Buying in India is usually cheaper unless you have a pre-existing disease.
Most of us have relatives who are either already studying abroad or preparing to do so.
Getting into one's dream university is a long-drawn process: preparing for admissions, financing the education, organising important documents such as passports, visa, tickets, foreign currency, and so on.
The drill is cumbersome and there's one thing that gets the least attention in the process -- a good student travel insurance. And it's among the most important decisions.
Importance of student travel insurance
For one, it is mandatory in most international universities.
So, one cannot be lax about the product one is buying.
Even if it is not mandatory in some universities, it is strongly recommended to have one while studying abroad.
While most overseas universities offer their own registered insurances, they also allow students to buy cover from their home country.
These policies are customised policies, which cover the trip abroad, as well as take care of the health-related financial needs during the stay.
We all know that getting medical treatment in foreign countries can burn a big hole in your pocket.
Consider this, treatment costs in the US for a fracture cast can be around Rs 1.65 lakh and in case of admission to an intensive care unit (ICU), the charges are around Rs 1.75 lakh a day.
Such huge expenses can be easily taken care of with a student travel insurance plan.
Indian student travel insurance plans provide a good mix of health, liability, travel cover and student specific benefits.
Listed below are the covers most plans will offer:
How much is sufficient?
The university you are enrolled in will suggest the amount of travel insurance you should get.
If they do not, then it is ideal for you to go for the highest cover amount you can afford.
However, you should not settle for anything less than $100,000 if you are going to the US/Canada.
In fact, since the medical treatment costs are higher in these countries, it is recommended to have a cover for around $250,000.
For studying in a European country, 50,000 euros insurance cover is recommended; for countries like Australia and New Zealand $50,000 is advised.
Remember, these are just sample minimum figures. You should always consider your needs and medical fitness before deciding the right coverage amount.
You can buy a student travel insurance plan from any of the following places:
Buying student travel insurance in India is a much cheaper option as premiums are significantly lower than most international university student insurance plans.
For example, where a US university plan cost close to $2,000, the Indian student travel insurance plan would range from $300 to $500 for the same coverage amount.
The only situation in which buying travel insurance from an overseas insurer makes more sense is if you have a pre-existing disease.
Confirm beforehand whether the university you have enrolled in insists on a mandatory insurance cover.
It is important as some universities like in the UK, do not accept insurance policies other than state-prescribed NHS (National Health Service).
If the university offers the flexibility of buying insurance from home country, it is advisable to check whether the benefits offered match the university's requirements.
Avail appropriate health covers from India with better benefits to be well protected. Some insurers provide a list of universities that accept their insurance and also give a 30-day free-look period to return the insurance if the university does not accept it.
Also, ensure the chosen plan provides complete medical protection as discussed earlier along with these three key student specific benefits – study interruption, sponsor protection and bail bond.
As a thumb rule, the lower the policy deductible and co-payment, the higher would be the premium.
Deductible is the expense which a student bears before availing the benefits of health insurance.
Co-payment is the amount that one has to pay for each time one visits the hospital.
The co-payment amount is over and above the policy deductible. Needless to say you must pick an insurance cover that has the right balance of the two.
Carefully scan the sub-limits which is the upper limit applied on room rent, ICU expenses, diagnostic tests or ambulance charges by the insurance companies.
Choose a plan either without a sub-limit or one that has a higher sub-limit.
Similarly insurers do not cover pre-existing ailments, but if required by the university, the insurance company may provide this coverage.
The author of this article is the director -- health, life and strategic initiatives, Coverfox.com.
Lead image used for representational purposes only. Photograph: Kind courtesy eommina/Pixabay.com