The admissions to foreign universities are in full swing and students from India will soon fly to their dream destinations to achieve their career goals. Every year, 50,000 to 55,000 students travel from India to countries like the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. In the recent years, we have also seen Germany and Ukraine becoming favourite destinations for specific subjects such as science and medicine. These 55,000 students not only comprise pupils who travel for higher education but also professionals above 40 years who travel for short-term professional courses arranged by various universities.
Be it students or professionals, admission to a foreign university is not only enthralling but also nerve-wracking. While it provides a great future prospect, getting your degree from a foreign country comes with its own share of uncertainties and hesitations. Student travel insurance provides a host of benefits including medical and non-medical insurance coverage for the tenure of your academic course with auto-renewal and extension facilities. The coverage is exhaustive and provides for expenses incurred on medical treatment, passport loss and study interruptions.
Insurance companies generally provide student travel insurance to those who are between 16 to 35 years of age. Here is a snapshot of various covers that students can avail:
The insurance plans take care of your medical expenses that may arise owing to accident and sickness while travelling. This medical assistance includes emergency dental treatment, maternity benefits and also takes care of transfer to the nearest location (or country) where the treatment you need is available. According to our database, students have filed claims for medical outpatient department the most, which goes to show that this is one of the most important feature of the policy.
LOSS OF PASSPORT
This cover keeps your fear of losing your documents in a foreign land at bay. It ensures that the reasonable expenses that may be incurred in procuring a duplicate or temporary passport overseas is covered.
BAGGAGE DELAY OR LOSS
In case of baggage loss, your insurer is liable to pay up to the specified maximum limit. The policy can also provide financial protection on unplanned personal purchases caused by delay in arrival of the checked-in baggage in a foreign country.
In case of accidental death or permanent disablement of your sponsor, your tuition fee for the remaining period of your course, up to the specified maximum limit, will be reimbursed by the insurer.
The student travel policies are so comprehensive that they ensure the reimbursement of unutilised tuition fees if you are hospitalised for two consecutive months or more for injuries or ailments that are covered under the policy. This also includes cases of terminal illness or transportation to the nearest location in case of medical emergency or in case of accidental death of your immediate family member.
Most of the time, insurers provide coverage against accidental death and permanent total disablement, irrespective of the country in which you are studying.
While many diverse aspects are covered under a student travel insurance policy, it is important to fully understand the exclusions in such policies. It does not shield you in cases that are related to the influence of alcoholism, abuse of drugs and AIDS.
Unexpected situations that pose a hurdle in your study plans can make you spend your savings in a jiffy. Educational institutions abroad now usually provide such policies partly or ensure that you purchase one as part of their admission or academic course mandate.
There is minimum paperwork involved in this form of insurance. Today, insurance companies provide all the details of their products on their websites. Many companies offer customised policies as well to cater to your preferences and requirements.
It is important to analyse and compare policies offered by different insurance companies to select the right plan. It is recommended to buy a policy from a reputable insurer that has a respectable record of servicing and claim settlement. You must also remember that an economical policy may not always be the paramount policy for you. You should always read the policy document carefully to understand the terms of the policy before making the final decision.
With increasing disposable income and the scaling ambitions of the Indian youth, we have certainly seen an upsurge in the awareness and acceptance of student travel insurance.
You know all your efforts and hard work over the years have been worth it when you receive that admission letter from your chosen international university. And with that right insurance policy, you can keep all your worries at bay and make your travel and stay secured.
Rao is managing director and chief executive officer of Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited.