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Student Travel

Cheap student travel insurance

It's crazy how many students go abroad without travel insurance. For less than a tenner, you can relax on your holiday knowing you're fully covered!

stranded on holiday

Nobody likes thinking about worst case scenarios when getting excited about their holidays.

But if you can spare a moment between daydreaming about sun, sea, sand and sangria after months of sloggin' it hard in the library, we'd seriously advise spending a small amount of cash on a travel insurance policy to cover yourself in case something goes wrong.

You might think you're young, fit and pretty much invincible, but travel insurance is also there to cover you for reasons that are totally out of your control, too. What will you do if your flight is cancelled or your travel company goes bust?

The good news is, if you do your research, and are smart about which policy you choose and where you buy it from, it doesn't have to cost much more than the price of two pints!

We know there's a lot of information out there, so we promise to hold your hand through it all until you find the deal that's best for you! Read on to find out everything you need to know before making your decision.

Still in the planning stages of your trip? Check out our insider tricks for bagging the cheapest flights available for your holiday!

Do you really need travel insurance?

holiday insurance

Credit: Warner Bros

The short answer to this is YES. Most holidays go swimmingly, but if something does go wrong while you're outside of the UK, you can end up with a serious bill to deal with that could be avoided with just one small payment before you set off. It's a no-brainer, really!

For example, if you break your leg in Japan, you could be looking at £20,000 just to get it fixed up while you're out there.

The US and Australia also have notoriously expensive healthcare, so if you're unlucky enough to fall out of a hammock and break your neck when chilling in Surfer's Paradise, you'll be in a serious pickle without a policy that fully covers you.

Without travel insurance, even the most minor of accidents can end up costing you a small fortune. We can also guarantee that if you get something nicked while you're on your hols, you'll be kicking yourself for not having the foresight to insure yourself before you left.

So for that extra peace of mind while you're away, it's well worth investing a little bit of cash into travel insurance!

What about the the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)?

As a UK citizen, you're lucky enough to be entitled to a European Health Insurance Card, which will give you basic healthcare at a reduced cost when visiting any countries within the European Economic Area.

These cards are also free – you just need to submit an online application. Make sure you only apply via this official website, as some scam sites are trying to charge for applications.

Though the card is really handy, having one in your wallet doesn't mean you no longer need insurance – the EHIC won't cover you for anything other than basic medical treatment.

Therefore, if you need to rearrange your travel plans as the result of an accident, you'll be on your own in terms of covering that cost.

What will travel insurance cover?

health insurance hospital fees

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Travel insurance policies can cover you for all sorts of things – each one is different, so make sure that you always read the fine print and know exactly what your policy includes before agreeing to anything.

If you're planning on getting involved in some sports or adventure activities while you're away, you'll need a policy that explicitly states that you're covered if you have an accident as a result.

It might cost a few more quid, but there's no point in buying a cheaper insurance policy that won't pay out.

We would recommend that you go for a policy that covers at least the following:

  • Medical cover of at least £2 million – This might sound like a lot, but when you consider that an overnight stay in a US hospital costs almost $4,287 (we love you, NHS!), you'll understand that this sort of coverage is pretty crucial
  • Personal liability cover of £1 million – This is basically the amount you'll be covered for if you cause injury to someone else or damage someone else's property. So, if you plan on letting loose on a quad bike when holidaying in Turkey, this will save you from having to fork out for damages when you crash into the side of some poor person's garden shed (Disclaimer: Save the Student does not condone dangerous driving in any form!)
  • Around £3,000 in cancellation cover – If your flight is cancelled or you miss a connecting flight due to delays, this will have you covered. If the airline your flight is booked with goes bust, this will be instantly refundable provided you paid by credit card. So make sure you use a credit rather than debit card when booking your flights!
  • £1,500 in case of loss of baggage – If you're convinced that your Primarni clothes probably aren't worth this much, then you could go for a policy that offers a bit less
  • £250 in case of loss of cash – It's hard to find a policy that will dish out much more than this amount when it comes to loss of cash, essentially because carrying large wads of cash around with you isn't very smart. Grab yourself a decent credit card or debit card that doesn't impose charges on international withdrawals, so you can dip in as many times as you need to.

Any policies offering less than this aren't really advised, and bear in mind that shelling out just an extra couple of quid on your policy could save you thousands if the worst case scenario is to occur.

Also, don't forget to check the excess! Your excess is the amount that you agree to pay up front in the case of an emergency, which will then be topped up by your provider. The lower the excess, the more you'll pay for the policy itself, and vice versa – you can save a bit on your policy if you agree to pay more in excess.

It's a good idea to check what your home insurance policy covers as well - it might cover your gadgets, for example!

What doesn't travel insurance cover?

travel insurance coverage

Credit: Warner Bros

There are a few details worth knowing about travel insurance before you commit to any one policy.

Although insurers are there to reassure you that you'll be financially covered if something goes wrong, you can't be seeing this as a green light to do whatever you want on holiday and lose all sense of responsibility!

