Currently, over 5 million students across the globe are studying outside their native country, and Indians constitute a high proportion of international students. A recent Reserve Bank of India report said that by the year 2024, approximately four lakh Indian students will enrol in foreign universities.
The report says that for 85 per cent of Indian students going abroad US, Canada and the UK remain the preferred destinations; followed by Singapore, China, Australia, and European countries like Germany and France.
While planning to study abroad, there are a plethora of arrangements that you need to make like financial arrangements, booking flights and packing what you need. But one of the most important things you need while travelling to study abroad is an overseas health or comprehensive travel insurance policy.
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Excluding Australia, New Zealand and some European colleges, students can buy travel insurance from India by opting for student health insurance waivers. However, it is always advised to buy student overseas insurance while going abroad for study as it acts as a safety net.
One of the most important reasons why students travelling abroad for higher studies must buy travel insurance is to cover medical expenses, given that the cost of healthcare overseas is quite expensive compared to India. For instance, a doctor’s consultation charges in the US ranges between $300-400 i.e. approximately Rs 20,500 – Rs 27,000 in India. Without travel insurance, one could end up spending over a week’s budget just on a doctor’s consultation or emergency room visit, which does not include medicines. Given this scenario, it is very important to invest in the right insurance cover to enjoy protection.
Student travel insurance also covers against other possible incidents like study interruption, sponsor protection, university insolvency, loss of laptop, loss of baggage, passport and important documents. One must ensure that while buying a student travel insurance some very crucial aspects are considered.
One of the most important aspects to consider is to ensure that your student travel insurance adheres to your university-issued guidelines. If the coverage of the student’s travel insurance is not in line with the university-issued guidelines, they have a right to decline the student’s insurance waiver benefit or even cancel the admission. Most universities in the US and Canada demand that international students insure themselves with a plan that covers all expenses related to pre-existing diseases, drug addiction, pregnancy and mental illness without any sub-limits.
Additionally, some universities even insist on international students taking travel insurance from insurers in their home countries. It is better for the Indian students travelling abroad to buy insurance from India as policies offered by Indian insurers are way cheaper and offer better benefits for students.
When buying a student travel insurance policy, do compare the different plans offered by various insurers on insurance aggregators. This will help you choose a plan that caters to your specific needs and requirements, and you can also make the policy much more comprehensive by attaching required add-ons with the plan. Also, do make sure that your insurer not only covers you for on-campus incidents, but also provides adequate coverage for incidents occurring outside the campus.
The author is Chief Business Officer, General Insurance, Policybazaar.com. Views are personal.