It’s essential you give travel insurance serious consideration; be it to insure your personal belongings, cover yourself for personal liability, or to ensure you can get the right medical help if something were to happen to you, amongst a list of many other scenarios that are all too common for student travellers. Some universities may offer a form of free insurance, yet most do not cover you for working abroad or personal liability. Make sure you know the score and check your insurance policy boasts at least all of the following benefits, should the situation arise:
Travel cancellations (Cancellation cover)
You’ve booked your train ticket via the Heathrow Express, about to set off for your year abroad. Everything’s packed, you’ve remembered to take your passport (hooray!) and your reference number for your flight is in your wallet. Mum and Dad drop you off at the train station and wave you off; only problem is the train is cancelled.. Before you know it, you’re frantically going up escalators at the airport, trying to make it to the check-in desk on time. You missed your flight, by about 10 minutes. Swear words and the sense of dread are bubbling at the surface. Check whether your insurance policy includes cancellation cover, as you could end up forking out thousands of pounds to make a flight...
Health (Emergency Medical cover)
You’ve been eyeing up that food stand for a while now - there’s always a bunch of people tucking into its tempting fast food yet you can’t bring yourself to eating anything from there, due to the poor hygiene. Yet one fine day, ravenous and tired, you take a seat and order up the house speciality. Besotted with your choice, you savour every mouthful, wondering why you never came here before! Walking home, you don’t feel so good. You get home and you make a quick dash for the bathroom. And repeat for the next 5 hours. You eventually manage to get the phone number of a local hospital, explaining your ills. It’s private, though. It’s going to cost loads, and you can’t really afford it as you’ve blown your student loan... Check whether your insurance policy covers you for all medical costs, from GPs to flying out members of your family, in case something goes seriously wrong.
Money/Passport (Personal Possessions cover)
You’re travelling around South America with your year abroad roommate, relishing the fact exams are over and your mates back home are going to be dead jealous of your future travelling tales. You’re taking photos all round town and after visiting about 3 different museums, you both decide to have a beer and a natter. A little boy selling sweets comes up, trying to get you to spend a couple of pesos on some Wriglets. You smile and say “no thank you”. A little while later, you ask for the bill. You try and catch hold of your bag. It isn’t there. You frantically look round, but the little boy has gone, with your handbag in tow. Check whether you’re covered for cash, cards, passports and any valuables you’re taking with you on your year abroad.
Sports (Personal Accident cover)
Living so close to the Alps, you’re looking forward to a trip to the slopes. Your friends are a little more experienced and egg you onto more dangerous territory. Adrenaline pumping, you set off, glad you’ve taken the plunge. A woman’s in the way, it’s too late to swerve, you crash into her. You’re both ok, yet your ankle feels funny. You take your skis and boot off, and it’s looking pretty nasty... Check whether you’re covered for sports on your insurance policy - an accident can easily occur, either personal or with a stranger.