My son is travelling to the US in January to pursue higher studies. As international student insurance is mandatory in the US, his university is offering him a health insurance policy from the local insurer. Should I buy the university-recommended policy from the US or get one from India? Also, do I need to go in for a separate travel insurance policy as well?

Santosh

 A travel insurance policy is a must for every student planning to pursue higher education overseas. Universities, particularly in the US, the UK, and Canada, insist that students buy student health insurance policies from local insurers (probably from the ones they might have tied up with). But these policies bought via universities will only cover them within the university premises or in the destination countries.

A student travel insurance policy bought from India is an advisable option between international student health insurance and travel insurance. A student travel insurance policy provides better coverage and benefits as it is a combination of medical insurance and travel insurance. This policy covers various expenses of the insured, such as medical emergencies/expenses incurred during their stay abroad. Besides exorbitant medical costs, delay or loss of baggage, trip cancellation, family visit, and other incidental expenses, which could otherwise dent your finances, are also covered.

Overseas student travel insurance policy comes with a wide range of benefits. In the event of study interruption caused by a medical emergency, a comprehensive travel insurance policy will prove to be useful. In this case, the semester fee will be paid by the insurer or a two-way flight coverage for someone visiting from family. Expenses associated with compensation for a personal accident that leads to death or permanent disability, loss of passport, related expenses incurred on replacement of the passport, legal expenses and bail bond in case of any legal trouble, etc., all are taken care of by the student travel insurance plan.

Some of the best plans are offered by insurers such as Bajaj Allianz Travel Insurance, Tata AIG Student Travel Guard, Reliance General Insurance and Care Student Explore Plus provide financial cover for medical and travel-related risks that students might face during their trip/stay overseas.

When it comes to the insurance cost, the money spent on buying student travel insurance is negligible compared to what you might have to shell out from your pocket during an emergency overseas. For instance, if the student is pursuing a one-year course in the US with a tuition fee somewhere between  ₹10 lakh and ₹15 lakh, then the cost of travel insurance would in the range of ₹10,000-15,000. It’s always recommended that youbuy an adequate amount of coverage according to the duration of stay. Moreover, if your son/daughter has any pre-existing medical conditions then that must be declared at the time of purchasing the policy.

Unlike regular, leisure, or business travel policy that is issued for up to 180 days, student travel policies come with a term of one/two years and are renewable. Lastly, like any insurance policy, student travel insurance also comes with a set of clauses. Make sure that you read all the terms and conditions to avoid any surprises during an excursion.

While studying abroad, a student is exposed to certain risks. Thus, it is always better to be safe than sorry! Buying a student travel insurance plan will protect you and your child against any financial losses arising from any untoward event while pursuing higher education abroad.

The writer is CEO, Policybazaar.com 

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