Going abroad to study? Claim your benefits

Students need to understand the overall claims process under travel insurance

The Indian ‘study abroad’ market is growing by leaps and bounds with over two lakh students going abroad every year. Student insurance is mandatory. Majority of Indian parents/students don’t opt for a cover from India as they are not aware that the student travel insurance (STI) from India offers better comprehensive coverage at a much lower price.

Claim intimation

All STI policies are issued in soft copy and available in your mailbox. So, at the time of claim, student/parents only need the policy number and the insurance company’s assistance service provider (ASP) number for intimation. There is no need to carry a hard copy. Student/parents need to save the policy number and ASP details on their smartphones for easy retrieval at the time of claim. The student can go to any hospital and inform the ASP the exact location and contact details for claim. Once this is done, the ASP will communicate the guarantee of payment (GOP) to the hospital and settle the cashless claim.

Outpatient treatment

Be it a minor fever or a dental problem the student can go to any hospital/clinic for OPD with only $100 deductible.

Note that OPD expenses are covered only under reimbursement basis. And, since it is a reimbursement claim, the students are required to self-pay and then submit all prescriptions, investigation reports & payment receipts for claim.

There are however, some exclusions such as pre-existing disease, capping of teeth, bridging of teeth, etc. Hence, these are not payable under any circumstances.

Travel benefits

STI also provides travel inconvenience benefits such as delay/loss of baggage, missing connecting flight or loss of passport and travel documents. To claim delay or loss of baggage, the student must obtain a property irregularity report (PIR) from the airlines. Typically, for lost baggage, there is a per bag limit of 50 per cent of the sum insured (SI) and per article per bag limit is 10 per cent of the SI.

Under missing connecting flight claim, the student must get a letter from the airlines with the reason and duration of delay. This cover is available only for a delay of over 12 hours for outbound flights from India; you can’t claim the benefits while returning to India. Other documents for claim include claim form, air tickets, boarding pass, proof of ownership.

Under loss of passport/travel documents, students can claim only the direct expenses incurred for obtaining emergency travel documents or duplicate or new passport. All payment receipts and police report have to be produced.

Other benefits

Other benefits include compassionate visit, study interruption and sponsor protection. In compassionate visit benefit, if a student is hospitalised for more than five days, under the doctor’s recommendation, the immediate family member can visit him and claim economy class airfare and accommodation expenses from the insurance company.

The claim for compassionate visit will be settled on reimbursement basis, up to a maximum of $10,000, on producing the original tickets and bills.

Regarding study interruption and sponsor protection benefits, only the amount shown as tuition fees is reimbursed.

Documents to be submitted are the tuition fee receipt, letter from the school and the medical records/certificate for reimbursement claim, with limit of $15,000 per semester.

The study interruption benefit covers the paid fees whereas sponsor protection covers the balance fees.

The writer is Chief Product Officer, Royal Sundaram General Insurance

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