So you have now booked your flights for the exchange semester that is just around the corner, and you’ve already started itching to get to pack up your bags. SPF50 sunscreen, check. Passport and a squeaky new toothbrush, check. Disposable waterproof camera for those moments when your iPhone battery dies and you just need to get that photo of your friends jumping into a waterfall, check. Besides a smile, what is the most important thing to pack though, is a contract that will provide you and your home folks with peace of mind. Finding a trustworthy travel insurance provider is possibly the most important thing that every exchange student has to do prior to taking off on the adventure.
Traveling in Asia is generally safe. However, it is a clear fact that sometimes accidents happen, and whenever medical attention is needed, the hospital bills can easily climb up to hundreds if not thousands of Euros. Not having a proper coverage through a reliable medical insurance provider will mean that you, or your family will be responsible of covering all the expenses. If the injured person has to be airlifted, or if any more serious operations are required and the injured has to be moved to a better hospital in a different country, medical bills of even over a hundred thousand are not so rare; too often we still hear horror stories of travelers who got into an accident and didn’t have travel insurance We at Asia Exchange require all of our students to present a copy of their valid travel insurance to make sure that in case of accidents, everyone is covered. Even if you were just traveling for fun, don’t ever make the mistake of trusting your luck instead of spending a bit of money, maybe equivalent to a night out, on a travel insurance that will definitely cover you if any unfortunate shortcomings come your way.
When looking to get your travel insurance, the first step would be to see if you have any existing insurances through your family or a home insurance. Some insurance companies, especially in certain European countries, provide affordable contracts on travel insurances of up to 6 months for those who already are their customers in their home country. Chances are, that your home insurance already includes a basic-level travel coverage for trips of certain duration. It is important to read the fine print too, and for example, make sure that the insurance also covers motorbike accidents, in case you are planning on riding a scooter while on exchange.
Through almost ten years of operating international student exchange in Asia, we have read through tens of insurance policies, and found out one that we recommend for our students year after year. A German insurance company, HanseMerkur, offers travel insurances with a very hard to match price point vs. coverage ratio. Many of our students have used their service successfully, and the claims can be made already when on exchange, rather than having to wait until returning to your home country. We highly recommend taking a look at HanseMerkur’s insurance unless your own insurance company offers you an affordable and broad travel insurance package to your student exchange destination country.
Below we made a quick comparison between HanseMerkur, and another often recommended travel insurance, World Nomad’s.
The traveler is aged 21, going to study in Phuket, and staying from August 7th until December 20th . Traveling is allowed within Asia – USA and Canada excluded. Both insurance policies provide (basic) full coverage for all the medical expenses in most typical cases. Should you like to have your luggage insured as well, be prepared to spend a bit more. Please always carefully read the fine prints to make sure your policy will cover sports and activities that you will do while on exchange as well as making sure you will be covered in traffic too, should you want to ride a motorbike or a scooter.
HanseMerkur – STAY Travel Insurance – 140 Euros.
World Nomads – STANDARD – 417 Euros.
Below, you can find more details of what is actually covered. We hold no responsibility in booking your insurance, and want to stress the fact, that it is ultimately up to you to make sure that you are fully covered before you travel. Now just make sure you have you are covered before you travel, and make the most out of your exchange semester without having to worry about insurances longer than the five minutes it will take you book one from HanseMerkur!