Health & Insurance

The Department of Foreign Affairs recommends that all students going abroad should be covered by comprehensive health and travel insurance policies. NUI Galway urges you to follow this advice.

European Health Insurance Card - a "must-have"

If you are an Irish resident, you are entitled to necessary healthcare in the public system of any EU/EEA member state or Switzerland if you become ill or injured while on a temporary stay in that country, but to avail of this, you must make sure to carry a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). One card is needed for each individual or member of the family. You can apply for the card through your local HSE Office.

 You should note that the EHIC does not cover the cost of treatment in a private setting, and that entitlements through the public health system may vary from country to country. It is advisable to consult the EHIC website for more detailed information; in particular, you should click on the link “Healthcare Services in other EU/EEA Countries” to ensure that you are aware of the cover and possible limitations that will apply in countries where you will be studying or travelling during your Erasmus visit.

Private Insurance - now obligatory for all NUI Galway students going on Erasmus

Under the rules of the Erasmus programme set out by the HEA on behalf of the European Commission in Brussels, you will be required to take out some form of private insurance policy to cover you while you are studying abroad. You cannot rely on the healthcare cover provided by the EHIC as this may be quite limited. Public healthcare systems vary from country to country, and few countries pay the full cost of healthcare for holders of the EHIC. The EHIC does not cover the cost of repatriation. In addition, illness or an accident abroad may mean extra travel and accommodation costs.  You will also need to be covered for eventualities like cancelled/delayed flights and the loss/theft of luggage, personal belongings or money.

Please note that from the academic year 2016/17, students going on Erasmus study visits will be required to provide the name of their insurer and the policy name and number when completing their Erasmus grant agreement.  Without this information, the grant agreement will be considered invalid and the student will not be eligible for the Erasmus grant.  Students going on Erasmus traineeships will be required to provide details of their insurance cover to the International Office before their grant agreements can be issued.

If you are covered by your own or your parents’ private health insurance plan, you should confirm the actual level of cover you will have while abroad. Ensure that travel, medical treatment and repatriation are included (and personal liabilty too, if you are going on a traineeship/work placement).  Find out whether there is a stipulation about the duration of any one single trip - for instance, some policies set a limit of 60 days for a single trip, and this clearly wouldn't cover you for a stay abroad where you will be away continuously for a longer period, although you may be able to arrange "extended stay" cover for a small additional fee.  You can establish all of this quite easily by carefully reading the policy document or by contacting the health insurance company directly. You may be able to purchase additional cover for travel insurance if this is not included in the existing policy.  Please note that the International Office will not be able to advise on the suitability of various policies, and the onus is on you to ensure that you are adequately covered.  

Alternatively, there are a number of companies that offer travel insurance packages tailored to the needs of students going on Erasmus.  The International Office can provide you with the details of these. Again, please note that the International Office will not be able to advise on the suitability of various policies, and the onus is on you to ensure that you are adequately covered.  You should examine carefully the conditions of your intended insurance policy and check, for instance, whether there are restrictions in relation to making trips home during the course of your Erasmus visit, and ensure that the policy you purchase is suitable for your needs.  We would emphasise that we consider it inadvisable to make frequent trips home during your Erasmus stay abroad, as this prevents you settling in and deriving maximum benefit from the experience. 

You must make sure that your chosen policy is valid for the full duration of your Erasmus visit (and if you plan to remain abroad beyond the offiical finish date, you should set the insurance policy end date accordingly).

Make sure that you keep a record of any emergency numbers provided by the insurance company in case you have to make a claim. Having the details readily to hand will alleviate some of the stress if you are in a difficult situation.  Should you find yourself in circumstances where you will have to make a claim, you should contact the insurance company immediately, as a delay in doing this could affect your claim.


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