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Student travel insurance for Kiwis studying abroad

Student travel insurance fills some major gaps that your uni’s insurance and local private health cover won’t fill. And it could save your trip from disaster.

Whether you are sponsored by a New Zealand university as part of a study-abroad program or you are enrolling directly with an overseas uni, the typical insurance options available to you might not be enough.

Your uni’s insurance usually won’t cover you for that break-week excursion to the Great Wall and your new country’s private health insurance usually won’t cover you if your UK study adventure takes you to mainland Europe.

Student travel insurance plugs these gaps and keeps you protected during the whole adventure.

* This guide is for Kiws who will be leaving New Zealand to study internationally.

What does student travel insurance cover?

Overseas student travel insurance covers a wide range of situations in a host of different countries. Here are the situations where you’ll be covered:

  • You get injured or become ill. Let’s say you take a side trip to the Alps and break your ankle. Your travel insurance will cover your medical treatment, ambulance rides and daily spending money while you’re in the hospital. It also includes dental cover.
  • Your money or belongings get lost, damaged or stolen. If a pickpocket takes your wallet, a storm damages your passport or an airline loses your luggage, travel insurance will pay for you to replace what’s lost.
  • You have to cancel your trip (or any side trips). Travel insurance will pay you back for any non-refundable tickets or fees if you have to unexpectedly cancel your trip (as long as it’s outside of your control).
  • You damage something or injure someone. If you injure someone or damage something, you could be on the hook for thousands of dollars. Travel insurance will help cover your legal fees and any money you owe.
  • A family emergency calls you home. If a family member dies and you need to return to New Zealand, travel insurance will pay to send you home and even pay for you to get back to your new country.
  • Your rental car insurance has a high excess. If you rent a car, you’ll likely have to take out car insurance with the rental company. But if you cause an accident, you’ll find that your out-of-pocket share (called the excess) can be sky-high. Travel insurance will help you pay for that excess.

What are your student travel insurance options when studying abroad?

Travel insurance makes sense whether you are on a study-abroad program through a New Zealand uni or you are directly enrolled in an international uni. That’s because the other forms of insurance available to you won’t cover you for every situation.

Studying abroad through a New Zealand uni

If you’re going overseas as part of your New Zealand uni’s study abroad program, you’ll usually be covered by their travel insurance policy as a default. However, it will usually be strictly limited to your studies. Any travel that lasts longer than a weekend is usually considered personal travel and you won’t be covered for it.

If you’re one of these students, you’ll definitely want additional travel insurance if you plan on doing any travel longer than a weekend. For example, if you book a trip for after your studies but the stress of exams made you bed-ridden with the flu, travel insurance will cover you for any non-refundable expenses.

Enrolling directly into an overseas uni

If you are enrolling in an overseas uni full-stop and you are not affiliated with a New Zealand uni, you’ll usually have the option of buying health insurance in the country you are visiting (in fact, it is a requirement of your visa in some cases). Some countries may even cover you as part of their national health care program depending on your visa-type and length of stay.

However, travel insurance also makes a lot of sense in these cases too. For one thing, it covers you for much more than just medical expenses. Here are some example of other ways it can help:

  • Lost luggage. If you are travelling around your new country and the airline loses your luggage, travel insurance will cover you.
  • Family emergency. If a family member dies while you’re in New Zealand, travel insurance can pay for you to go home for the funeral and return back to your new country.
  • Personal liability. If you’re playing a pick-up game of footy and accidently hurt someone, travel insurance can help you pay for any lawsuit or damages.
  • Private medical. If you are relying on the country’s national health care system instead of private health care, your travel insurance policy will help you get immediate care if you twist you twist your knee hiking and need ligament surgery. Public health might make you wait since it’s not life-threatening.

Your insurance options compared

The table below shows travel insurance fills in all of the gaps left by your other insurance options.

Typical benefitsYour uni’s health insuranceLocal private health insuranceTravel insurance
Meets the health cover requirements of your destination school
Only with a waiver
Cover for the duration of your semester
Cover for any travel afterwards
Only in the country where the policy is issued
Medical emergencies and hospital
Personal Liability
Lost and damaged luggage
Trip cancellations
Personal items and theft

What if you taking side trips in between your studies?

If you are studying overseas for the long-term and already have your health insurance sorted, travel insurance is perfect for those side trips for the following reasons:

  • It covers you for much more than just medical. It can help you with lost deposits, stolen luggage, those high rental car excesses and more.
  • It offers medical cover in other countries. Your private health insurance probably won’t cover you for medical expenses in a country outside of the one you are studying in. This is huge in a place like Europe, where you can see six countries in a day.
Picture: Getty Images

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