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Studying and Traveling in the USA, as a US Citizen!

October 8th, 2015 by Sally Mcleod

There are over 8.7 million non-military U.S. citizens currently living abroad, and each year, thousands of them come to the US to travel, study or live. For this group of American passport holders living outside of the United States, getting international health insurance when coming to the United States can prove to be surprisingly difficult.

Eligibility for international insurance policies typically hinges on the concept of “home country,” which is distinct from your country of citizenship.  Your “home country” is the country in which you have your “true, fixed and permanent home” – so for people not living internationally, their home country is the same as their country of citizenship. But a US citizen with their permanent home and fixed address in Paris, France would be considered their “home country.”  International health insurance policies will generally provide coverage outside of your “home country.”

So far, so good, you say – as the US citizen living in Paris, who wants insurance for a study abroad in the US, needs coverage while studying outside of their “home country.” True enough – but there is a special rule for US citizens. Most international policies – including our Student Secure and Atlas Travel policies – will also exclude the US for any US citizen, in addition to their home country. US citizens are not considered internationals when coming to the United States regardless of the location of their permanent home, and even if you’ve never lived in the US.

This creates a predicament for US citizens living abroad that want to study or travel in the US, as a student in this situation would not be eligible to purchase most international plans. Even though a US citizen in this case would be a stranger in the US, they would need to apply for domestic insurance, the same as if they had lived in the US all their lives.  They can still get insurance, they just won’t qualify for the often better plans, cheaper rates and internationally tailored plans available to non-US citizens. A student in this instance could possibly enroll in their school plan, and if the duration of the stay was long enough, even potentially apply for ACA coverage through the appropriate state exchange.

There are however, a few plan options available that can be considered. One unique option that we offer would be the Bupa Travel plan. While we said most international travel plans do not cover US Citizens in the USA, this plan is one of the exceptions and allows a US citizen to have coverage inside the US, if their home country is elsewhere. A single trip can be purchased up to 12 months in length, but be advised that this special benefit comes at a price. The Bupa Travel plan is a little on the high side in terms of price, but if you are looking for short term travel coverage – one of the best solutions.

Away from travel plans, another option (less than one year), could be a short term domestic health insurance plan. Short term health insurance is not ACA compliant, so you should investigate whether or not, as a US citizen temporarily in the US, you are required to have ACA coverage, and we can help you with that analysis. These plans differ in duration and availability dependent on the state where coverage is needed, so please check all the details to make sure the plan is right for you.

Another option is a worldwide major medical plan, like our Global Medical Plan. The Global Medical plan offers worldwide coverage and is an annual, more long-term, comprehensive plan. This plan can prove as an excellent option for expats and those that travel to multiple destinations, including their home country. For United States citizens, you must be outside the US when the plan becomes effective, and you must reside outside of the U.S. for at least 6 out the next 12 months.

There’s a different rule for non-U.S. citizens needing coverage in their country of citizenship. In that case, you can have coverage on an international plan in your country of citizenship, as long as your home country is elsewhere. One example would be for someone with Brazilian citizenship whose home country is Germany, who needs coverage while studying abroad in Brazil. The Student Secure plan or the Atlas Travel plan would work well in this situation as long as the student identifies Germany as their home country, and Brazil as their country of citizenship.

It can get a bit confusing, so if you have questions while trying to figure out whether you are eligible for one of our international plans while studying abroad in the US or elsewhere, please feel free to call, email or chat.

Announcing the 10th Annual Travel Video Contest

September 2nd, 2015 by Sutherland Beever

What could you do with an extra $4,000?

If you love traveling, the thrill of a new challenge, and the opportunity to win
a cash prize to help fund your education, we have the perfect contest for you. The 10th anniversary of the has just launched, and they can’t wait to hear your stories as a current or aspiring international student!

The rules are simple: current international students are encouraged to create a short video describing a trip they would like to take in the future, and students who have yet to study outside of their home country should create a video describing their proposed study abroad trip. The more creative, original and genuine your submission, the more likely their panel of esteemed judges will be to choose your video as the grand prize winner!

