Be a smart traveler! Insure your study abroad trip. Travel insurance is known to many as “optional”. Ask yourself, is your health and safety optional? Travel insurance should be required for all travelers, especially for students studying abroad. Let us show you why.

How travel insurance works

Here is a breakdown of the top five items travel insurance covers according to Travel Insurance Review:

  1. Cancelled trips
  2. Medical Emergencies
  3. Emergency Evacuations (Read the fine print: Natural Disaster, Civil Unrest, Medical Injury or Illness, Petty Kidnapping)
  4. Lost bags, delayed bags, delayed flights
  5. 24/7 phone assistance worldwide, often with translation support

Travel insurance is an investment, your life is worthy of it. Don’t let annoyances such as a cancelled flight or lost baggage ruin your study abroad plans. Your insurance will help cover the cost for your treatment, or replace lost or stolen items.

Required insurance

Consider this, if you own a car and drive regularly, it is illegal in most states to drive without auto insurance. The consequences of driving without proof of car insurance vary by state. There are hefty fines for drivers who do not follow the law. According to DMV.org penalties include a suspended driver’s license, in addition to a suspended vehicle registration and a traffic ticket.

Similarly, under the Affordable Care Act, you will be charged a fee every year unless you have a health coverage extension. If you don’t have health insurance, you may have to pay full price for your treatment. Can you imagine accruing expenses for healthcare abroad? Illness can occur anywhere, at any time and to anyone. This is why it is critical validate the level of medical insurance while in another country.  Even in socialist countries, quality of care can vary dependent on your ability to pay.

If you are buying a home with a mortgage from the bank, the lender will require homeowner’s insurance. If you choose not to buy coverage on your own, the bank will purchase the coverage for you. Chances are this insurance will be at a higher price.

Some, but not all, organizations offering study abroad programs require proof of travel insurance prior to departure.  Do your homework to ascertain whether or not it is adequate.  Far too many students become ill or injured, and even die without adequate insurance. Parents are often forced to fundraise to repatriate their child’s body home, because they were underinsured.  Some tourists are interred on foreign soil because timely appropriation of funds to pay for expatriation could not be met.  

When disaster strikes abroad, all travelers, and particularly students,  must educate themselves on insurance offerings based on country specific information and risks to health and safety to insure a safe journey and return home.

Why you need it

Getting sick is no joke, especially in a foreign country. You are in a new environment, consuming different foods and exposing your body to germs it is not familiar with. If you get sick abroad, your current health insurance may not be effective, and you may be asked to pay in full prior to seeing a doctor. Travel insurance will help cover for your medical expenses and in the case of an emergency, you can be airlifted to the nearest hospital or even back home. Read the fine print to be sure.  Here are some eye opening findings:

  • Survey results released in 2014 by the US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) found that 1 in 6 Americans, or 17% cancelled their travel plans due to illness and natural disasters.
  • According to the U.S. Department of State it could cost up to $50,000 or more to airlift you back home for medical evaluation and treatment.
  • Some foreign countries may ask for full payment at the time of evaluation and treatment or before discharge.

Every traveler should visit a travel clinic to determine health risks and possible preventions.  Centers for Disease Control also provides destination specific advice. Unfortunately, every year another student falls, becomes ill, gets hurt; is sexually assaulted; and/or dies overseas. Get travel insurance, protect yourself and get involved in spreading the word. 

Arriving in a foreign country is exciting, keep your eyes-open and insurance handy. Insurance provides protection against a possible eventuality. Safe Journey!