Secure ‘study-abroad’ experience with student insurance Overseas student insurance policies offer wide bouquet of benefits to insurance buyers.
These policies not only offer more benefits but also come cheaper as compared to the policies issued overseas.
It’s a proud moment when you secure admission to a coveted course at a foreign university. There is the distinct and indescribable feeling that the world is your oyster and the future is full of immense possibilities.
At first, visions of an excellent scholastic infrastructure, meeting new, like-people, the challenging career that will follow and other exciting prospects swarm before your eyes.
But as the actual visa application process kicks in, and there is talk of purchasing insurance, at home or through the university, you may consider some less delightful possibilities – falling ill while you are far from home, meeting with an accident on foreign soil, losing important documents that support your identity and more…
Who, you may wonder, will take care of you and help you when such vulnerabilities strike and you are far from your homeland?
Insurance to the rescue
‘Travel abroad for studies’ forms less than 5% of all the reasons why Indians go overseas.
Nevertheless, domestic insurance companies take this segment very seriously and offer a special kind of product to meet its unique needs.
While leisure and business travellers, visitors to friends and family abroad and perhaps even emigrants would do well to purchase regular travel insurance, students would be better off with a niche product called student travel insurance.
If chosen well, this product can cover all the perils you may face as a traveller and those that may confront you as a student living in a foreign land.
Mandated by the law of foreign lands
At one level, health insurance is usually mandatory for those who travel abroad to pursue education.
For instance, a certain minimum medical insurance is a prerequisite for attaining the visa into the Schengen Area, which comprises 26 European countries that function as a single country for international travel purposes.
In other nations too, like the US and Canada, medical insurance is a must for students, although it can be purchased either from India or in the country of your destination, from the university that you plan to attend.
Necessitated by circumstances
While a number of countries abroad offer limited government-funded healthcare, most of it is not accessible to international students.
Further, the cost of health care abroad is extremely high. So, while the option to purchase health insurance abroad is available, it must be paid for in foreign currency and being more expensive than an Indian policy, it eats into your financial resources.
More importantly, policies taken abroad through the university usually offer only medical related coverage to the extent of in-patient medical expenses, OPD expenses and medical evacuation.
Then again, the coverage under medical expenses, especially in the US, is restricted to treatment on campus or networked hospitals and often stipulates co-pay and sub-limits for treatment.
Insurance beyond health
A student insurance policy from India, on the other hand, offers much more than just financial protection in unexpected accidents and illnesses.
If you do your homework thoroughly, you will find policies that cover a range of untoward incidents – medical, travel and non-medical – that could strike while you are studying abroad.
With no pre-policy medical check-up required, these plans indemnify medical expenses, in-patient and out-patient care and pre-existing diseases in life threatening medical conditions.
They also come with customized features such as extended cover in the country of residence, repatriation of mortal remains and medical evacuation.
By way of accident insurance, these policies pay out an accidental death benefit or a permanent partial or permanent total benefit, as the case may be.
Appreciating the fact that you are far from home and may encounter some loss of documents or belongings, such policies indemnify loss of passport and loss of checked-in baggage.
New-age features like Loss of Laptop/Tablet are also sometimes bundled into the package.
Another interesting feature is sponsor protection, wherein the insurance company indemnifies the balance fees for regular classroom study for your educational course in the event of the death of your sponsor due to an injury, subject to conditions.
Trip delays, emergency cash advances, cancer screening, treatment of mental or nervous disorders and alcoholism and drug dependency also form part of student policies, naturally, subject to reasonable conditions.
The extent of the far-sightedness of domestic student policies is apparent from the fact that some indemnify the actual additional expenses (e.g., those borne towards accommodation and a common carrier) that you may incur to return to India in case the university in which you study becomes insolvent.
Still more, some student policies even indemnify the legal costs of procuring a bail bond, which is required to be furnished in the event of the arrest or imminent arrest of the insured person by any government or statutory body or authority.
With all these incredulous features, it natural to imagine that these policies will come at a considerable cost. Surprisingly, they don’t.
With all their appealing features that seem to blend together the best of health, accident, travel insurance, child plans and more, these policies are highly economical in comparison to standard policies that are issued by universities abroad.
Now that’s what really qualifies as getting the best coverage for the buck!