Doing an elective can be one of the most exciting aspects of your time at University, but a lot of organisation is involved - including protecting yourself against the unexpected.
Your university may provide travel insurance, but it is unlikely to be a fully comprehensive policy. You need to be aware that ordinary travel insurance is unsuitable because it doesn’t provide cover for medical-specific incidents such as needle/sharp injuries.
For your information…
It’s really important that you take out travel insurance for your whole elective, especially if you’re travelling outside the EU. If you're travelling within the EU, you should apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) which assists with state healthcare.
Elective travel insurance should be the first consideration, taken out before anything is booked – before flights or accommodation to ensure everything is covered.
If the worst does happen and you’re required to resit exams, elective insurance will mean you’ll be able to claim for lost flights and accommodation and complete your elective without losing out on money.
The cost of elective travel insurance will depend on where you’re going and for how long. Your school’s elective supervisor will be able to help you with all other aspects of your elective planning.
You may have indemnity insurance provided by the defence unions (MDU or MPS) free of charge if you’re a medical student, and it is mandatory for students on elective. It provides global cover in case of medical errors, through negligence or incompetence.
The only exception to this is if you are with MDU and are choosing to do your elective in Australia, in which case you need to get indemnity with a company based there.
Elective insurance checklist
- Read through policy wordings carefully to ensure you’ll be covered on everything you expect
- Don’t take out cover with an insurance provider just because they’re cheaper
- Remember to factor travel insurance into your elective budget
- Take copies of your passport, insurance, visa and any other travel documents. Store them somewhere safe
- Packing your own medical kit is a good idea and essential if you are travelling to developing countries
- Don’t forget to pack a Post Exposure Preventative (PEP) kit
- If you have a medical condition, chat to your specialist about it (you may require documentation about medicines such as insulin)
- Check individual country requirements (e.g. New Zealand ask for chest x-rays as proof you don’t have tuberculosis)