Student travel insurance

What could be better for broadening the mind than combining travel with studying? But before you jet off, make sure you get the right student travel insurance. Here’s what you need to know…

What could be better for broadening the mind than combining travel with studying? But before you jet off, make sure you get the right student travel insurance. Here’s what you need to know…

Kate Hughes
Insurance expert
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Last Updated 1 JULY 2022

Why do I need travel insurance when studying abroad?

If you’re heading overseas to study, it’s a good idea to have insurance in place in case anything goes wrong. Student travel insurance can cover the cost of medical treatment if you fall ill or have an accident. And it will typically cover lost, stolen and damaged baggage and other travel-related problems, such as delayed flights and booking cancellations.

But there’s no one-size-fits-all student travel insurance policy. How long you’ll be away for, where you’re going and what you’ll be doing will all have an impact on the type of cover you need.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean any claim you make is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

What type of cover do I need?

Picking the right student travel insurance policy for your individual needs is all about matching it to the specifics of your itinerary, as well as your study or work placement requirements.

Here are some common types of travel insurance cover that may be compatible with working, training or studying abroad:

  • Single trip covers you for one trip (for single or multiple destinations). Cover starts when you leave your home in the UK and ends when you get back. There’s a maximum amount of time that you can be away for on one trip for – usually 31 days - but you may be able to travel for as long as a year under a student travel policy.
  • Annual cover is also known as a multi-trip policy. It typically covers you for a year from your selected start date. You can travel multiple times during the term of your multi-trip policy, to destinations in the region covered by that policy.
  • Backpacker or extended trip insurance offers cover for a longer single trip, usually spreading across many months and visiting several countries along the way. It’s a great choice if you’re heading abroad for your gap year.
  • Volunteer travel insurance is tailored to give you the protection you need when volunteering abroad.
  • Sports travel cover can normally be added to travel insurance policies to cover adventurous and potentially risky sports, such as horse-riding and scuba diving.
  • Extreme sports travel insurance is perfect for adrenaline junkies. Insurance providers have different classifications for which sports are classed as extreme, so always read the policy carefully. 
  • Winter sports travel insurance is a necessity if you’ll be hitting the slopes while you’re away.

If you’re travelling with other people, you can also find joint travel insurance (also called couples cover) and group travel insurance policies that will cover you as a student.

What does student travel insurance cover?

Typically, student travel insurance will cover:

  • Emergency medical treatment – if you fall ill or get injured while you’re away. If you’re travelling to the EU or Switzerland, a valid GHIC or EHIC that’s still in date entitles you to medical treatment on the same basis as residents of that country. A GHIC has limitations, though, and won’t cover repatriation if you need to come back to the UK, so it’s not a substitute for a good travel insurance policy.

What isn’t covered by student travel insurance?

There are some common exclusions to look out for:

  • Paid work – if you’ll be working while you’re away, you’ll need to notify your travel insurance provider. They may not cover work that’s considered risky (such as manual labour), or you may need to add on extra cover to make sure you’re protected.
  • Existing medical conditions that you haven’t declared. You’ll need to tell your insurance provider about any medical conditions; they may choose not to cover them or to charge you more for cover.
  • Claims related to accidents or incidents that took place while you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Incidents caused by your carelessness - for example, leaving your bag attended.
  • Travel to a destination if the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCDO) has issued a warning advising against travel to that country or region.

Where can I compare student travel insurance?

Compare policies with our travel insurance comparison service.

Frequently asked questions

Can I travel anywhere with student travel insurance?

Overseas travel insurance typically fits into one of three destination categories:

  • Europe
  • Worldwide (excluding the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico)
  • Worldwide (including the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico).

Surprisingly, you may find that some providers include Europe-adjacent countries like Morocco and Tunisia within European travel insurance. Less surprisingly, travel insurance for the USA is normally more expensive because of the potential for higher medical costs.

What do I need to know to compare student travel insurance?

To compare student travel insurance with us, we’ll need to know some details about you and your trip, including:

  • The type of cover you’re looking for – a single trip, annual or long stay
  • Where you’re travelling to
  • The length of your trip
  • How much cover you need for medical costs, trip cancellation and baggage
  • The amount of excess you’re willing to pay towards a claim.

Is travel insurance a legal requirement for studying or working abroad?

Student travel insurance isn’t usually required by law, but it’s definitely a good idea. That said, some countries have made travel insurance a condition of entry since the Covid pandemic, so check any requirements for the places you’re visiting before you set off.

Travel insurance may also be required by an institution you’re studying at, as a condition of the placement.

Can students get a discount on travel insurance?

Some insurance providers who specialise in covering students may offer a discount. You’ll need to be a registered student and, depending on the policy, there may be age limits.

To find the best travel insurance deal, it’s a good idea to compare all your options to make sure you get the cover you need.

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