part. What kind of travel insurance and how to buy it.
There is nothing like a cheaper insurance. What matters is if the coverage of that "cheaper insurance" fits well with your requirements. Of course if the best one happens to be a cheaper insurance plan, no need to go for a fancy plan packed with unwanted options.
Consider a few crucial aspects of travel insurance packages. Typically travel insurances are for shorter duration, say 3 months, unlike the case of other health and life insurance packages that are valid for an year.
Even if they say it's valid for an year, there would be some conditions that you would be covered for travel for not more than a stipulated period per year. Yes it is just one of the aspects you need to be sure when you buy an insurance plan. Is the travel duration covered explicitly in the insurance plan?
If the coverage duration is inadequate, the insurance company would expect you to pay the additional charges for extending the coverage of insurance as per your travel need. Usually these extended insurance packages are expensive. Say, if the standard travel insurance package is for 3 months, you buy a 'top up' coverage for nine more months to make it a 1 year cover period.
Do the maths now, it might not be as cheaper as the agent had told you in the beginning.
At the same time you need to check if what you are doing in India (as an expat worker or student ) is covered within the scope of the travel insurance.
This is especially critical if you are visiting India for a long duration.
For the Indian citizens traveling within India, the case could be different , as the actual travel period could be much smaller.
The second part is the scope of insurance coverage.
Is the travel insurance going to cover only medical claims while traveling in India. Or do you need repatriation coverage (medical evacuation /medical repatriation) also as part of it. And what about theft/loss of valuables while traveling. Conside this if you are backpacking , that too with expensive stuffs.
Double check these when you go for an insurance package.
The packages offered by Indian insurance companies looks very competitive ( cheaper ) compared to those offered by the western counterparts. In India insurance is still dominated by public sector companies (state owned). Also there could be differences in policies related to the citizenship. Means, Indian citizens would have different schemes vis-a-vis foreign nationals in India. If you are thinking of buying an insurance coverage locally, check the eligibility aspect with the company. Typically theft/health coverage for a travel insurance is much cheaper in India. If you are eligible and opting for a local cheaper insurance package, be sure of the coverage. That is , would this cover a possible medical repatriation too?
On personal insurance area India is still not very well advanced as in case of the west. Of course life insurance in India is quite a matured business. The same is not very true for say travel insurance including medical repatriation services.
If you are a novice traveler to India, better do a thorough research on the insurance options available as part of your travel plan. The more you do it, the early you do it, the better you are informed to find a cheaper and suitable insurance plan for your India travel.