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What are student insurance plans?

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These are meant for students travelling abroad for further studies. Universities abroad mandate that a student must be insured. While some universities (like in and New Zealand) include insurance charges in the tuition fee, others (like in UK and US) accept insurance bought in the home country. The latter, however, must approve the coverage amount. Companies like Tata AIG General Insurance, and offer insurance, mostly for those between 16 and 35 years of age. Policies offered by the latter are accepted in US universities. Student plans either cover or do not cover the Americas.

What is covered?
These plans are like a global travel policy. The policy provides accidental death or dismemberment coverage ($10,000 to $50,000) and medical coverage ($50,000 to $250,000, at times even $500,000), depending on the plan. Coverage of dental expenses may be included.

Mostly, universities, too, provide coverage for these. Some plans may provide additional coverage for treatment of mental and nervous disorders, including alcoholism and drug abuse. Or, travel-related aspects like baggage and/or passport loss. These policies also cover study interruption (due to ill health, the insurer will reimburse the tuition fee paid for the semester), sponsor protection (if guardian dies, the insurer will pay fees, up to the specified limit), compassionate visit (if you get hospitalised for more than seven days, the insurer pays for return airfare for one parent to visit you and vice versa).

Should you buy?
Consultants recommend purchase due to the price differential between the policy provided by the universities and the Indian insurance policies, as also the extra benefits. For a sum assured of $100,000 and upwards, a two-year insurance cover from the university costs $600-800 a year. Indian insurance will be between Rs 7,000 and Rs 19,000.

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