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Student travel insurance guide

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If you’re a student starting a gap year, or going to study abroad then you’ll need student travel insurance to cover you for overseas medical emergencies, lost baggage, travel delays, cancellations, stolen money, personal accidents and more!

Why do I need it?

With lots of adventures on the road ahead of you, so come dangers and risks. Travel insurance is there to cover you for those unforseen travel-related emergencies and expenses.

Am I covered by Medicare when I go overseas?

Unfortunately no, you can’t take Medicare with you when you go travelling, and overseas medical treatment is very expensive. You may find yourself hundreds or even thousands of dollars out of pocket if you require medical attention overseas and you don’t have a policy to cover you.

An student policy to cover you for a whole year might cost you $500, but this upfront cost could save you from financial ruin later.

…And it’s not just medical benefits either, your policy also covers you for lost or stolen baggage. Could you afford to replace your entire backpack full of clothes and gadgets if it was lost or stolen?

What type of policy should I buy?

The type of policy you'll need will depend on how long you’re going for, where you’re going to, and what activities you’re doing on your trip. Scroll for more information.

What destination do I pick?

You might be asked to pick a destination area, rather than ticking individual countries. If you’re country hopping, but only going somewhere for a day, you will still need a policy that covers you for all destinations you travel to e.g. If you’re travelling around the Pacific Islands and you’re only stopping in Hawaii for 2 days, you will still need insurance that covers you in America.

What adventure activities are covered?

You’re probably planning on skydiving, bungee jumping or a heap of other exciting activities, but you should know that not every adventure activity is covered.

Here’s some activities that typically are not covered:

  • Tubing
  • Caving
  • Cliff jumping
  • Zip lining
  • Hang gliding
  • Motorsports
  • Rock climbing
  • Running of the bulls festival in Spain
  • White water rafting – grade 5
  • Skydiving

Always check your insurers list of covered activities as they do vary from insurer to insurer.

How long can my policy last for?

There are plenty of policies that cover for a year or more. Don’t get confused with an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy which covers for an unlimited number of trips in a year, but have individual trip duration limits.

A student or gap year insurance policy will cover you for the whole year, all 365 days, or more.

If you decide to extend your trip from overseas, you can lengthen your insurance for another 12 months, but there might be limits on how long you can extend for depending on how long you’ve already been away.

Note: If you decide to return home at any point your policy will end.

What should I make sure is included in my policy?

  • Overseas medical expenses and rescue
    Pick a policy which has unlimited cover

  • Cover for your lost or stolen luggage and belongings
    This varies between $2,000 - $15,000, pick a policy that suits the amount of luggage and belongings you're taking with you

  • Travel delays and cancellation cover
    Pick a policy which has unlimited cover

  • Personal liability
    Pick a policy that has cover between $1,000,000 - $5,000,000

  • Theft of money
    Get cover for $250 at least

  • 24/7 emergency assistance
    Just a phone call away to help with any emergencies

An insurers Product Disclosure Statement is the best place to go to see the full list of product benefits.

What’s excluded in a student policy? What might affect my claim?

You might not realise that you’re not covered if you miss a flight because you’re late, or if you injure yourself when you’re drunk. Here’s a few exclusions to pay attention to:

  • Drunk or illegal drugs
    If you make a claim arising from an injury you got when you were drunk or on drugs you will not be covered
  • Unattended items
    If you leave your phone in a taxi, or leave your luggage in a hostel storage room when you’ve checked out you’re not covered. Any of your belongings that are lost or stolen that you leave unattended, or out of your reach will not be covered
  • Adventure sports
    Not all adventure sports such as go karting, bungee jumping, or riding a moped in Thailand are covered. Check your insurer’s full list before you leave home
  • Proof of ownership
    If you can’t prove you own your item with a receipt, photo, or bank statement and you make a claim, you might be rejected
  • Report loss/theft asap
    To have a successful claim you need to report your loss as soon as possible to the police and the place your item was lost. You must get written proof and contact your insurer about the loss within 24 hours, or as soon as possible

Remember that each insurer has different inclusions and exclusions. So you should compare student travel insurance policies to find a product that best suits your travel needs and budget.

The insurer’s Product Disclosure Document (which can be found on all their websites) will explain what they do, and don’t cover at length.

How soon should I buy?

The sooner you buy the better. That way if you need to cancel anything you’ve already booked you will be covered.

If you leave it too late, or even decide to buy once you’ve left Australia there might be a waiting period applied for medical claims. This is a clause to protect travel insurers which basically means you can’t go overseas, break an arm, and then buy insurance before you visit the hospital.

I’m planning on working overseas? Will I still be covered?

If you’re planning on getting a part time job on your gap year such as working in a bar, find out if your covered for personal liability or medical emergencies at work.

Some insurers won’t cover you if your job is risky and you could easily injure yourself e.g. bungee jumping instructor, working on a building site, or mining.

If a job is too risky, travel insurance won’t cover you as it’s seen as the employer’s responsibility.

International students

If you’re an international student studying in Australia you need to get OSHC: Overseas Student Health Cover which covers you for hospital visits, ambulance cover and medicine. You can find more information at the Department of Health website.

If you’re not an Australian resident and you’re studying here, and wish to travel outside of Australia. You will need to look into international student travel insurance.

I really want to find a cheap student travel insurance policy

We understand students have small budgets, but don’t worry we’ve got heaps of cheap student travel insurance quotes for you to compare. Use our website to filter the quote results by price if that’s what you are most interested in.

You shouldn't buy the cheapest policy you find, because it's the cheapest. Make sure you buy a policy with a reputable company that will cover all your planned activities and more.  If you are really looking for low cost cover, make sure that you at least get a basic - medical only policy.

Travel advice

A final word of advice from Smart Traveller: If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel!

Hopefully we’ve provided you with enough information, and you’re now confident on the type of policy you need to buy for your trip.

Travel insurance sure can be confusing. Why not check out some of the most important bits to understand before you head off into the unknown.

Compare student quotes now to see if we’ve got the policy for you.

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