As an international student, you have to get student travel insurance before you leave to cover you for unexpected medical or travel-related expenses as you embark on your new adventure.

In many cases, student travel insurance is mandatory to apply for the visa or enroll at the university. Others simply get travel insurance to have peace of mind during their journey abroad.

Please note that student travel insurance is not the same as international student health insurance.

Why Do I Need Student Travel Insurance?

You need student travel insurance so you do not have to worry about unexpected costs ruining your study abroad experience. For example, if you suddenly get sick or get into an accident, travel insurance will cover the costs of your medical bills. If your flight is delayed and you are stuck at the airport, it will cover food and accommodation until the next flight. If your passport, baggage, or any other items are stolen, damaged, or lost during your trip, student travel insurance will reimburse you for their loss.

Difference Between Student Travel Insurance and International Student Health Insurance

Student travel insurance is short-term, covering you only from the time you leave home until you settle down. International student health insurance is long-term – it covers you for the entire duration of your studies.

Student Travel Insurance International Student Health Insurance
Short-term. You eventually have to switch from travel insurance to a long-term health insurance plan. Long-term. Can be extended for the whole duration of your studies abroad.
You have to get student travel insurance before you travel. You can get international student health insurance before you travel or after you arrive.
Covers only emergency medical treatment Covers emergency and non-emergency medical treatment, including pre-existing conditions, maternity and routine check-ups.
Covers for trip interruption, disruption, delay, or cancellation. Does not cover trip interruption, disruption, delay, or cancellation.
Covers for loss, theft or damage of luggage or personal belongings. Does not cover for loss, theft or damage of luggage or personal belongings.
Covers for emergency evacuation and repatriation. Covers for emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Suitable for students going on a short trip or international students who want to have health and travel insurance for the time it takes to get a long-term plan. Suitable for international students and expats, who will stay abroad for a long period of time.

Who Is Eligible for Student Travel Insurance?

You can buy a student travel insurance plan if:

  • You are a student who will take a course or pursue studies at a university or school abroad.
  • You are in an internship with a company abroad (paid or unpaid).
  • You are part of a vocational training program abroad.
  • You are part of a working holiday program.
  • You are a volunteer abroad.
  • You will work as part of an “au pair” program abroad.

Note: The exact eligibility requirements change based on the company you purchase the plan from. Additionally, there is a cut-off age after which you no longer qualify for student travel insurance (usually 30 or 35).

What Does the Travel Insurance for Students Cover?

Travel insurance for students covers medical expenses and trip disturbance for the time it takes a student to travel and settle abroad. This includes medical treatment costs for any accidents or sudden illness, evacuation, trip interruption, delay, or cancellation, loss of baggage, emergency evacuation, etc.

A typical plan (such as the one offered by MondialCare) includes:

  • Coverage for medical treatment in case of an illness or accident.
    • Reimbursement of medical, surgical, pharmaceutical, and hospital expenses in case you require medical assistance while abroad.
    • Reimbursement of medical expenses in your home country (in case you need to be evacuated back).
    • Emergency dental expenses.
  • Coverage to bring someone to stay with you in case you are hospitalized. The insurance company pays for their travel ticket and hotel expenses for several days.
  • Insurance for baggage and personal belongings. Reimbursement (up to a certain amount) for the loss, damage, or destruction of personal baggage, including valuables, sports equipment, and electronics.
  • Insurance for trip disruption. For example, if you have a connecting flight, and it is delayed, your travel insurance will pay for food and accommodation during your waiting time, if that is necessary. Or, you have to cut your trip short because of an emergency back home, the insurance company pays for the flight ticket.
  • Insurance for personal liability. For example, if you cause personal injury or property damage to someone else the insurance company pays for the consequential losses, to a certain amount.

How Much Does Student Travel Insurance Cover?

You can choose how much coverage you want. There are different “policy maximums”, meaning the maximum amount of money the insurance company will pay for a claim. There are usually different amounts for different things, such as medical bills and loss of belongings.

The exact amount that the insurance company pays for any occasion is stated clearly on the policy details. Make sure to read it.

How Can I Get Student Travel Insurance?

You can get student travel insurance in one of the following ways:

  • Directly from an insurance company in your country.
  • Online, through international insurance companies offering student travel insurance plans. You can go to their website, write down where and for how long you want to be covered, then read through the plans they offer, and purchase one.
  • Through online travel insurance brokers, which allow you to compare plans from different companies before settling on one. Similarly, you have to enter the dates during which you want to be covered and where.

Things to remember before buying student travel insurance:

  • Do not buy the cheapest plan you find. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. A cheap student travel insurance plan will probably not offer you all the coverage you need in times of emergency.
  • Read the policy conditions carefully. See exactly for what you have coverage. E.g. a company may claim they cover for cancellation, but they usually have specific conditions that are acceptable, such as cancellation within two weeks for reasons outside your control.
  • See whether it meets the requirements of your school or the student visa requirements.
  • Read the policy exclusions. Learn what you are not covered for.
  • Find out how you can make a claim.
  • Find out whether they have a helpline you can reach out to for assistance. Get the number/email.
  • Do your research on the company, read reviews from previous customers.

See how to choose the best travel insurance plan for you.

How Long Is Student Travel Insurance Coverage Valid?

You will have student travel insurance coverage within the timeframe you selected before purchasing the plan. The coverage starts from the moment you depart your home country. Coverage for trip disruptions or cancellations usually starts within two weeks.

The longer the time frame you will be covered, the more expensive the policy is.

When Should I Get a Travel Insurance Plan for Students?

You should get travel insurance within 15 days from the time you booked or paid for your trip. If you purchase travel insurance at the last minute, you may not be able to get full coverage for things such as cancellation or delay.

How Much Does Travel Insurance for Students Cost?

The cost of student travel insurance depends on:

  • How much coverage you want to have. If you choose a health insurance plan with a higher policy maximum, you will have to pay more. If you add coverage for optional “add-ons”, such as liability, it will cost even more.
  • Where you are travelling to. Travel insurance for the US for example, costs more than in most other countries, due to the very high cost of healthcare.
  • How long you need coverage for. If you buy travel insurance for a month, it will be more expensive than a plan for only two weeks.

Is Travel Insurance for International Students Obligatory?

Travel insurance for international students is only obligatory as part of the visa process. For example, if you apply for a Student Visa, most Embassies will ask you to show you have obtained adequate travel insurance for at least the beginning period of your stay.

It is different for actual health insurance. In some countries, like the US, long-term or international health insurance for students is mandatory, either through the school or an international plan. Having health insurance is mandatory for students in Germany as well.