Preparations for sending your child to study abroad can take months. From getting prospectuses to filling up forms, applying for scholarships, writing exams, calculating expenses and booking air tickets – it is a massive task which needs meticulous planning. In the middle of all this, one not-so-minor detail is often overlooked – an appropriate insurance cover.
With over 5 million students studying outside their native country across the globe, Indians make for a huge proportion of these statistics. By the year 2024, approximately four lakh Indian students will enrol in foreign universities, says a recent Reserve Bank of India report.
Keeping in mind a change in climatic conditions, food, water, and the need to stay outdoors for assignments, students have a higher chance of falling sick. The student needs to be protected financially so that he/she don’t cough up fat medical bills which can add to the already high cost of living. Buying a Student Travel Insurance can help you here.
A student travel insurance policy ensures that one do not have to face any financial constraint during the period study abroad. It covers a range of medical and non-medical constraints that can eat up from ones limited finances. Most universities abroad have made it compulsory for students to get travel insurance before coming to join them. Besides, many universities also offer a waiver on their domestic health insurance if one has a valid international travel policy. Let’s just say getting a student travel insurance plan is profitable in more ways than one can think.
Not only is treatment costly in foreign countries, but also the value that conversion of the Rupee to a Foreign Currency brings, may feel heavy on the pocket, it always sensible to pack a safety net. For instance, while the student will come under the National Health Service or NHS that makes ones medical expenses free of cost if have a student visa in the UK, one might still consider insurance for covering belongings, important documents or any third-party personal liability, to make his/her stay protected.
Even if the university or the country does not insist on your child having insurance, it is advisable to have one, as medical costs in developed countries are much more than in India. For instance, in India, a doctor’s consultation is Rs 150-300, while in the US it is $250-300.
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There are three ways to buy this cover
from the university
from an insurer in the foreign country
from an Indian insurer
Before comparing the plans, find out your options. Some universities make it mandatory for students to buy insurance from them. Some have clauses which Indian insurers’ policies may not comply with.
If the institution of your choice falls in these two categories, you have no choice but to take whatever you are offered. For instance, MIT (US) has its own student medical plan but allows waiver only if you have a comparable health insurance that meets the universities standards (they have detailed guidelines). So, if the Indian insurer doesn’t fulfil all the criteria, you’ll have to buy from the university.
Some universities do not accept an insurance policy from insurance carriers outside their country. That means, either you buy from the university or search for a local insurer in their country who complies with the university’s rules. Since buying a cover from a foreign insurer sounds complicated to many, the majority chooses to fill up the insurance documents along with other university formalities.
The premium charged by domestic insurers is about one-third charged by foreign universities or insurers for the same coverage. Standard university plans cover only health whereas domestic policies offer both medical and non-medical benefits. Indian insurers, on their part, offer benefits such as a travel plan (covers loss of passport and check-in baggage), compassionate visits (reimbursement of parents’ travel and stay cost if the student is hospitalised), third-party liabilities, study interruption protection (reimburses fee for any semester the student skips due to medical or compassionate reasons) and sponsor protection (reimbursement of tuition fee if the person funding the education dies).
At the time of choosing the best student travel insurance policy in India, you should keep the following steps in mind:
Analyse the company’s credibility while choosing a plan by careful comparison
Check the affordability of the plan. Moderate premiums are convenient to pay and are not that hard on your pocket.
Choose a plan with which you are comfortable and not the one which has a lot of exclusions
Add-ons, or a lack thereof, will reflect in your premium amount. Therefore, you must cross-check before agreeing to the premium.
Check the claim settlement ratio of the insurance provider before buying a plan. An above- average percentage can be taken as a sign of hassle-free claim settlements.
Check if you are covered for any sports/activities that you would like to take part in during your study abroad.
Check for location factors because travel insurance cover varies from country to country. You wouldn’t want to be left hapless due to one clause that you didn’t read in the fine print