Protecting a student travel experience, whether the cost or health of the student, is incredibly important. Here are some tips on how to express that.
Talking to Parents and Students about Travel Insurance
Traveling without protection, especially if it involves a semester of tuition, is a big risk. Typically, once the importance of travel insurance to parents and students is explained, a plan is usually purchased without hesitation. It may be your job as an administrator to explain the importance to your constituents.
We've boiled it down to two major factors:
Protecting the Travel Investment
Whether investing in a semester studying abroad or a faculty-led program state-side, every cent of this trip cost has been attained through hard work and determination. Most likely, if something were to occur that causes the group to cancel the trip before they leave, that money would be lost. Likewise, if an unexpected incident happens while they are on their trip they would lose their money and have the added expense of last minute travel arrangements to return home. But things happens, as we all know.
Each Academic Explorer plan has excellent benefits and extended options to protect pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs that might be lost due to a covered cancellation or interruption. If a covered event occurs before the trip, a protection plan can cover pre-paid costs or cancellation fees. A sick or injured student who needs to return home early may find solace in the covered cost of a trip home - and so will their parents. Some additional reasons (outside of illness and injury) that are covered for cancelation or interruption include: terrorism in an itinerary city or if the US State Department issues a Warning for a country that they will be visiting on their trip, illness or injury of a family member (even those that are not traveling with the student), CDC travel warnings, weather and natural disasters, riots, and others.
If the traveler is eligible, optional Cancel for Any Reason or Interruption for Any Reason coverage could expand these covered reasons even further. Some coverages may have eligibility requirements and not be available to residents of all states.
Medical Care Coverage
When a student is traveling overseas their US health insurance plan may not be accepted in foreign countries. However, their primary health insurance may cover any medical care needed when traveling in the US. Adding a secondary travel medical plan will help further protect them in the case of an out-of-state illness or injury, and provide reimbursement for medical expenses incurred outside of the US.
But do they have coverage in event of a medical evacuation? Whether the trip is domestic or international, the ability to bring a child to a facility where appropriate medical care can be provided in the case of an emergency will bring peace-of-mind to the parents and faculty.
If a student is traveling outside of the United States, we highly recommend all travelers purchase a plan with medical coverage and evacuation included. Always insist that the parents and students check with their health insurance to understand the limitations they have in medical coverage while abroad.
In the case that a claim is made, most travel insurance plans will only reimburse students when their primary health insurance does not cover the costs. Most likely, a representative for the student (you or their parents) will have to provide documentation to the travel insurance company that the primary health insurance company has denied reimbursement.