Tips for Getting Started:

  1. Know Your Competition – Before filming your own masterpiece, take the opportunity to watch a handful of videos that have stolen our judge’s hearts in the past. This will give you an instant ‘leg up’ on the competition, and provide you with an idea of the quality and style of videos that your own creation will compete against.
  2. Think Outside of the Box – Other than the overall subject of your video, is giving you the creative freedom to make your video as funny, serious, or completely outlandish as you are. Your submission could be a traditional live action flick, a kid friendly cartoon or even a black and white claymation flick; the sky is the limit!
  3. The Early Bird Gets the Worm … So Start Early – The deadline to submit your video (October 22nd) may seem light-years away, but remember that all of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes (creating a script, shooting, choosing music and editing your film) takes time.
  4. Read the Contest Rules – This may sound a bit obvious, but ensuring that you follow the contest guidelines is one of the first steps towards bringing home that grand prize!

To help inspire you to create the best video possible, remember that the Grand Prize winner will receive a cash prize of $4,000 and a blog on to document their travels. Additionally, the Viewer’s Choice winner as well as the runner ups will all receive a cash price to help make their dreams of studying abroad become a reality.

Important Dates to Remember:

  • Final Submission Deadline: October 22, 2015
  • Finalists Announced: Week of November 10, 2015
  • Winners Announced: November 20, 2015 – the last day of International Education Week

If you would like on the contest rules, judging panel, or past winners be sure to visit for all of the details.

How much international insurance coverage is enough?

August 11th, 2015 by Victoria Troupe


It makes good sense to purchase international insurance coverage if you are traveling or studying in a different country. It may even be required for your visa or through your school. But how much international insurance coverage do you really need? Is the minimum insurance required good enough to cover an unforeseen injury or illness? Although it is hard to know exactly how much coverage you are going to need, you can get a better idea by knowing what your visa requires, how expensive medical care is in your destination country, what you’ll be doing abroad, and your budget.

Visa and School Requirements

The minimum insurance you must take differs depending on your destination country and visa. For example, the Schengen visa in Europe requires at least EUR €30 000 (equivalent to $50,000 USD) in overall benefits.

The US government requires you to meet minimum insurance standards if you are entering the US with a J visa. You are required to have at least a $100,000 overall insurance benefit. Unlike the J visa, students coming to study in the US on a F visa are not required by the government to meet any insurance requirements. Does this mean that you don’t need insurance if you have an F visa? No! Most schools in the US will require their international students to be enrolled in a private insurance plan or to enroll in a plan provided by the school. If you became ill or injured, lack of insurance could cause such a financial burden that you might have to withdraw from your school and return to your home country permanently.

Things to Consider

So, are the minimum required benefits for your visa or school enough for you? First, consider your destination country and the medical costs in that area.  Medical costs, particularly in the US, are so high that an unforeseen illness or injury or a combination of these throughout the year could easily exceed your visa or school requirements, leaving you with a lot of bills to pay.

Medical Expenses

Medical costs in the United States are much higher than anywhere else in the world. The AXA released a in 2013 of the costs for basic healthcare at the top 20 tourist destinations in the world. The report found that the average cost in the US is more than double that of the next most expensive country (Singapore).

For example, if you fell and broke a bone during your travels you could face bills of around $38,600 in the US, whereas the same injury would costed only $4,536 in Morocco or $23,200 in Singapore. If you are hospitalized for stomach problems such as gastroenteritis, treatment might cost around $3,200 in France, $4,700 in the Caribbean, $7,700 in Turkey, or a staggering $31,000 in the US.

These examples are not improbable situations – these things happen every day. To be caught without insurance in a situation like this could be detrimental to your finances. Consider the cost of medical care in the country that you are visiting and make sure to purchase insurance coverage that well exceeds the cost of one or more major injuries or illnesses. We recommend at least $100,000 in medical coverage outside of the US and at least $250,000 if you need US coverage.

Medical Evacuation and Repatriation

Medical evacuation and repatriation coverage is a very important benefit if you are spending time overseas. Emergency medical evacuation arranges transportation to the nearest adequate medical facility or back to your home country, if medically necessary. Repatriation, or return of mortal remains, transports your deceased remains back to your home. According to Travelex, the average cost of a medical evacuation within North America costs around $25,000. From Europe, the cost to be transported back to the US exceeds $50,000. If a medical escort is needed, you can expect to pay an additional $11,000 within North America or an additional $24,000 from Europe.

