Whether studying in your own country or abroad, students need to protect themselves from the unexpected – accidents, illnesses, and theft can occur anywhere. Students traveling abroad need international student health insurance to pay for medical bills and other expenses that can occur. Having a good international student insurance plan can provide a student with the protection they need to avoid large financial losses.
What are the risks of student travel?
Some of the unexpected things that can go wrong on a student include the following:
- The streets suddenly fill with angry protesters and you are shoved down a stairwell and break your ankle – foreign students sometimes travel in areas of political uncertainty. If you are hurt, will you know how to get transportation and proper medical attention? Will you be able to understand what the medical pros are telling you about your treatment.
- Your beloved elderly grandmother becomes severely ill – when a close family member becomes very ill and you want to see them, interrupting your trip for a covered reason involves arranging and paying for a flight home. It also involves returning you to your destination when the danger has passed.
- You are hospitalized with a severe allergic reaction – being alone in a hospital is is scary enough, but when you are far from your family or in a foreign country, it’s even worse. Your travel insurance provider can keep your family and friends informed of your status and bring a friend or family member to your bedside as well.
- You are shopping in an outdoor market when your passport, wallet, and money are stolen by a skilled pickpocket – theft happens everywhere and travelers are often prime targets, but when you need help getting your passport and other identification replaced, will you know where to go and what to do? Will you have the funds to pay for the emergency replacement fees?
- You are exploring in the mountains with your fellow students and you fall and break your back – emergency medical evacuations are serious situations that require coordination and communication in addition to a lot of money. If you are in a situation where you have to be medically evacuated to receive treatment, will you be able to pay the high costs?
What coverage do you need in your student travel insurance?
While the following is not an exhaustive list of all the coverages available with travel insurance plans, it describes those that are most useful to student travelers.
- Medical and dental coverage provides the funds necessary to secure medical treatment and reimbursement if you have to pay for it out of your own pocket. (Review the details of medical and dental expense coverage.)
- Trip interruption coverage provides the advice and funds necessary to secure a flight home if you have to interrupt your trip for a covered reason. This coverage will also return you to your destination. (Review the details on trip interruption coverage.)
- Emergency medical reunion coverage provides the coordination and funds necessary to bring a close friend or family member to your bedside if you are hospitalized for a period of time (usually 7 days). This coverage also ensures family and friends will be kept apprised of your condition. (Review the details on emergency medical reunion coverage.)
- Passport and credit card coverage helps you get replacement documents and helps with the fees to get those replacements. In some cases, it also provides some emergency cash until your credit cards can be replaced. (Review the details on passport and credit card coverage.)
- Emergency evacuation coverage arranges and pays for a secure medical evacuation when you cannot be transported otherwise to receive medical care. (Review the details on emergency evacuation coverage.)
- Travel assistance services ensures you have someone looking out for you while you travel. As a few examples, these folks provide advice on finding local doctors and dentists, replacing your passport and credit cards, and they can arrange for an emergency cash transfer from back home when necessary. (Review the details on travel assistance services.)
When should you buy your international student insurance?
Purchase your policy just after making your first trip payment. In some situations, this timing is important because some benefits:
- pre-existing medical condition waivers,
- ‘cancel for any reason’, and
- ‘cancel for work reasons’
are only applicable if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days (usually 10-15) from making your initial trip deposit. Plus, you’ll benefit from the longest period of cancellation coverage.
Remember that all travel insurance companies offer a free look period with a refund if you decide the plan is not what you need.
Where should you buy your travel insurance?
We recommend purchasing your travel insurance directly from a third-party company for a number of reasons.
- Buying Travel Insurance from a 3rd party company vs. through a travel agent
- Buying Travel Insurance Directly from the Company vs. Using a Comparison Site
Very briefly, you’ll have more choices and options in your travel insurance plan if you purchase from a third-party company using a comparison tool.
How can you be sure your travel insurance coverage is adequate?
These tips will help you determine whether you have enough coverage.
What are the best travel insurance plans for student travelers?
We’ve done the research into which plans are best and our recommendations include:
- The important coverages for student travel
- Our analysis of each plan
- Sample quotes