Planning to study in Europe or spend your gap year in the US? Student travel insurance can save you if something goes wrong.
Spending a term abroad is an amazing experience, but before you go you should make sure you’re prepared for the unexpected. You may think your university’s free travel insurance has you covered, but it may not cover you for everything such as replacing a lost iPhone or lost spending cash for a road trip to another city. The right cover can give you peace of mind against the risks that come with being abroad.
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What does student travel insurance cover?
Student travel insurance covers a variety of situations in different countries. Here are the situations where you’ll be covered:
- Injury or illness. If you injure yourself, get sick or are even involved in a car accident, your travel insurance will cover your medical treatment, ambulance rides and daily spending money while you’re in the hospital.
- Lost or stolen property. 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.
- Cancellations. You can claim the cost of any non-refundable tickets or fees in the event you have to cancel your trip for reasons outside of your control.
- Personal liability. 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.
- Rental 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 exorbitant. Travel insurance will help you pay for that excess.
Are there any exclusions I should know about?
Anytime you get an insurance policy it’s a good idea to go through its terms and conditions and be aware of any exclusions that may apply. Some common student travel insurance exclusions include:
- High-risk sports and activities. Your student travel insurance won’t cover all sports and activities such as winter sports, so check to see which sports are excluded from cover.
- Drugs and alcohol. Any incidents that occur while you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol will generally not be covered.
- Negligent behaviour. Loss or damage to belongings that could have been avoided will generally not be covered. For example, leaving your laptop bag sitting on the park bench will not be covered if it’s stolen.
- No proof? No refund. In order to pay claims for lost, stolen or damaged personal items, most insurers require some form of proof for the claim to be eligible. You’ll have to provide a receipt, photos or any other proof for the claim to be considered as valid.
Different types of student travel insurance cover
- Single trip or annual cover
As its name suggests, a single trip policy covers just one trip, usually up to a maximum of 31 days. With an annual policy you can plan on taking several trips without having to buy insurance each time. It’s always a good idea to compare prices and as a general rule, it’s likely that an annual policy will be cheaper if you’re planning on taking more than two trips.
- Gap year travel insurance
If you’re planning to go backpacking through several countries for a gap year, you’ll need a policy that covers you for the length of the trip and for each country you plan to be in, even if it’s just a stopover. A number of providers offer cover specifically for those requirements.
- Working abroad
Often many students who travel abroad for a gap year work during the trip to pay for some of the expenses of their trip. Many providers offer gap year travel insurance, which covers overseas employment, although manual labour may be excluded. It’s always good to check with your insurer about exclusions. Some policies may also allow you to return home a couple of times during your trip, should you need to return for a family emergency or special occasion.
How can I save money on my policy?
As a student, saving money on anything is a high priority. That said, cheapest doesn’t always mean best. When taking out a travel insurance policy, it’s still important to find a policy that covers your particular needs.
Tips to find affordable student travel insurance:
- Figure out what you need. The cover that’s right for you may not be what works for somebody else. Take into account the activities you anticipate to take part in and then look for the policy to suit your requirements.
- Assess the cover you already have. As a student you probably have some cover from your university, credit cards or personal health insurance policy.
- Should I get my policy through my travel agent? More often than not you’ll pay more for cover through a travel agent, mainly because you’ll pay the travel agent a commission fee.
- Should I look for deals online? Absolutely. The competitive nature of the travel insurance industry means providers are constantly offering promotions, discounts and other incentives.
*Disclaimer: Please take reasonable care to answer all the questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t answer the questions correctly, your policy may be cancelled, or your claim rejected or not fully paid.
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