To cover these high costs, we typically recommend that travelers and students purchase medical evacuation and repatriation coverage of about $50,000 – $100,000. If you are traveling to remote locations, you should consider coverage closer to $250,000 or more.

Trip Duration

Secondly, the duration of your trip influences how much coverage you need. If you are visiting for just a few days or weeks, the minimum required by your visa may be enough coverage for you. However, if you’re coming for one year or more, your risk for multiple injuries and illnesses increases and you should consider a higher coverage limit. Students studying in the US for the duration of a degree programs (typically 4 years) or more should try to find a plan that is annually renewable and that has enough coverage for this long-term stay. We recommend at least an $250,000 annual coverage limit.

Lifestyle and Activities

Lastly, no matter which visa you are on or what your destination country is, your lifestyle and activities should also be considered when deciding how much insurance coverage to purchase. For example, if you are participating in organized sports, extreme sports, or high risk activities, make sure your insurance plan covers them! We recommend you look for a plan with a benefit of at least $3,000 per injury specifically for organized sports. Be sure to check with your insurance agent if you are participating in other high-risk activities.

Increasing Coverage is Inexpensive

Most travel insurance plans will allow you to increase your overall maximum limit. Raising your overall maximum limit can protect you from having to pay out of your own pocket if something serious happens and the cost of upgrading your plan is relatively low. The International Travel Medical plan, for example, lets you choose your maximum coverage starting at $50,000 all the way up to $2 million dollars. Upgrading your plan from the $100,000 option to the $1 million option only costs an extra few cents per day.

There are also many insurance plans out there specifically for students that offer excellent benefits at an affordable prices. The International Student Insurance plan, for examples, gives you four levels of coverage to choose from. The overall maximum limits range from $200,000 up to $500,000 and offering increasingly comprehensive benefits. They range in cost, providing affordable options for all types of coverage.



I’m Pregnant! Can I Get Insurance?

July 8th, 2015 by Bryanna Davis

Expecting a child is an exciting time, but it also requires you to start realistically looking at your finances. Having a baby inside the Unites States can be very costly and the fees start even before childbirth, and continue through to delivery and after care. Delivering a child inside the US, for example, can cost anywhere from $3,000- $11,000 on average – and that is not taking into consideration complications. If you’re visiting or studying inside the United States and find out you’re pregnant, check your health insurance plan to confirm if it covers the maternity care you need.

If your current health insurance plan does not cover maternity related expenses, or you have no current coverage in place your options will be severely limited. The option of purchasing a plan that includes maternity coverage while pregnant will not be available in most cases. However, it will depend on your situation, location and insurance plan in question.

What options do you have? Let’s take a look!

Health Insurance Options:

As a general rule of thumb, nearly all insurance plans that offer some form of maternity coverage require that you are not pregnant when your plan starts. If you are, then either they will not cover you or they will simply exclude coverage for all maternity-related expenses. However, there are a few options that remain:

Travel Medical Insurance
If you will be inside the United States for a short period of time while pregnant, there are some travel medical insurance plans that will provide coverage for complications due to pregnancy. While this is not full maternity coverage, it will cover you in the event that your pregnancy causes a medical emergency. Keep in mind that plans with this benefit will often have a timeframe in which this benefit can be used so make sure to review your policy details.

ACA Compliant Plans:
ACA compliant insurance plans do not exclude pre-existing conditions (and pregnancies fall in this category). This means that if you’re already pregnant and you’re eligible, you’ll be able to receive maternity coverage with an ACA compliant plan. Keep in mind that your status as an international visitor along with the requirements of each state will vary. You will need to check the during open enrollment (November 1- January 31) or see if you qualify for a special enrollment period.

Treatment Options Without Insurance:

If you’re not able to obtain an insurance plan that covers your maternity expenses, here are a few options that can help ease the pain of high maternity bills.

