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Simply Save | Why students going abroad need an overseas travel insurance cover

Overseas student travel insurance policies cover students' medical expenses incurred during your stay abroad, besides baggage loss, trip cancellation, study interruption and medical evacuation.

July 05, 2022 / 09:07 PM IST

In the coming weeks, Indian students who have secured admissions in universities would start gearing up to leave Indian shores to pursue their academic aspirations abroad.

The next two months are bound to be hectic, with admission, loans, Visa and other paperwork keeping students and their parents busy. Amidst the race against time to tick all these boxes, it is unlikely that you would pay attention to the possibility of falling sick during your stay abroad.

However, the threat is real and hence, most universities insist on students being covered under health insurance policies offered by local insurers once they reach the campuses. Even if your university does not mandate a cover, you will stand to benefit if you buy one. Your regular health cover will not come to your aid if you fall sick during your stay abroad. Unlike business or leisure travelers, you will spend more time overseas, and are likely to need medical treatment at some point in time.

You can either buy a health cover once you reach your campus - something that your university would also prefer - or buy an overseas student travel insurance policy before you fly out of India. Now, your university could insist on being covered under local insurers' policies - a drawback when it comes to Indian insurers' overseas policies. On the flipside, however, university-facilitated health insurance covers come with some limitations - for instance, they do not cover baggage loss or trip delays and stay during mid-term breaks - and tend to be more expensive.

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To understand the nitty-gritties of an overseas student health insurance policy and making the right choices, Moneycontrol's Preeti Kulkarni spoke to Nikhil Apte, Chief Product Officer, Product Factory (Health insurance), Royal Sundaram General Insurance.

Here are some key takeaways from this edition of Simply Save podcast:

"Medical risk abroad for students is very high. Treatment of viral fever or Typhoid, for instance, can cost up to $50,000 for a week-long stay in a hospital. So, cashless treatment is crucial."

"This is the reason why universities in the US and Australia, for example, insist on students being covered under health insurance."

"Several times, a student could be travelling alone and the journey is fraught with several risks - delay of baggage, passport loss, trip cancellation and so on. A student travel cover will compensate for such losses. For example, compensation for baggage loss can go up to $500."

"Unlike regular, leisure travel policies that are issued for up to 180 days, student travel policies come with a term of one year and are renewable."

"They cover mental health, nervous disorders, termination of pregnancy due to medical reasons and so on, that leisure travel policies do not pay for."

"Universities tend to push students to buy local insurers' policies. However, for one, such covers will not cover travel-related risks. Unlike Indian policies, they will not pay for your journey back home due to parents' illness or your evacuation back to India, if required."

"Moreover, they will not be of help if you need to go to other countries for assignments or need medical cover outside the state where your university may be located."

"Indian overseas student policies do not cover treatment linked to alcohol abuse or injuries arising out of adventure sports."

"As a student, you can try to convince your university that your Indian overseas student policy meets the institution's requirements, even if it means extensive correspondence with the officials."

"If they insist on a local insurer's cover, it still makes sense to buy an overseas student travel policy for the travel risks that they cover. Also, the amount not reimbursed (due to deductible, co-pay clauses) by university-facilitated covers can be claimed under your Indian policy."
Preeti Kulkarni is a financial journalist with over 13 years of experience. Based in Mumbai, she covers the personal finance beat for Moneycontrol. She focusses primarily on insurance, banking, taxation and financial planning
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