Which policy's right for me? Student insurance case studies
When booking your insurance, you should have a rough idea of where you’re going and what you’re planning on doing - whether you’re working, studying or volunteering, or even combining some or all of these activities. Watch out for backpacker insurance, as backpacking is very different from a year abroad.
Some insurers try to sell insurance in bundles - whether you’re working or studying or doing both, and some of these can have a premium rate attached. Sally Riordan, now a Modern Language graduate, had to pick two insurance policies for her year abroad:
“I was working for my first half in Paris and had then planned on doing the same in Buenos Aires, from February till June, with a bit of extra time to go travelling afterwards. My insurers told me I would have to take out two policies, which ended up being more expensive than taking out worldwide cover, for the whole year. I didn’t really know what was on offer at the time and I wanted my valuables covered - though I never had more than £1,500 worth of stuff on me.”
Sally’s account is more common than you’d expect - a lot of students, and even parents, get baffled by hundreds of policies and differentiating prices on the market. She did have the advantage of knowing how long she wanted a policy for, though. Some other students didn’t really plan on spending that much time abroad, only to have to reject a last-minute trip as their policy didn’t stretch out that far.
“I went to Tuscany for my year abroad,” says Mark Keele, “and I hadn’t banked on wanting to stay out longer than my year abroad. Some guys on the course decided we should go South for a week or so, for a sporty break to end my time out there. Only glitch was that I wasn’t covered, as my insurers told me I’d only booked something till the end of my course...”
If you have time constraints with your university or life back home, leaving for a sole semester or having to return for another affair, you can judge the length of your policy more accurately than others. However, getting ‘caught out’ like Mark isn’t much fun, and might cut your year abroad short or have you booking yet another policy, to cover you for your extra weeks out there. You should also note that some policies require the person to be covered to be at home when they take their policy out - so you might end up having to come back anyway!
To cut your losses on matters of insurance stress, most students are better off picking a policy that slightly overlaps the time they initially plan on spending abroad - it’s better to be safe than sorry to come back home. So, in short, if you’re planning on spending a semester out there, you might want to look into covering more than 3 months and so on. Another point to consider is whether it is possible for you to extend your policy once you’re already abroad - check before buying your insurance, just in case.
Our insurance-related articles are in partnership with our friends over at YearAbroadInsurance.com!