How to buy international student health insurance

international student health insurance

As September approaches, students travelling abroad to study need to start considering the health insurance options.

This time of year many students are planning to start university in September. For those travelling abroad to study, health insurance should be researched and bought in advance. Without it students and their families could be left with hefty medical bills.

Non-EU students

For students with a non-EU nationality health insurance is an essential item.

  • Check what the requirements are for the country you are travelling too. Some countries won’t grant you a visa without adequate insurance, for others it isn’t such a vital requirement.
  • If you are travelling on a study abroad programme contact them to see what insurance they have arranged, if any. They should also be able to recommend insurance policies.

  • If you are travelling to the Schengen Area your health insurance will have to meet Schengen criteria.
  • Research the plans available in your country. The best place to start is the company that insures your parents. You may be covered under their policy, though if you are going abroad you need to double check.
  • Once you have found a policy check the small print. Make sure it covers you for all activities you plan to do. Skiing in the Italian Alps for example, if often considered a winter sport and not covered under general policies.

EU students in the EU

If you are studying within the EU and are an EU resident you may not have to buy additional insurance.

  • Check with your insurance at home whether they will cover your costs abroad for the full duration of your studies.
  • Some insurers will only cover you for a limited period abroad. If this isn’t long enough you will have to register for state healthcare in your new country or buy private coverage.
  • If your home health insurance covers you, you need to make sure you have the European Health Insurance Card which will entitle you to treatment from local doctors.

For other areas you will need to check the individual laws on insurance in that country. Some require you to have insurance before you arrive, while others require you to enroll in the state health programme.

For the U.S. each university has its own policy on health insurance. Check with the institution you are going to. For more information on international student health insurance see (aimed at American students).