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#SmartStudent: Choosing the right insurance while studying in the U.S.

Our #SmartStudent series brings you simple tips that help you ease into life as an international student and be a responsible resident of your host country.
BY Cherryy Chauhan |   24-05-2019

#SmartStudent
Photo Courtesy: King's College, Cambridge, United Kingdom

The U.S. continues to be the top destination for education welcoming over a million foreign students every year. While studying abroad requires planning and management, insurance is often one of the most overlooked aspects of the process. Having insurances that provide you with a financial, medical and logistical coverage can ease a student’s ability to face unexpected challenges in new surroundings. Here are 4 ways to choose the right insurances while studying abroad in the U.S.:

Health Insurance:
Check whether your prospective university offers any insurance plan. While rules differ based on the university, many offer mandatory coverage in the form of health plans. These are contractually included in the total fee for all programs and often have a rigorous waiver process to opt out. Student health insurance will usually be sufficient to cover pre-existing medical conditions and any accidental disease.

If your university doesn’t offer such a plan, you can choose your insurance plan based on costs and benefits. In the U.S. a standard health insurance plan for an adult under the age of  25 starts from as low as $50 per month. Alternatively, students can also buy coverage from an insurer in their own country at low prices and select benefits that cover international medical expenditures.
 

Travel Insurance:
Travel insurance comes in handy in case of serious travel mishaps. Some travel insurances even cover the costs of compassionate visits by a relative flying out from home to support you in the event of emergency medical treatments.

In the U.S., standard travel insurance starts from $93 a year. However, it only makes sense to purchase an annual travel insurance plan if you’ll be travelling out of the country at least thrice a year.  Some key aspects to factor in before purchasing travel insurance include the planned number of visits that you intend to take to your home country, any other foreign country or within the host country, whether or not you’d require sponsor protection and study interruption protection. 
 

Contents Insurance:
A student can also consider insuring their personal belongings and possessions. In most western countries, especially the U.S, the concept of insuring smartphones, tablets, laptops and other important gadgets is commonplace. a contents insurance policy is the best way to

prevent the shelling out of hundreds of dollars in case of theft or accidental damage.

For example, a mobile phone insurance plan in the U.S can start from as low as $5 per month. Most manufacturers nowadays offer insurance right at the time the gadget is purchased. If the gadget is already covered under your parent’s or your own insurance, just check with the insurer about the validity of the insurance at your university location.
 

Renters Insurance:
If a student is living off-campus, chances are they will be renting accommodation on their own. In these cases,  it is useful to check whether your landlord/landlady already have some kind of insurance. Most homeowners in the U.S. have a comprehensive renters insurance that covers the loss or damage of personal goods, liability and any other medical costs that are incurred by someone in the home, and they require alternative accommodation.

If they do, you’re most likely to be covered under that and if they don’t you can go for your own renter's insurance. Renter’s insurance in the U.S. starts from as low as $15 per month. It’s recommended that you go for renter’s insurance only if you have many prized possessions at home which can’t be covered in the contents insurance policy. Otherwise, just keep a check on your home inventory and you’ll be sorted.

While health insurance might be imperative for securing visa, purchasing renters, contents and travel insurance are up to the student’s discretion. It is advisable to read through the terms and conditions of policies before signing up for anything.



Related Links:
How inclusive is healthcare for international students across the world?
#SmartStudent: 4 tips for finding great housing as an international student
#SmartStudent: 5 tips on driving safely when you're studying abroad
#SmartStudent: How to live in a foreign city
#SmartStudent: How to be a good roommate
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