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Study Abroad Insurance

So, you’ve decided you want to study abroad. That’s great. But have you thought about study abroad insurance?

You should appreciate the benefits that a student insurance policy will provide. Although this may be the last thing on the mind of many postgraduates, these veritable "safety nets" will give you the protection and the peace of mind to pursue your dreams.

Just like travel insurance, this is definitely something you’ll want to look into. Some universities will offer free insurance for students studying abroad, but you’ll need to check with you university for this.

And, even if they do offer insurance, you’ll want to ensure it covers everything you need it to and if it doesn’t, you should take some out yourself.

So, how does a student insurance work and what areas should be covered?

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Study abroad insurance

Why do you need insurance when you’re studying abroad?

Why is insurance for students studying abroad so important? Well, think about why you would have travel insurance. There’s a variety of things that may go wrong which work differently in another country – perhaps you have a health problem or lose your passport.

Now imagine these things happen whilst studying – and therefore temporarily living – abroad! As you can see, study abroad insurance is vital for students.

What should your insurance policy should cover?

Things that should be covered by your insurance include:

1. Travel cancellations ­

You will almost certainly want to make a few trips home and back, so you want to ensure you don’t fork out for any mistakes on this end of things! Whether it’s missing connections, losing tickets or other such unfortunate occurrences, you want to make sure that your study abroad insurance has a policy on this.

2. Health

There is nothing quite as unpleasant as being ill, except being ill in a country that you can’t access medical care in. Your insurance should cover your medical costs – from emergency hospital trips to the possibility of flying you home/your family out if something drastic happens.

3. Personal possessions

It’s important you’re covered for any valuables you own, given you’ll be living abroad for a while, but most importantly, you want to ensure adequate protection for your money and your passport.

On top of that, not all study abroad insurance for students covers laptops, but it’s probably worth getting your laptop insured, given how vital it’ll likely be for your studies.

Do you have a pre-existing medical condition?

Some insurance for students studying abroad will only cover health issues that arise whilst abroad, so you should make sure that you choose one that allows for a pre-existing condition. After all, you don’t want to end up paying a lot of money if something happens that could’ve been saved by a quick check of the policy specifics.

Planning on working?

Some policies count working while you are a student as a breach to your insurance and will no longer apply at all if you work. Others will not cover anything that happens at work – meaning if you injure yourself, or something is stolen whilst employed, you’re out of luck.

In addition, you should check what the laws on international students working are for the country you’re in – you don’t want to end up with what seems to be the perfect insurance, then be unable to use it because you are inadvertently breaking the law.

How often will you visit home?

Different policies have different limits on how many times you can return home – with some, it’s two, others four, and others might be unlimited. Some companies offer a variety of levels, meaning the less you visit, the cheaper it may be for you. This is worth knowing it advance, either to save you money if you won’t go home often, or to make sure you’re covered if you do.

Remember, this should be considered alongside the medical cover, because you don’t want to max out your allowed return journeys and then be unable to go home if you get sick. It’s also worth asking if they have exceptions for exceptional events (like family illness or bereavement). It may not be the nicest thing to think about, but it’s worth being over prepared.

How old will you be on leaving university?

This is most relevant if you’re a mature student or have taken a gap year, but everyone should check it nonetheless. Some study abroad insurance policies have a maximum age that they will cover up to, so make sure you won’t go past it.

What factors could affect your insurance policy?

Depending upon your particular circumstances there may be other needs that you should address. Thanks to the flexibility of many insurance policies, your individual needs should be accommodated.

A few of the situations that could require additional amendments to a plan are:

  • If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition.
  • If you plan on working while abroad.
  • How often you may be travelling.
  • The location where you are studying.

These variables are important to consider for two reasons:

  1. Your premiums may be a bit higher depending upon the policy that you choose.
  2. Not all providers will offer the same levels of protection.

What’s the excess?

Most insurance policies will have a required excess, and you should make sure you know this in advance.

There’s nothing quite as bad as thinking you’re covered and finding out you’re expected to pay more than planned, so this should be one piece of information you remember.

It’s also worth looking if the available excesses change the cost of the insurance – you can often get a lower excess by paying more for the policy to start.

Shop around

It is a good idea to shop around when looking for your study abroad insurance so you can find the most relevant plan for you.

While studying abroad will certainly provide you with one of the best experiences of your life, a little protection can go a long way!


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