Three Questions to Ask When Choosing a Student Insurance Plan for Your School

Three Questions to Ask When Choosing a Student Insurance Plan for Your School

Most universities, colleges, and other post-secondary institutions across Canada provide international students with a student insurance plan. This relieves the student of trying to find their own coverage in an unfamiliar environment and ensures they are covered in case they need medical treatment while living and studying here.

Selecting the right insurance plan for your students comes down to more than just the policy itself. Choosing a provider to manage the health insurance of your entire international student body can be difficult, and insurance is a complex topic to those who are unfamiliar with it. To help you make a more informed decision, we’ve come up with three questions you should ask before purchasing a plan.

Does the Student Insurance Plan Have the Right Level of Coverage for International Students?

Many students arrive in Canada unaware of the types of health insurance they’ll need, and many won’t think that they’ll ever need it until a medical issue arises. Depending on the province you’re in, they may have no provincial health insurance or a modified version of the insurance available to citizens. As the school, you can relieve them of the burden of finding their own plan by selecting the right level of coverage for them. You don’t necessarily need a plan that covers every possible occurrence, but you do need to make sure students are covered for the most likely claims at a reasonable and accessible cost.

Some things that should absolutely be included in the policy are:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Air evacuation for critical cases
  • The ability for family members to visit if their child is sick and in the hospital
  • Coverage for sending a student back home in the case of a death

Can the Student Continue their Studies in Canada After a Claim?

Typical travel insurance policies, whether for leisure or study, expect the person will return home in the event of a claim. While this makes sense for people on a vacation, it doesn’t make as much sense for students who are pursuing their education and have the possibility of continuing their classes once they’ve recovered.

Look for a student insurance plan that does not send the student home except when medically necessary. This can actually remove a serious barrier for students considering seeking medical attention. Think about it – if you thought that filing a claim may mean you have to leave and abandoned your studies, how likely would you be to do so? Education is key to creating better global citizens, and anything that can be done to keep students in school and focused on their classes is worth doing.

How Closely Will the Provider Work with Our Staff?

Some insurance companies will offer low cost plans that seem like a good deal at first. But often this low price means that they’re unable to provide service and support to you and your staff when you need it. As you’re forced to take on more of the workload, the cost from time and resources can far outweigh the upfront savings.

Instead, look for a provider who is willing to form a close relationship with you, has the capabilities and processes in place to simplify and reduce the workload for your staff, and will step in in the case of an emergency to make sure your school and students are well taken care of. A willingness to go above and beyond can make the difference between a negative experience that damages your reputation and a positive one that demonstrates your interest in student success.

It’s About More Than Just the Policy When It Comes to Student Insurance Plans

The policy itself is important, and making sure students have the coverage they need is critical. But more than that, you need to look beyond the basic policy and understand the company that’s providing it. Are they willing to go above and beyond when needed? Will they support you and your staff in the day-to-day workload? Are they going to help the student stay in the country and finish their studies whenever possible? Will they, in the unfortunate event of a death, represent your school professionally and make the experience of dealing with the insurance process as painless as possible for the family?

All of these questions should be asked before choosing a student insurance plan for your school.


Maryann Brown is Chief Operating Officer at


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