Deciding to study overseas is exhilarating. You can hardly wait to meet new people, learn about a different culture and take in all these international institutions have to offer.
For your parents, it tends to be a bit more nerve-wracking. They want to make sure you’re safe and sound. Overseas insurance is one way to ensure peace of mind. A comprehensive policy – or set of policies – ensures that you and your personal possessions are protected should something happen while abroad.
We know securing insurance doesn’t sound as fun as planning out your overseas study adventure or making a bucket list of destinations to visit whilst abroad, but trust us – it’s one of the most important pre-planning tasks standing before you.
In fact, many universities make travel insurance mandatory. In Australia, most international student visas require overseas student health cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of study. According to the Australian government there are only three exceptions to this. If you are a:
- Norwegian student covered by the Norwegian National Insurance Scheme.
- Swedish student covered by Kammarkollegiet.
- Belgian student covered under the Reciprocal Health Care Agreement with Australia.
In this article we’ll cover the why, what and how of both general travel insurance and OSHC in particular. Let’s dive right in.
Section 1: General Travel Insurance
It’s advisable to purchase your travel insurance policy as soon as you’ve put down any money for your trip.
Here at Cohort Go, we provide a portal to help students compare and select different types of health cover – which we’ll get into more later. However, general travel insurance is also something important to keep in mind.
General travel insurance often has some level of medical coverage but is more focused on personal belongings, travel plans and accommodation costs. It’s advisable to purchase your travel insurance policy as soon as you’ve put down any money for your trip. That way, you’ll be protected if something goes wrong.
There are loads of different options when it comes to general travel insurance and your education agent can almost certainly help you find a suitable policy. As a rule of thumb, look for policies that include coverage of these three basic scenarios:
- Lost or stolen possessions: Things get lost, valuables get stolen and if they do, your travel insurance can help towards the cost of replacement.
- Cancellations: If something happens that causes you to cancel your trip or return home early, you can claim back any prepaid fees. Make sure the cancellation cover limit matches the total costs you’re paying for travel.
- 24/7 assistance: Most policies come with access to an emergency helpline that’s available 24-hours a day. This means that no matter what happens, you’ll have someone on hand to help.
Section 2: Overseas Student Health Cover
Forgetting to secure your overseas student health cover is no small mistake. As we mentioned earlier, OSHC is required for international students as a core visa requirement (with a few exceptions).
Standard OSHC policies provide coverage or partial payment when you:
- Visit the hospital (including the care of doctors, surgeons or anaesthetists).
- Schedule a GP or specialist visit.
- Need to purchase prescription medication.
Having OSHC is the difference between a hefty medical bill and a manageable expense. Without health cover, any kind of professional treatment can get expensive fast. It’s not just about saving money either – if something does go wrong, it will give your family at home peace of mind. They’ll know that someone will be there ready to take care of you without the worry of hefty hospital fees.
Section 3: Tips to keep in mind while selecting overseas insurance
Now that we know about general travel insurance and OSHC cover and why they matter, we have a few pointers on what to consider when shopping around for a policy that works for you.
1. Use a comprehensive resources to compare the different types of policies.
Some plans have very low policy limits for medical care which means if you get seriously injured you’ll find yourself facing steep medical bills. Others don’t cover medical evacuation – which could be the difference between you going home for treatment or being stuck in your university’s country.
Take time to compare the various policies on offer and familiarise yourself with the crucial details.
Knowing these details beforehand makes all the difference. Take time to compare the various policies on offer and familiarise yourself with this information, it’s important you understand the details of all available policies before making any commitments.
2. Take into account the types of activities you’ll be doing
You could be bungee jumping in Cairns or hiking through Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. But if you have the chance to do these things will you be covered by your insurance if something goes wrong?
It’s helpful to consider the activities you plan to do and double check your policies still offer coverage. Nearly all travel insurance plans have exclusions and you don’t want to get caught up in one so do your due diligence.
3. Look into risks associated with the region
Germs, viruses and diseases – these are things we’re sure your parents will be worried about as you set off to explore a whole new region. Doing some research before you leave can help protect yourself against potential threats. The same logic applies to understanding local crime rates and political conditions. All of these safety concerns should be well-researched to ensure your safety during your time overseas.
— The Brisbane Report (@Invest_Brisbane) July 5, 2018
Section 4: How can we help?
OSHC Australia, powered by Cohort Go, offers students the ability to compare all Australian government approved providers in one place and buy your policy within minutes.
You will be able to read up on how their policies differ with regards to features and price. We provide all the information you need, so you can be confident you’re making the right decision.
Securing the right overseas student health insurance is perhaps the most important thing to do before you head off on your international adventure. Make sure you’re finding the most suitable selection for your needs. Start comparing now and get a quote online in seconds by clicking the banner below.