Birthing Center or Midwife:
Birthing centers are equipped to handle low-risk births, and have the capability to transfer mothers to a hospital in the event of complications. Birthing centers typically focus on natural births, without the use of doctors or epidurals. The cost of delivery at birth centers is typically between $3,000-$4,000.

Women’s Clinic:
Along with delivery fees, you must also consider prenatal and postnatal care- both of which can also become very expensive. A women’s clinic is a great option for women who need an economical alternative. The cost of care at a women’s clinic will vary on your income, so be sure to contact the clinic of your choice to get accurate pricing information.

Payment Plans:
If you’re set on seeking care at a hospital, it might still be an option- just keep in mind that your medical costs will add up quickly. If you have a cesarean or run into any complications it could quickly add up to almost $45,000. The good news is that many hospitals will allow you to set up payment plans and negotiate the cost. Prior to delivery, make sure you call local hospitals and doctors to compare prices and confirm if they’re able to arrange affordable payment plans.

Going Home:
Although it will bring your international activities to a halt, you should also explore the option of going home. Since the US is the most expensive country for medical care, this can save you money, especially if you have a national healthcare program back home. Consider the options above and contact your international student/scholar advisor to explore nearby options. If you’re unable to find an affordable maternity plan, consider placing your trip on hold, returning home to have your child, and returning to the US in the future.

Mental Health Awareness for International Students

June 19th, 2015 by Ross Mason

We all know that traveling and studying abroad can provide you with so many rewarding benefits. But, these new experiences can also affect you in other ways, and in some cases in negative ways. Some of things that could be affecting you are:

  • Felling helpless or hopeless
  • Feeling sad and lonely
  • Having mood swings
  • Low Energy
  • Over or under eating
  • Smoking or drinking to excess
  • Doing drugs
  • Seeing or hearing things

Though all these items can be classified as Mental Health issues, they should not be seen as a taboo subject, and you should not feel like you cannot talk to people about your feelings and emotions.

Did you know that over half of all young adults have some form of mental health disorder?

You are not alone, and in the USA it is very common to seek care for these conditions – even if it is not common in your home country. There are support services and people available to talk to you – and in private! To help you understand the subject a little, we have created a short 5 minute video that talks about some of the main signs of mental health, how you can seek treatment and breaks down some of the more common myths:


Please feel free to share this video, and if you would like to embed it on your website or blog we have the full embed codes on the videos main page. We hope that we have gone someway to provide you with information about mental health awareness for international students and how it can affect all types of people. The main thing is to make sure you seek treatment early!

2017-2018 University of South Florida Insurance Requirements

June 12th, 2015 by Jennifer Frankel

The University of South Florida recently updated their insurance requirements for international students. With the exception of exchange students, all international students will be required to have one year of health insurance coverage with an effective date of the 1st day of the term or prior. You will need to show proof of it before classes begin. To avoid any holds to register for classes, we recommend that you purchase health insurance now, so that you can get everything done ahead of time before the new school year begins. Here’s how to comply with the 2017-2018 University of South Florida insurance requirements:

School Requirements

The University of South Florida has mandated that students carry health insurance that meets specific benefit requirements to ensure their students are properly covered. Either the Student Secure Select or Elite level will meet your school’s insurance requirements, and you can save up to $949.48 a year! When you purchase the plan, be sure to start your coverage on August 21, 2017 and purchase for one year to satisfy their requirements.

apply now

Compliance Form

Your school requires that both you and your insurance company complete a compliance form provided by the Student Health Services confirming that your plan will meet the mandate. This means that even if you have purchased or renewed a plan, you will still need to have the compliance form completed and sent to USF for processing. To do this, you will need to download your compliance form and fill out the left side of your form.

Email Completed Form

Once you have completed your school’s compliance form, then send it to us and we’ll have this filled out and submitted to your school within 2-3 business days. You can submit this to us directly at [email protected] or feel free to fax it to us at (111) 212-0412. When we receive your form, we will confirm receipt by email, and let you know that we are processing it, and then send you final notification once your form has been sent to USF. Once received and processed by your school, they will remove the hold and you’ll be all set to enroll in classes.

