Travel insurance for students

Whether you’ll be studying, volunteering or just taking a break, find out more about the cover you'll need.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 14 October 2019  | 4 min read

A good travel insurance policy for students should include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Repatriation back to the UK
  • Cancellation, curtailment or delays
  • Your baggage and loss or theft of personal possessions

Key points

  • Declare any pre-existing medical conditions before you go - otherwise, your insurer won’t pay out
  • Look after your belongings. Personal possessions insurance doesn’t cover unattended bags or valuables
  • Check you’re covered for any planned extreme sports or activities you've got planned.

Types of cover

If you’re a student and planning a trip away, there are three main types of cover you can buy:

  • Single trip: One short-duration trip
    Suitable if you’re planning on taking one trip this year, maybe over the winter, spring or summer holidays.
  • Annual/multi-trip: Two or more short-duration trips throughout the year
    Useful if you’re planning more than one trip. For example, if your studies require multiple field trips abroad. Each trip needs to be less than a month though.
  • Backpacker/extended trip: For a single trip that lasts over a month or more
    Ideal if you’re taking a gap year or studying abroad.

All of these can be bought for an individual, a couple, a family or a group, for European or worldwide destinations.

Your trip might not be all about studying - you can also add policy features to enhance your cover. Common policy features include cover for winter sports, cruises or watersports.

You don't need travel insurance to study or work abroad

Not legally, but it might be useful to have - especially for longer stays.

You might need a study or work visa for certain destinations, and if you do want to be covered, you'll need to check your travel insurance covers work or study.

You're more likely to find cover for working or volunteering abroad with backpacker travel insurance, but this isn’t always the case. If you are covered, sometimes there are exclusions around the kind of work or volunteering you can do too.

What to pack

  • Passport (and any visas or other travel documents)
  • Tickets, booking confirmations, etc.
  • EHIC
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Important contact numbers (yours and a family member’s)
  • Bug repellent spray
  • Spare wallet
  • Any medication you need to take
  • Certificates, documents or forms you need to take for your studies
  • Appropriate clothing (pack some extra clothes in case of unexpected weather)
  • Toiletries
  • Some local currency and your debit/credit card
  • Charging cables for your essential gadgets (and maybe an adapter plug)
  • A basic medical kit for minor scrapes, illnesses and injuries

EU versus worldwide cover

Make sure all the countries you’ll be visiting are included in your travel insurance, even if it’s just somewhere you’re passing through.

You’ll need an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) if you’re travelling in Europe to cover your healthcare. Most insurers won’t cover you for treatment that an EHIC will, but the EHIC won’t cover you for all medical procedures - that's where travel insurance can support you.

It’s best to have travel insurance and an EHIC so you can get the care and medication you need, especially in an emergency.

Make the most of your student travel insurance

Check if you're already covered

You might find that you already have travel insurance - it’s sometimes offered as part of a packaged bank account or you might be covered under your parents’ family policy - but it’s important to make sure your policy covers what you need it to.

Get your travel insurance as soon as you can

If you need to take out a policy make sure you buy it as soon as you’ve booked your trip, so you can benefit from cancellation cover straight away.

Watch out for exclusions

While having a drink or two is fine, insurers won’t pay out if an accident happened if your judgement or physical ability was impaired by alcohol or drugs.

Claims will also be rejected if your bag or rucksack was left unattended and gets stolen.

Travelling against FCDO advice also means any claims you make will probably be rejected, so do your research before you go.

Student discounts

You might be able to get a discount with insurers that specialise in covering students.

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