July 3, 2018

Student Travel Insurance

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Studying abroad? Learn more about how student insurance can protect your health and your wallet while you focus on the experience.

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Why do you need student insurance?

Studying abroad is an adventure. But like any adventure, there are risks.

You may be studying in a place with excellent medical standards. You may even be studying in a place with free medical care, even for foreign students. Or you might not be so lucky.

No matter your destination, there are always uncertainties.

Your domestic insurance probably doesn't cover you

Before leaving on any trip, it's a good idea to check on the coverage offered by your normal health insurance. Don't be surprised if you find you have no coverage—most insurance policies don't cover travelers outside the US.

You'll need insurance to enroll in school

Nearly all student exchange programs require you have medical coverage to participate. This is also true for most foreign universities.

As part of the enrollment process, you'll likely be required to show proof you have adequate insurance.

Most schools insist on a certain level of medical, evacuation, and travel coverage.

What should you look for in a student policy?

  • Medical coverage
    Your student insurance policy should include medical coverage. While you're away at school, you'll be exposed to different surroundings, different activities, and different foods. Though seeing a doctor may be the last thing on your mind, it's just not safe to travel without medical coverage.

  • Evacuation coverage
    Emergency evacuation coverage helps transport you to a medical facility if you're seriously sick or injured. The cost of a medical evacuation can be very high. Your insurance should not only cover the cost of the transportation, but also help with the arrangements.

  • Trip coverage
    Be sure your insurance offers coverage for your travel to and from your destination country. This includes cancelled or delayed flights and lost baggage.

  • Concierge services
    Be sure your student policy provides a concierge service. This may also be called travel assistance. With this service, you can call up your insurance for help with things like finding a doctor, translation services, or tracking down lost baggage.

  • Passport/travel documents help
    This is often part of the concierge service. It's scary to be in a foreign country without your passport. Be sure your student insurance will be there to help if you lose any of your important documents.

Coverage for one-off trips

Some travel policies only cover you for a specific destination. Your student insurance should include coverage for one-off trips you might take while you're abroad. Be sure your plan covers for school-related trips as well as leisure travel.

Coverage offered by your school

Your school or exchange program may offer you the opportunity to purchase insurance. Be careful here.

Sometimes these are great plans, coordinated through a major travel insurer. Other times, they're overpriced policies with little coverage.

Take the time to read and understand what you're being offered. If the school's policy does not provide the benefits we've outlined above, you might consider purchasing a separate policy.

Bottom line

Traveling away from home without adequate insurance is risky. It's best to consider your situation and get a policy that fits your needs. Then you can focus on your experience abroad instead of worrying about medical bills.

More from CreditDonkey:

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