For any questions or concerns, please contact our Customer Service Representatives who are standing by to help you with any insurance questions you may have. Best of luck on the new school year!

Updated June 29th 2017

Dependent Health Insurance for J2 and F2

May 13th, 2015 by Jennifer Frankel

Many colleges and universities offer group health insurance plans for their international students and visiting scholars. In the past, many students and scholars were able to include their children and spouses (holders of J2 or F2 visas) on their school’s group plan as well. Now, with many schools offering Affordable Care Act compliant group plans, we are seeing a trend where schools are no longer extending coverage to spouses and children, and if they are, they are offering coverage at sometimes double or triple the price.

The Cause

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires all compliant insurance plans to have an unlimited policy maximum, along with coverage for maternity, preventative care, pre-existing conditions with no waiting period, among other benefits. As many schools adopt this type of coverage for their students, they are seeing their rates climb to unprecedented levels to accommodate these new benefits. Carriers are also slowly getting more claims experience as we are now in the second year on these ACA compliant plans, and this experience is showing them that dependents are a leading cause of increased claims. Many dependents do not have authorization to work, and are of the age to start a family – which leads to increased maternity claims, amongst other things, that are expensive in the USA.

The Effect

As dependents appear to be a leading cause of increased claims in many cases, schools are choosing to make two primary changes to their group insurance plans:

  1. Remove dependents – Many schools have decided to remove dependent coverage from their plans, forcing spouses and dependents to look elsewhere for coverage. These spouses and children may still need to meet certain insurance minimums set forth by their school, or if they are on a J2 visa, they must also have a plan that meets the Department of State Insurance Requirements.
  2. Increased premiums – Some schools have decided to keep dependents on their insurance plan, however they have increased the rates, sometimes 2-3 times more than the insurance plan for a regular international student or scholar.

If you are a dependent facing one of these options, you are not alone. There are many dependents that are looking for insurance coverage while they are in the US, looking to stay compliant with their visa and with their school’s health insurance minimums.

The Solution

If your school is not offering an insurance plan for dependents, or if the plan is out of your price range, then you can purchase an individual insurance plan for your family instead. You’ll need to be aware that many international student specific plans do not allow you to add dependents, because of the high usage rate. To avoid any problems, check the plan’s eligibility to make sure that dependents are eligible first.

There are many plans out there that work great for dependents (with or without the student or scholar), meet the J visa requirements, and are typically more affordable than your school’s group insurance plan. Here are three popular individual plans that work well for dependents depending on how long you need coverage and the type of coverage your family needs:

  • Travel Medical
    Less than one year
    The Travel Medical plan is an excellent options for children and spouses needing coverage for less than one year, and children under 9 are free for each parent that is insured on the plan. This Travel Medical policy covers accidents and illnesses that occur on the plan, including coverage for doctor visits, hospitalization, prescription medication, medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, and more. This plan provides families with flexibility, allowing them to choose the duration of coverage, from as little as 5 days up to 364 days. This plan does not cover wellness, maternity, organized sports, pre-existing conditions or mental health – and will only cover families outside their home country.

 >>Learn more and apply

  • Patriot Travel
    Less than two years
    The Patriot Travel plan is another excellent option for families needing up to two years of coverage. Like the Travel Medical, it is designed to cover new accidents and illnesses that happen on the plan, and will cover doctor visits, hospitalization, prescriptions, medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. Similarly, it will not cover wellness, maternity, organized sports, pre-existing conditions or mental health, and will only cover families outside their home country. This is an excellent option for families wanting to cover those “just in case” situations, such as colds, injuries, or emergencies, allowing you to purchase one year and renew for a second year.

>>Learn more and apply

  • Global Medical
    One year or more
    The Global Medical plan is a great plan for those families either looking for comprehensive coverage, or are needing long-term coverage. This plan provides worldwide coverage, including in your home country, covering accidents and illnesses no matter where they happen. This plan is annually renewable and available in four levels, allowing you to choose the most appropriate coverage. Depending on the plan level, your insurance plan will cover you for maternity, vision, dental, wellness and you can also get coverage for pre-existing conditions. This insurance plan is medical underwritten, so you will need to disclose your medical health history, which will then be evaluated by an underwriter within 5 days of submission. This plan also allow payment flexibility, where you can choose to pay annually, semi-annually, quarterly, or monthly.

