Understanding how student travel insurance works

Given the high cost of medical expenses in developed nations, having appropriate insurance cover is a must for students travelling abroad for education and exploration alike.

Understanding how student travel insurance works

A common dilemma amongst students planning to study overseas is selecting a proper student travel insurance plan. Many make the mistake of equating such schemes with regular travel insurance, while others skip purchasing it altogether, thereby exposing themselves to some financial risks.  In this article, we’ll try and simplify student travel insurance to help make your purchase decision easier.

Related: Types of travel insurance coverage in India

Coverage and features: How is Student travel insurance different from regular travel insurance?

While travel insurance only covers you during the trip and expires when it ends, a student insurance policy is far more comprehensive and continues to protect you during your stay abroad. The following is an indicative list of the main features of a student travel policy:

  • Cover for death
  • Cover for accidental disability
  • Reimbursement of tuition fee due to medical condition/injury/death of either parent or death/disability of sponsor
  • Emergency medical expenses on hospitalisation of the student
  • Interruption of study
  • Medical evacuation, body repatriation
  • Emergency dental treatment
  • Travel cost for attending to a family member in case of their hospitalisation
  • Payment of bail amounts in the event of arrest of the student
  • Loss or delay of checked baggage
  • Loss of passport
  • Personal liability to a third party

What you should know before buying this cover

Your university may require that you purchase a particular product and hence in such a case you don’t have any option but to do so. However, universities generally prescribe certain broad criteria/ parameters and leave the options open for students to purchase their own insurance policy. In such a case, you have two choices:

  1. Purchase a student travel insurance before moving out of India, or
  2. Purchase a plain vanilla health insurance cover from an insurer in the host country.

Related: Travel insurance facts- travel growth, tourism industry, statistics, growth in insurance [Infographics]

Which option works better?

It is advisable to prefer student travel insurance over regular health cover since a student cover protects you on travel related aspects as well & thus, obviates the need to purchase a separate travel policy every time you travel.

Also, choosing a policy from an Indian insurer over an overseas policy can generate significant savings in terms of cost of the premium. For example, for an annual cover of USD 1,00,000, Student Guard- Overseas Health Insurance Plan - Plan B Plan from TATA AIG General Insurance will cost you around Rs. 32,000, while Collegiate Care Plan from US Fire Insurance Co. will cost you USD 732 (~ INR 49,044,  assuming USD 1 = INR 67).

However, the premium should not be the only things you consider; factors such as network hospitals, claims process, cashless facility, etc. are more important. It is here that inputs from enrolled students or university counsellors may prove helpful, so do ask as many questions as possible and read online reviews and forums as well.

Some other points

  • You must fall between the age bands of 16-35 years to be able to buy this plan.
  • In some policies, exclusions such as alcoholism, drug dependency, mental disorders, etc. can also be covered on payment of some renewal premium.
  • The claims procedure is defined and varies from insurer to insurer. Generally speaking, you need to first intimate the claim at the insurer’s helpline, or an overseas emergency medical assistance service. If it is established that the illness is covered under the plan & not a pre-existing condition, insurers often undertakes to settle the claim directly with the hospital. In case of re-imbursement, a claim form needs to be filled along with the supporting documents as prescribed by the insurer.
  • On expiry of the cover, you can extend the policy on payment of additional premium.

Related: Travel insurance exclusions in India

Given the high cost of medical expenses in developed nations, an insurance policy is a must for families to protect themselves from the financial impact due to hospitalisation or disability during the stay abroad. Student travel insurance fulfils this need and hence is a highly recommended cover for students going abroad.


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