Study Abroad Travel Insurance: When you are studying abroad, it isn’t just enough to have a simple health insurance plan. It is because your health insurance won’t cover all the exigencies that may hit at the most inopportune moment during your travels outside the country of your study. To illustrate the point, let’s assume you are studying in the UK and decide to go on a fact-finding mission to Europe during one of your semester breaks. Suppose you fall sick in Denmark during your sojourn. But since most health insurances only cover the destination country, you have to bear the expenses or at least the discrepancy between the two rates (medical expenses)–the home rate, where the policy has been taken and the country where you fell ill. Travel insurance can help you overcome such medical emergencies.
In addition, here are a few other situations where study abroad travel insurance comes in handy:
You have been forced to cancel your trip for some unforeseen reasons, say on account of your spouse’s illness;
loss of baggage and personal belongings; or
there can be a terror threat in the country you are travelling and have to be evacuated immediately
These are some of the many reasons why students should have travel insurance along with health insurance policies.
Let’s check how things look like in a few countries as far as study abroad travel insurance goes.
While most universities in the USA require you to purchase a study abroad health insurance, there is no such requirement as far as travel insurance is concerned. In fact, if you are travelling outside the destination country for academic purposes, many universities extend you travel insurance free of cost. Berkeley University, for example, offers coverage 24 hours a day, worldwide, for a variety of risks, for free. All the students need to do is to get themselves registered. Some of the common benefits associated with such type of study abroad travel insurance include:
Emergency Medical Evacuation
Rescue and evacuation after natural disasters and political crisis
Passport Replacement Assistance and Legal Assistance Referrals
Trip Delay Reimbursement
Personal Property Loss
Accidental Death, Dismemberment or Paralysis Benefits
Repatriation of Remains
Students must do well to understand that coverage tends to vary from university to university and therefore the only way to iron out the details is by going through individual travel insurance plans. Also, universities typically don’t sponsor personal travels and you are on your own; so, the best thing to do is to find a private insurer that fits your bill.
Students enrolled in a university in Australia are generally covered under the university’s complimentary study abroad travel insurance policy. One good example is Monash University, which extends complimentary travel insurance to students participating in a Monash Abroad approved program.
This type of travel policy insures course-related travel, especially when it is directly linked to the completion of a degree (for example –student exchange, work experience and clinical placements). However, universities also mandate that to avail study-related travel insurance benefits, students inform and get prior approval from their respective Faculty, before departure.
The complimentary study abroad travel insurance normally cannot be used for personal travel, though, and you will have to take a private plan to cover for your personal adventures. To find out whether some type of personal travel is covered by the university travel insurance, get in touch with the university’s insurance office and brief them about your travel plans.
Also, conflict-ridden countries like Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan are considered high risk zones, which make getting insurance cover for travelling to such countries that much harder. So, it is important that you discuss the country you are visiting with the insurance team and understand the nitty-gritty.
Universities in the UK extend study abroad travel insurance for university students, free of charge, whether they want to travel within the country or worldwide, provided it is related to university business. The University of Cambridge is one such university that offers free study abroad travel insurance, with the costs being borne by the university’s insurance budget.
Nevertheless, students aren’t automatically eligible for travel insurance as there are specific guidelines regarding eligibility. Key conditions for applying for travel insurance include compliance to the safety guidelines on Overseas Travel and Safety in Fieldwork.
It is only after your trip and risk assessment (wherever applicable) has been approved by the concerned department that you can go ahead with your travel. Also, you will be required to submit an application form detailing the purpose and extent of your travel while applying for travel insurance.
As is the case with the two countries we discussed earlier, personal travel again isn’t covered by university plans, and you have to approach a private agent to cover travels that aren’t linked to university business.
Universities in Canada offer emergency travel assistance only and for any other type of travel insurance you have to purchase insurance plan separately. It is not mandatory that you buy travel insurance for admission, as universities only demand a study abroad health insurance plan. But considering you will be doing some significant travelling –whether making a quick trip home in the middle of the semester or a break; or it can be that you might want to see the countryside of Canada or visit some other country just for pleasure or some personal reasons. All these can be covered by taking a study abroad travel insurance plan from a private agent. Moreover, the plan will also cover for accidental loss of belongings or ticket cancellation.
Though study abroad travel insurance isn’t considered an alternative to health insurance for getting admission to a university in Germany, it does have an important role to play. Most universities in Germany recommend that you have proper travel insurance when travelling to and from the university, both within and outside the country. Depending upon your requirements, you can easily buy insurance plan from a private agent.
New Zealand has one of the most generous study abroad travel insurance policies as it not only covers travel undertaken on university business, but offers cover for associated private travel (e.g. visiting relatives, holiday, etc.). Students can be covered for a period of up to 14 of private travel per business trip. All these benefits are available for free. However, since overseas travel is categorized under countries, travel permit for high-risk regions can be difficult to obtain. In such cases, you have to make arrangements for a private study abroad travel insurance.
Stay tuned to www.studyabroad.careers360.com for more stories on insurance
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