Planning for an overseas education requires more than the right blend of saving and investing, you must not ignore the most appropriate travel insurance. Many countries have a mandatory requirement for the student to be covered for medical expenses. In some cases, like in the UK, the student may be covered under the health system. Whatever the situation, it makes sense to have an alternate policy with full coverage for the student going abroad.
Why does it matter?
Overseas medical costs are disproportionately higher than what you pay in India for health care services. For example, doctor fees in the US can be anywhere between $150- $200 for an initial consultation. This comes to roughly Rs 10,000- Rs 15,000. Emergency visits to the hospital can set you back by Rs 20,000-Rs 30,000 and if you require an ambulance it can be double of that or more. Clearly, cost for surgeries can go into lakhs. While one can be careful, accidents are hard to predict and even frequent illnesses can rake up a substantial hospital bill.
To safeguard from these excessive expenses when on a student budget, one must consider the appropriate insurance. Without insurance all the planning, saving, and investments done towards this goal can get rattled by just one medical emergency.
Such a comprehensive cover, say for a two-year period can have a premium of around Rs 70,000 per annum for a sum assured of $ 250,000. This will still be much cheaper than what you pay overseas as premium.
How can you manage it?
There are two options, taking an insurance overseas or taking one in India itself to cover costs overseas. Some overseas universities are known to insist on an insurance policy from their own approved provider, in which case there isn’t much of a choice. Otherwise, a policy taken from Indian insurers is more suitable. Not only will the premiums be lower but also these policies go a step further to cover matters like loss of documents, study interruption, reimbursement of tuition in case of death of sponsor, risks like nervous disorders and even addiction related coverage.
Such a comprehensive cover, say for a two-year period can have a premium of around Rs 70,000 per annum for a sum assured of $ 250,000. This will still be much cheaper than what you pay overseas as premium. However, keep in mind that you have to pencil in some amount in your overseas education budget as cost for medical emergencies. You may have to pay some amount upfront before you get reimbursement from the insurance.
Having the right medical and travel insurance before going overseas to study can save a lot of unexpected expenses which can go suitably out of budget in case an emergency occurs. It’s better to be prepared than to regret not having enough funds.