Many students ask whether they should buy travel insurance for their program, wondering if it is worth the cost. While we cannot answer this question for you, we have provided some basic information below to help you weigh your options.
Do I need travel insurance?
Travel insurance is insurance coverage for risks associated with travel, before or during your trip.
Travel insurance usually covers items such as:
- Trip cancellation or interruption
- Missed connection
- Lost or stolen luggage
- Document recovery (i.e. passport, visa, etc.)
- OIO will automatically enroll you in an international health insurance plan for the duration of your program.
- You will have health insurance coverage and so will not need travel insurance that includes health coverage for the program.
- If you plan to travel before or after the program, the health insurance you are enrolled in by OIO will not cover the additional time. The health insurance only covers the time the program is actually running. In other words, you will NOT have insurance coverage if you get sick or hurt prior to or following the program dates, unless you purchase travelers' insurance that does include health coverage.
- You may have travel insurance through your credit card or other insurance policies.
- If you are planning to pay for any of your travel expenses with a credit card, check to see if the card has travel insurance benefits. Often, the insurance only applies to the parts of your trip paid for with the card, but it is worth reading the fine print to know if this is enough coverage.
- Review your insurance policies. Occasionally, renters or homeowners insurance policies overlap with travel insurance coverage. You may find the camera or laptop you are nervous to bring abroad are covered under your renters insurance, so you don’t need to insure it with travelers insurance after all!
- For most programs, transportation to and from the program location is not included as a part of the program (check the program site to see if transportation is included!).
- OIO will provide you with tips and guidance on arranging flights and getting to/from your program, but cannot fill the role of travel agencies or travel insurance providers should any complications arise with your flights, buses, etc.
- In the event of travel complications (ex: flight is cancelled, delayed, airline on strike, etc.), it is your responsibility to troubleshoot these events and their repercussions, ensuring you still arrive to the program on time. Familiarize yourself with your airline/train/bus company’s policies on travel interruptions like delays and cancellations so you are ready to act if these events occur.
- Are you prepared if something goes unexpected happens? Example: lost luggage, missed flights, stolen phone, etc.
- Travelers' insurance is one way to prepare for the unexpected.
- Some additional ways you may want to prepare:
- leave expensive items at home so you don't have to worry about the cost of replacing them, should something happen
- book longer lay overs
- purchase refundable/changeable flights
- OIO encourages all students to prepare in advance for the possibility of the unexpected happening during their travels, however how you prepare is up to you.
- Do some research before signing up for a policy so that you know what the risks are, understand what will be covered with your policy, and how much it will cost.
- Look for language in the policy such as “cancel for any reason.” The last thing you want is to pay for travel insurance, have your trip canceled, and then not covered due to strict cancellation guidelines.
- Read the policy carefully and pay attention to the words used. If an item goes missing, the policy may label this as a "mysterious disappearance" which it may or may not cover as some plans only cover items that are taken through "violent theft," which is quite different.
- Shop around. See what different companies offer in their plans and how much they charge. Ask about student discounts! Read reviews from people who have purchased and had to use the insurance.
- The sooner you purchase travelers' insurance the better. Some travelers' insurance must be purchased within a week of your flight, so if you are planning to get travelers' insurance, do not put it off.