• International Insurance Blog

  • Friday, February 23, 2018

If you’re a student in the United States, resolve to pay attention to your international student insurance plan this semester. Although the U.S. government does not have any restrictions or requirements for F-1 visa holders, it does have some requirements for J-1 visa holders.

However, your university will have some prerequisites for student insurance. Your university will also offer an insurance plan that covers most major medical expenses, including mental health coverage. If you are looking for alternate private insurance, pay attention to the following benefits which you might not otherwise.

Mental health coverage: Remember that mental health care is extremely expensive in the United States. Although mental health may not be something you pay attention to in your home country, it assumes importance when you are away from home. This is especially true if you live in the northern part of the country where winters can be long and depressing.

Coverage outside the city of residence: Most insurance plans offered by your college or university feature extremely limited options for coverage outside the city of residence and outside the plan’s PPO network. You will be visiting friends and family outside of your city and you will need to be covered adequately. Be smart and ensure that your insurance actually comes in handy.

With Valentines Day coming up, you might be looking to take your special someone on a special vacation, insuring your trip with international travel health insurance. The last thing you want to manage during such a special trip is the extra stress of losing your baggage, arriving late, or losing a bunch of money because you need to cancel your trip.

The one-stop solution to ensure that your trip investment is returned to you is trip cancellation insurance. Trip cancellation insurance does not just reimburse the costs of a canceled flight. Most plans offer reimbursement for non-refundable hotel reservations and other expenses as well.

Most trip cancellation plans also offer some sort of baggage loss benefit. Usually, the expenses are refunded provided the cancellation of the trip is due to a covered reason—usually the death of a close family member, or the destruction of the primary residence of the plan holder.

Remember to read the clauses in the trip cancellation insurance carefully to check the reasons for cancellation that are covered. Purchasing the “Cancel for Any Reason” rider covers you for most reasons, but some are still excluded. “Change of Valentines’ Heart’ is probably, unfortunately, one the exclusions!

When you buy international travel medical insurance, the only thing on your mind is probably that it will help you in case you get ill. However, international travel insurance offers much more than just medical coverage; in fact, these may be the benefits you need!

First things first: Read your policy carefully for details of the non-medical benefits your plan provides. The most common benefits include baggage loss assistance and trip interruption coverage. Some group plans also offer coverage to replace a group leader or chaperone, in case the current chaperone needs to cut his/her trip short or cannot make it to the trip.

Some plans also offer identity theft assistance, which covers all the costs related to neutralizing the effect of the stolen identity, including applying for duplicate documents, long distance phone calls and other related charges.

Other coverage that can come in useful includes concierge assistance, rental vehicle assistance, and general help with emergency situations. Select plans offer referrals to legal services when traveling, when required. The next time you’re covered under a travel health insurance plan, know that it is not just about your health!

When you job literally takes you “over seas” as crew of a marine vessel, marine crew insurance is very important. One such plan, Reside Blue, offers coverage tailor made for seafarers and their families. The comprehensive plan carries a lifetime maximum of $5 million.

To be eligible for the plan, you must be under 75 years of age, and an employee aboard a seafaring vessel, and must be outside the United States and U.S. territorial waters for at least six months in a year. All applicants must, in addition, furnish a declaration that they are not U.S. residents.

The plan is open to U.S. and non-U.S. citizens. The plan offers five choices of deductibles, and premiums differ for men and women covered under the plan. Coverage includes usual and customary medical benefits including emergency and outpatient care, repatriation of remains, AD&D, and emergency medical evacuation benefits.

The plan also offers an amateur sailboat racing benefit that covers illness or injury arising out of the sport. The benefit has a $15,000 maximum per year. The plan is underwritten by Certain Underwriters at Lloyd’s London, and is rating A (Excellent) by A.M. Best and Company.

Ransom negotiators and SWAT teams may look glamorous on screen, but when it happens to you, you’re best prepared with adequate international travel health insurance that includes kidnap and ransom coverage. When you’re visiting a foreign country and you become a victim of kidnapping, adequate coverage can save your life.

Kidnap and ransom coverage is usually offered as an optional rider to regular international travel health insurance. Plans such as International Major Medical Plan offer coverage within the United States as well. If you’re traveling to countries with a high rate of kidnap, such as Columbia or Peru, the coverage is worth considering.

Under this coverage, the underwriters reimburse expenses that are incurred as part of a kidnapping event. Usually, coverage also extends to crisis response team fees. Crisis response teams assess the kidnap and/or ransom situation and advise the family according to the assessment.

You will require kidnap and ransom coverage if you are perceived to be wealthy or powerful. It is not necessary for you to be actually wealthy to benefit from the coverage—kidnappers work more on perceptions than reality. Remember that most kidnappings have ransom as the primary motive, and in most cases, the ransom is paid.

This year’s international travel hotspots include many countries that have been associated with strife and war last year—so if you find yourself visiting any of them, you’d better carry adequate international travel health insurance. Trends indicate that among popular international destinations this year are Sri Lanka and Iraq.

But all destinations are not about war and guns—Turkey, for instance, will see a huge surge in tourist travel, because of its capital being christened one of the European Cities of Culture this year. Also, South Africa, simply because of the forthcoming FIFA Soccer World Cup to be held there, will see a huge influx of tourists as well.

When traveling abroad, especially in countries where war has been a way of life, it is best to check often whether the U.S. government has issued warning or alerts against travel to the country. If your bookings are non-refundable, it is best to also purchase trip cancellation insurance with “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage.

It is also a good idea to check what the ground reality is, by asking some friends or immigrants who are originally from that country. Take that opinion with a pinch of salt, though, because locals might always have a different perspective of “safe” than an outsider. Bon voyage!

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International Medical Insurance - Short Term
International Health Insurance - Long Term
Trip Cancellation Insurance


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