Why International Student Travel Insurance is Essential for Students Studying Abroad
For many students who have successfully secured admissions at universities abroad, especially in countries like the United States of America, the time has come to embark on a new journey towards their study destinations.
If you are one of these students getting ready to head to your study institution in a foreign land, you might already have your paperwork sorted out – your visa, admission details, and even loan formalities.
However, there's a crucial aspect that should be part of your foolproof plan: international student travel insurance.
Nobody likes to think about the possibility of getting sick, losing valuable gadgets, or important documents while traveling or after arriving in a new country. But let's face it – these risks exist, and they can't be ignored.
Many universities abroad insist that their students have health insurance coverage. Some universities even suggest that students opt for insurance plans offered by local providers once they are on campus.
Even if your university doesn't make it mandatory, it's still highly recommended that you purchase an international student travel insurance policy from Indian insurance companies before leaving your home country.
While the insurance policy recommended by your university can be helpful once you're on campus, an overseas travel policy is designed to cover risks that might arise during your journey, like lost baggage, stolen laptops, trip cancellations, or flight delays.
To help us understand the importance of these insurance policies, we spoke to Amit Chhabra, Chief Business Officer of Travel Insurance at Policybazaar.com. Here are some key takeaways from our conversation:
Timing of Travel: Many students fly out in August and September, particularly for the September semester intake, which is common in the US.
Long-Term Coverage: Unlike regular travel insurance, which usually covers trips up to 180 days, international student travel insurance offers coverage for a longer period.
This is important because students often stay in their destination countries for one to five years, depending on their course duration.
Comprehensive Coverage: Student travel insurance policies offer comprehensive coverage.
They not only cover emergencies like sudden illnesses but also cover expenses for things like viral infections, dental treatments, loss of personal belongings, and interruptions in studies due to emergencies back home or situations in the host city.
Additional Benefits: Think of this insurance as a long-term companion during your time abroad.
It comes with additional benefits such as sponsor protection, compassionate visit coverage, study interruption coverage, and even legal expense coverage if needed.
Buying Insurance: You can purchase international student insurance online, even just a few days before you leave.
However, it's recommended to do it at least a week in advance. Since this is an important matter and premiums can be costly, it's wise to compare different policies before making a decision.
Premium Costs: The premiums for international student insurance policies aren't excessively high. For example, a student traveling to Europe with a $500,000 coverage might pay around Rs 23,000 for a two-year policy.
The difference in premiums for different coverage amounts isn't substantial, so it's a good idea to aim for higher coverage if your budget allows.
Understanding Limits and Deductibles: Take the time to understand the limits and deductibles of the policy.
For instance, even if you have a policy with a high coverage amount, the compensation for lost baggage might be limited to a certain amount. Similarly, there might be a deductible, meaning you'll need to pay a certain amount from your pocket before the insurance kicks in.
Local Insurers vs. Indian Insurers: Some universities abroad recommend health insurance from local providers they have partnered with.
However, it's often a better idea to go for overseas student travel policies offered by Indian insurers. These policies are priced in rupees and are generally cheaper than foreign-currency-denominated university-recommended plans.
Additionally, Indian policies often offer more coverage options, including benefits like baggage loss, passport loss, trip cancellation, flight delays, personal liability, and study interruption coverage.
When you're about to begin a new chapter of your life in a foreign land, the last thing you want is to worry about unexpected mishaps and their financial implications.
International student travel insurance gives you peace of mind, knowing that you're covered against a range of potential risks, allowing you to focus on what truly matters – your education and the exciting journey ahead.