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What kinds of insurance do you need to study abroad in the US?

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Fallen ill? Smashed your phone? Airline lost your luggage? Here's how to prevent any problems. Source: Shutterstock.

Want to study in the US? You’ll need some insurance.

This probably doesn’t come as news to you – in most countries, you’ll need various different types of insurance to study abroad – but you might not know exactly what you need, how to get it or how much it’s going to cost you.

In short: you will definitely need health insurance, and it would be advisable to get travel insurance as well. You should also consider getting contents insurance to protect your belongings against accidental damage or theft.

Stuck with what to get? We have the answers…

Travel insurance

You will need travel insurance to see you through the first few weeks of being in your new country. You’ll want cover for your trip to and from the US to help you, should your flight be canceled or seriously delayed, your luggage lost or any other travel mishaps.

Imagine the excitement as you first catch a glimpse of the US from the plane. Source: GIPHY.

You can get single-trip travel insurance or pay for a year to cover you for any trips you might make while you’re away or during the summer. Always be sure to double check what the policy covers – even if it means reading all the boring Ts & Cs!

You might want to get a plan which covers your medical insurance while you’re in the air and for your first few weeks on American soil, as you may have to wait for your health insurance plan to be sorted.

Travel insurance plans can vary in cost and what they will cover you for, so be sure to shop around to find one which fits your budget and needs.

Bear in mind the cheapest travel insurance policies typically come with the highest excesses (the amount you must pay if you need to make a claim). If the policy is offering you an excess of over US$100, you might not be going with the best company as this is quite expensive. Often, good insurers also give you the option to waive the excess entirely.

Health insurance

Your university could have a mandatory health insurance plan which you will be required to sign up to and pay for. But, never fear, this means the university may also offer waivers on the payment, so you might not have to pay the full cost if you can’t afford it.

Some institutions, however, will allow you to pick your own health insurance plan, which means you can choose one which best fits your needs and budget.

If you do not declare any pre-existing medical conditions, your insurance could be void so make sure you fill out any forms in full. You could be surprised to discover many common conditions such as allergies could be covered at no extra cost – just remember to declare it before anything goes wrong!

Don’t wait until you get sick to sort your health insurance. Source: GIPHY.

You can expect to pay around US$50 a month for standard health insurance if you are under the age of 25 but this can rise dramatically as you get older, ranging to around US$300 by the time you are 40.

It is also worth checking whether dental care is covered in your health insurance – and, if not, consider getting dental insurance, too. Dental pain is a real pain in the… mouth, and the last thing you want when your mouth is in agony is to be hunting around for the nearest dentist at the cheapest price.

Contents insurance

While not mandatory, it might be a good idea to get some of your most prized possessions – your phone, laptop, and other precious, expensive belongings – insured.

If your parents have some kind of contents insurance policy at home, and your belongings are logged under it, you might be covered even abroad in the US. So before you go shelling out cash for another policy, be sure to check what your parents’ policy does and doesn’t cover and the terms and conditions.

Not covered by your parents’ policy? There are hundreds of affordable policies out there to meet your needs.

Oooooops! Lucky you bothered to get it insured. Source: GIPHY.

The cost of contents insurance can vary hugely depending on what it is you’re getting insured and of how much value it is.

What insurance you get tends to be up to you. While your health insurance is likely to be mandatory in order to obtain your visa, travel, contents, dental and any other insurance you may need will be totally in your hands.

Hopefully, there will be no need to use any of your insurance policies while you’re abroad, but should the worst happen, it’s probably better to err on the side of caution.

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