Here are a few things that insurance companies will be quite strict about:

  • Most policies won't cover you if you've been drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs. If you're planning to do a lot of partying while you're away, you'll need to take extra care. If you injure yourself whilst drunk, medical staff will have to disclose this in your hospital records, and this could prevent you from being able to make a claim for medical costs
  • Existing health conditions can seriously affect whether your insurance provider will pay out or not, so if you do have any, make sure that you declare them when you're buying your insurance. Honesty goes a long way in this game!
  • If your items are stolen from an unattended vehicle, you leave your bag on the beach or in the overhead compartment on a train, you won't be covered
  • If you wait around and don't report your situation quick enough (usually within 24 hours) it may void the claim, so stop your sunbathing routine for two minutes and make that call!
  • If you contract a tropical disease that you should've been vaccinated for before arriving, this could prevent you from be able to claim – do your research!
  • If you have an accident as a result of not taking a relevant safety precaution like wearing your seatbelt or a helmet, this could also void your claim. Break your neck falling out of a hammock, however, and you're fully covered!
  • If you've chosen to travel to an area that British FCO advise against, your insurance policy won't be valid. If this is your situation, check out this specialist insurance company (although as you might expect, policies will be a lot more expensive for these regions).

It's also worth noting that driving abroad isn't normally covered by travel insurance (although sometimes it can be so it's worth checking out).

If you do plan to drive when on holiday, you might be able to get cover through your car insurance provider. Try checking with them first!

How to make a travel insurance claim

change mind lifetime ISA

Credit: Nickelodeon

Most insurance companies offer a 24-hour hotline, and this is because it's normally required that you file your claim within 24 hours.

So, if you need to report something, call them as soon as possible. Make sure that you keep the telephone number handy, just in case you do need it!

Before you call them, make sure you think carefully about the situation and write down the specifics so you can provide any details they ask for.

If you're reporting a theft, you'll have to provide them with the details of what happened and a crime reference number from the local police department, so make sure you report it to the authorities beforehand.

Another thing the insurers might ask for is photographic evidence that you owned the stolen item(s). Therefore, it's a good idea to lay out everything of value on your bed before you leave and take a photo of it all. You can then send this to the insurers as proof of ownership when filing your claim.

If you're sick, some insurers will arrange to pay the hospital directly if you need treatment, but do clarify the procedure before paying for your policy.

If you pay for something that you expect to be refunded by the insurance company at a later date, for example emergency accommodation if your flight is cancelled, make sure you keep all receipts so you can prove exactly how much everything came to.

Which type of travel insurance policy to go for

packing for interrailing

When you're choosing a policy, you'll first be faced with two main options – single trip or multi-trip/ annual cover.

As you might've guessed, single cover will insure you for just one trip (normally up to around 31 days), whereas annual will cover every holiday you take over the next year.

Price-wise, if you plan to go abroad more than once in the year, it'll probably be worth taking out annual cover. It's often around the same price as two single-trip policies will cost you anyway.

If you're planning a longer trip such as a backpacking holiday or a gap year, you'll need to take annual. There are often special policies specifically for trips such as these, so keep your eyes peeled!

Where to buy travel insurance

As much as we'd love to tell you which travel insurance policies are the best, it really does depend on what kind of trip you're going on.

Prices will vary depending on whether you need gadget cover or you're going skiing for example, so your best bet is heading across to a comparison site to scout out the best deals.

There are are loads out there, but some good places to start are Money Supermarket, Compare the Market and Go Compare.

They'll allow you to filter results by certain requirements you have. For example, if you want medical cover of at least £2 million, you can make sure you're only seeing policies which will provide that.

What is the Defaqto Rating?

You'll notice that each policy is displayed next to a Defaqto star rating - ranging from one to five.

This rating basically indicates how comprehensive the cover is - a five-star policy will cover lots more than one-star. However, bear in mind that you might not need those extra add ons, especially if you're just heading off on a quick weekend break.

The Defaqto rating is a useful indication of how extensive a policy is, but not necessarily whether it's the right one for you.

An added bonus is that if you use Compare the Market, even for one single trip policy, you'll be given 2-4-1 cinema tickets for an entire year

Student travel insurance

Comparison tools are normally the quickest route to the cheapest deals, but there are some insurance providers out there tailored specifically for students, which might offer more suitable coverage or a discount.

  1. STA Travel

    STA TravelAs one of the biggest names in student travel, it makes sense that STA Travel offer some great deals for students.

    They offer budget, standard and premier policies, and cover starts at just 37p per day for single trip, and as little as 22p per day for annual cover.

    There's also the option to add cancellation cover in the event that you need to re-sit your exams instead of going away.

    You can also get coverage for studying abroad, working holidays (like farming and ski seasons), and volunteering.

    Find out more »

  2. Endsleigh

    Endsleigh trevl insuranceEndsleigh are the biggest name in student insurance as they specialise in providing affordable policies for young people - plus, they're the only insurance provider recommended by the NUS.

    For this reason, they specialise in gap year and study abroad insurance, so if you're planning an extended trip, they're a good option to check out.

    The best perk? You'll get a sweet 15-20% discount with a TOTUM/NUS Extra card.

    Find out more »

Want to really make the most of that annual cover? We spoke to a girl who went on 10 holidays in one year for absolutely bargain prices.

Have we missed anything you want answers to regarding travel insurance? Give us a shout in the comments below, and we'll do our best to help!


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