>>Learn more and apply

If you or someone you know needs help finding dependent coverage, please contact one of our representatives who can help you determine which is the best insurance option for you and your family.

Student Health Plan Updates for 2015

May 7th, 2015 by Ross Mason

Student Health InsuranceWe are excited to announce our student health insurance plan updates for the upcoming 2015 plan year. The new updates came into effect on May 1st, and include a range of excellent enhancements and additions – making our student health plan still the best, most comprehensive and affordable option for international students around the world.

The biggest changes to the plans this year are:

Elite Plan Level

Joining the Smart, Budget and Select plan levels is the new Elite plan. This new, higher level of coverage provides the following benefits, not found on the other plans:

  • $500,000 policy maximum;
  • $500,000 emergency medical evacuation;
  • 100% coinsurance within the PPO network and outside the U.S.;
  • 80% prescription drug coverage;
  • $75/day for physical therapy;
  • $250,000 personal liability.

Lower Pricing

For the majority of our customers, we have also lowered our rates so that the student health plan is now even more affordable. For an international student between 18 and 24, studying in the USA, coverage now starts at just $29 per month.

Smart Benefits Updated

Due to the new J1 Visa Insurance requirement changes that take place on the 15th May 2015, we have updated the smart benefit accordingly to make sure all levels of coverage are compliant for any J visa holder.

For the complete student health plan updates for 2015, including benefits, exclusions and premiums, please see our student health page for more information. If you would also like a personalized quote, or would like to work out what plan level if right for you – please do not hesitate to contact our team for more information.

Sports Insurance for International Students

April 17th, 2015 by Victoria Troupe

Students participating in sports are constantly pushing their bodies to the limit and are taking on a greater risk of injury than students who are not. Sports insurance for international students becomes even more critical than ever in these cases, and finding the right insurance plan for your situation is particularly important. Not every insurance policy will cover sports, and in many cases they will include or exclude coverage based on sports categories such as organized sports, extreme/adventure sports, contact sports, or recreational sports.

In this post, we will explore those main sport categories, and how international student insurance plans deal with coverage.

Organized Sports

Organized sports, as defined in insurance terms, usually include intercollegiate, interscholastic, intramural or club sport participation. If your sport requires organized practices or events, if you have a coach, or if you signed up for the sports through your school, it is most likely an organized sport. This definition does not include semi-professional and professional sports, which are usually in their own category, and in general are not covered by most international student or travel medical plans.

Coverage for organized sports is not inherent in most international student plans, and is commonly excluded from coverage. But not to worry! There are a few international student plans that do include coverage for organized sports, usually with a maximum limit per injury. The Student Secure Budget and Select levels both include coverage for up to $3,000 per injury (Budget) or $5,000 per injury (Select) for organized sports and the Student Health Advantage Standard and Platinum plans includes organized sports coverage up to $5,000 per injury.

Extreme/Adventure Sports

Extreme sports, also known as adventure sports, are activities perceived as having a high level of inherent danger. These activities often involve speed, height, a high level of physical exertion, and, in most cases, highly specialized gear. These kinds of activities are often undertaken for thrill seeking, and thus can expose the participant to abnormal risk that exceeds even that of organized sports.

Although most travel medical plans exclude coverage for organized sports, some policies will include limited coverage for extreme/adventure sports, or there may be an additional  rider that can be added to the plan for an additional cost. These plans will often list the exact sports that are covered and/or those that are excluded from coverage.

For example, the Atlas Travel plan includes coverage for all extreme sports that are not excluded specifically in the policy. Excluded sports include aviation, base jumping, parachuting, parasailing, hang-gliding, sky surfing, paragliding, kite-surfing, off-road motorized vehicles, heli-skiing, white water rafting, racing, spelunking, cave diving, diving unless certified, avalanche training, rugby, hunting, running with the bulls, bobsleigh, skeleton, luge, boxing or martial arts, piloting a hot air ballooning, jousting, pentathlon, powerlifting, quad biking, speed trials, speedway, or wrestling. Any extreme sports not listed would therefore be covered the same as any other illness.

