Explore Travel Insurance

When you’re a student, squeezing the most out of every cent is crucial, especially when saving for holidays.

Let’s explore travel insurance for students and how when things go wrong, even on the most well-planned trips, paying a little extra now may ensure peace of mind knowing that you still have money left over when you return home.

Do I need student travel insurance?

There’s no specific product called ‘student travel insurance’, but that doesn’t mean you still shouldn’t consider taking out a policy for your trip. The decision to purchase travel insurance is entirely up to you and your circumstances, but we believe most travellers could benefit from travel insurance. Here are a few reasons why travel insurance for students might be a good idea.

Travel insurance isn’t as expensive as you think

Travel insurance for short trips can cost less than dinner at a restaurant, while longer overseas trips can cost not a lot more than that (depending on how many people you cover). That’s outstanding value when you consider that:

  • Medical expenses and emergency assistance overseas can cost thousands if not tens of thousands of dollars
  • Repatriation and transporting you home when you’re injured can cost just as much
  • The average student probably doesn’t have that much in their bank account!

It covers the activities you want to take part in

One of the best things about travelling is participating in activities you wouldn’t normally try at home, like riding a horse on the beach in Spain or cycling around San Francisco Bay. While standard travel insurance doesn’t cover every activity, you can get cover for things like skiing, bungy jumping, hiking and more as add-ons or optional extras (although sometimes adventure sports cost an additional premium to cover).

Reimbursement for additional accommodation and travel expenses

Say your passport is stolen and you miss your flight to Bali or bad weather forces you to stay another night. Travel insurance can cover the cost of alternate transport or unforeseen accommodation expenses to ensure you don’t miss out on your big plans!

Your medical bills

Many of us have heard nightmare stories about travellers heading overseas without insurance, getting injured or sick and then being forced to pay thousands of dollars for medical treatment.

It bears repeating: if the country you’re travelling to doesn’t have a Reciprocal Health Care Agreement (RHCA) with ours (where Australians can access subsidised treatment overseas similar to Medicare), international travel insurance with overseas medical cover could be worth looking into. Even if you travel to an RHCA country, considering travel insurance might still be a good idea as RHCAs often have minimal cover.

It’s worth noting that domestic travel insurance doesn’t cover medical expenses; if you’re travelling around Australia, your medical bills will be covered by Medicare or your private health insurance.

Cover for lost or stolen luggage

While your items may be difficult to recover if stolen or lost, your insurance policy could replace these or pay out the value of your belongings in cash. Your travel documents should always be kept safe but, should you lose your passport, student travel insurance may help you recoup the additional expenses for this loss.

Please note that the extent of your coverage and eligibility for claims will vary from policy to policy. Always read the full details for your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for any policy wording you may be unclear on and to find out exactly what you’re covered for.

Along with the cost of your flights, accommodation, food and activities, insurance is a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Group of friends comparing student travel insurance

What can my student travel insurance policy include?

Here are a few things your student travel insurance policy can include:

  • Emergency medical and hospital expenses. As we mentioned earlier, getting sick or injured overseas can cost you thousands of dollars. Travel insurance could help you pay for your medical bills, repatriation or medical evacuation, so you can focus on recovering rather than worrying about money.
  • Cancellations, delays and amendments. Travel insurance may cover the costs and fees associated with cancellations and delays, as well as reimburse you for accommodation expenses should you need to extend your stay because of such an event.
  • Lost, stolen or damaged luggage and belongings. It’s a nightmare scenario, but travel insurance can help ease the financial pain of lost possessions like passports, laptops and luggage by covering part of or the whole value of replacing these items.

N.B.: Be mindful that not every policy can cover you in all these circumstances. Comprehensive travel insurance is usually recommended as your highest level of cover. Be sure to read your PDS to know exactly what you’re covered for.

Student travel insurance: Exclusions to watch out for

Travel insurance can’t cover everything, so it’s important to read your policy’s PDS to understand its exclusions. Specific exclusions may vary between policies and insurers, but here are a few common ones to look out for:

  • Intoxication. If you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol when you were injured, your insurer might not accept your claim, even if the incident wasn’t your fault.
  • Unattended luggage. Your travel insurance policy might not cover your luggage if it was left unguarded when it was stolen.
  • Travelling against advice and warnings. The Australian Government issues travel warnings for countries through the Smartraveller Some insurers may not cover travel to countries with certain warnings. It’s a good idea to regularly check your destination on Smartraveller for any change in warning level.
  • Failure to wear headgear. If you weren’t wearing the proper headgear (e.g. a helmet when riding a scooter or while bungee jumping or motorcycling) at the time of your injury, your insurer may not accept your claim.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. Such medical conditions may be excluded from cover in many policies, but some insurers do offer insurance for a range of medical issues. Just make sure you inform your insurer of any pre-existing conditions when you take out cover.

Stephen Zeller, General Manager

Top travel tips for students from Stephen Zeller, General Manager of General Insurance at Compare the Market

Consider student travel insurance when you book your trip

That way, if you must cancel your flights at the very last minute (e.g. if you get sick), you could recover some of your money (if your policy includes this kind of cover). By comparison, you won’t be covered for such an incident if you take out travel insurance after your circumstances change and you’re unable to travel.

Be aware of international age restrictions on alcohol

If you’re gearing up to party on your big trip overseas, you need to check the legal drinking age of the country you’ll be visiting. For instance, we probably all know that the drinking age in the USA is 21, but what’s the drinking age in Thailand, Germany or Japan, for example? The Australian Government is limited in what they can do to help you out of legal trouble, so it’s important to know what the international drinking ages are, just in case.

Also, if you have consumed an intoxicating substance such as alcohol and something goes wrong, this could void your travel insurance.

If you’re travelling in a group, consider taking out a group travel insurance policy

If you’re organising a trip for a group of students who are perhaps on a gap year or student exchange, they will all likely need the same level of cover. Luckily, you can take out group travel insurance that will cover the entire party of travellers (exclusions permitting).

So, why do this?

  • Grouptravel insurance policies can be cheaper than individual policies because if everyone in your party looks out for one another, there’s less risk of having to make an insurance claim. As such, insurers may offer competitive rates to insure entire parties.
  • Everyone gets the samelevel of cover, which means everyone knows what activities they can and cannot take part in.
  • Buying just one policy to cover all group members can be much simpler than purchasing separate policies for each traveller.

Don’t be afraid of the cost of insurance

The cost for travel insurance varies based on how much coverage you want, and most travel insurers offer various cover options to choose from. This allows you to match your cover to the type of holiday you are on.

For example, if you want to do some more risky activities like skiing or snorkelling, you may have to pay a little extra for your policy. Your age, where you’re travelling to, how long you are staying, when you’re travelling and whether you need cover for pre-existing medical conditions influence the policy price.  So, if you could find a better price by comparing different insurers against each other, why not give it a try?

Get student travel insurance quotes and find cover today!

If you’re a student getting ready to set sail for a big adventure, why not consider travel insurance? Our free online comparison tool makes it easy. Simply enter your details and get numerous quotes in seconds!

If you’re travelling with several friends or in a large group, check out group travel insurance policies.

Ready to look for a better deal? It’s easy to compare with us.

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