The Patriot Travel plan is an example of a plan that offers an Adventure Sports rider. Here’s a summary of the terms of the rider from IMG, the insurance administrator of the Patriot Travel plan.

“The following activities are covered to the lifetime maximum amounts listed below as long as they are engaged solely for leisure, recreation, or entertainment purposes: abseiling, BMX, bobsledding, bungee jumping, canyoning, caving, hang gliding, heli-skiing, high diving, hot air ballooning, inline skating, jet skiing, jungle zip lining, kayaking, mountain biking, parachuting, paragliding, parascending, piloting a non-commercial aircraft, rappelling, rock climbing or mountaineering (ropes and guides to 4500m from ground level), scuba diving (to 50m), sky diving, snorkeling, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snow skiing, spelunking, surfing, trekking, whitewater rafting (to Class V), and wildlife safaris, and windsurfing.  All such activities must be carried out in strict accordance with the rules, regulations and guidelines of the applicable Governing Body or Authority of each such activity.”

There are certain sports,however, that are never covered by the Patriot Travel plan, regardless of whether or not the Adventure Sports rider is purchased. These include contact sports of any kind, racing of any kind, any rodeo activity, BASE jumping, kiteboarding, mountaineering or climbing or trekking above elevation 4500 meters above ground level or without proper ropes or guides; luge, motocross, Moto-X, ski jumping, sub-aquatic activities below 50 meters, whitewater rafting exceeding Class V difficulty, and/or adventure sports activity not expressly covered.

Contact Sports

A contact sport is defined as a sport in which players come into physical contact with each other as part of normal play. Hockey, soccer, football, and martial arts are just a few examples of contact sports. Similar to extreme sports, contact sports increase your risk of injury and like the Patriot Travel example above, many plans specifically exclude contact sports, even if they cover other sports. However, if you’ll be participating in contact sports, make sure your insurance plan includes this. The Student Secure Budget and Select cover all organized sports, even if they are considered contact sports.

Recreational, Leisure, or Fitness Sports

Some sports don’t fit into any of these categories. If you like to jog to keep fit, play tennis for fun on the weekends, or play catch with your friends, these types of sports activities fall into another category called Recreational, Leisure, or Fitness sports. These are activities people engage in during their free time, and are  undertaken purely for recreation, leisure, or fitness purposes. They are therefore not considered organized, extreme, or contact, and are usually covered under the general medical benefits of an international student insurance plan or even a travel medical plan.

Not All Insurance Is Equal

Carefully consider your sports participation when shopping for an insurance plan. Using the guidance above, determine which categories of sport you’ll be participating in and find an insurance policy that will protect you in case of any resulting injuries. Every insurance plan will specifically define which types of sports are included or excluded from that particular plan. Check the master policy to be sure that the sports you partake in are covered.

For help, feel free to email, chat or call our licensed insurance agents at any time.

Travel Medical Plan Updates for 2015

April 2nd, 2015 by Ross Mason

We are proud to announce some excellent updates to our international travel medical insurance plan. Effective April 1st 2015, anyone purchasing a new plan will benefit from these excellent new additions and enhancements:

  • Emergency Medical Evacuation benefit increased from $500,000 to $1,000,000.
  • Acute onset of pre-existing conditions benefit increased to match medical coverage maximum for $200,000, $500,000 and $1,000,000 maximums.
  • New Trip Delay benefit added ($100 per day for up to 2 days when 12-hour delay results in unplanned overnight stay).
  • New Pet Return benefit added (up to $1,000 to return pet home if member hospitalized).
  • Lost Checked Luggage benefit increased from $250 to $500.
  • New Bedside Visit benefit added (up to $1,500 for economy ticket to enable family member to visit if member admitted to ICU).
  • Eligibility definition expanded for Trip Interruption benefit (includes death of grandchild).

The travel medical insurance is an ideal insurance solution for those looking for short to medium term coverage, outside of their home country. It is available for up to 364 days for those needing coverage within the USA and for up to 3 years for those needing coverage around the world, excluding the USA.

For more information about our travel medical plan, please see our website:

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