By Marco Maisano

Let’s talk about that scary little 9 letter word………. Insurance.

It’s what every Parent of an international student athlete is scared of……….Sports injuries….

How are you taken care of? what insurance covers you?

Little disclaimer……I just want to make note that any company that I do mention in this blog today, nor I or NSR is affiliated with or any company for that matter. We don’t receive commissions or partner with them in any shape or form. All readers are to do their own due diligence when it comes to insurance and insurance providers.

These companies are ones that our athletes have used in the past and some are also through our own research. Insurance is obviously super important to have as an international student athlete heading over to the States. Very important.

We have all heard the comments about how bad and terrible the state of insurance is in the US.


From the onset…Yes, It’s something that you need to have.

It’s not just important to have. It’s by law, by nature of your Visa, you’re required to have it.

To put this into perspective for you, let’s say you have committed to a college. You’re now booking flights. Insurance is something that happens in the later stages, of the admissions process and booking flights. It’s something that happens at the end of the process.

Insurance is the last thing that you do before you jump on a plane and head to the US. I know a lot of people like to plan and have things ready as early as possible, but again, there’s some reasons as to why it’s the last thing that you do. And really, there’s plenty of good companies out there and there’s plenty of ways to get insured, so it’s not something that you have to organize 12 months out or anything like that.

So what steps do I need to take?

Once you’ve committed to a school, you’ve gone through the whole application process, you’ve gone through Visas, you’ve gone to your Visa appointment, You’ve got your Visa back, you’re booking flights, and now you’re looking at insurance.

The first thing to do with insurance is to be in contact with the actual school that you’re going to be heading to and ask them what they currently have in place.

First Question to ask…… Is there a policy that is required through the school that international students must take out?

Or is it not directly through the school, but a partner company that they prefer you take coverage out from? And again, they’ll give you suggestions on what to do if that is the case.

If the college you have been admitted into requires their international students to take out a particular insurance policy, then you know that you’re going to be covered for absolutely everything that you need to be covered for. If they’re suggesting a company for you to go through and a policy to take out, it may or may not be required, at least you know what they’re proposing to you is going to have you covered for everything that you need to be covered for.

In very much the same way as any athlete pays a registration fee to their state federation here in Australia or New Zealand if you play in NPL soccer, for instance, you’re paying 2,500 dollars or 3,500 Dollars to Football Federation Victoria or anything sanctioned by Football Federation Victoria, all the matches, if any injuries happen, you’re covered under the federation’s liability insurance policy.

Schools will also have that with full-time athletes in all different sorts of sports. Anything that is sanctioned by the college, any school-sanctioned event, school sport, any injury that takes place, you’re going to be covered for by the college’s insurance policy. Now, how much coverage that’s going to provide will be based on, the individual college’s insurance policy plus the severity of the injury.

What about just on campus? …………………………………..As in…..I hurt myself running to class (FYI No-one ever runs to class, I know I didn’t’, in fact, I used to run away from class especially when Mr Jones was teaching-but hey that won’t mean too much unless you read my last blog)

Back to the point…..if something were to happen to you on campus, not just in athletic participation, but if you were to trip and fall on campus or something in the dorms, you would be covered to a certain extent.

For eg: somebody left a banana peel in the hallway and whilst walking back to your dorms you slip on it …and you smash the wall, and … Something happens, the school would cover you for that.

The first step is to always speak with the college that you’re going to be going to. Figure out if they have a policy that they require you to take out.

If so, then your answer is very simple: that’s the policy that you take out.

What about if something were to happen outside of school? … That’s when your traveler’s insurance or other insurance policies will kick in.

You need to make sure that you have coverage for anything outside of sports. If you’re getting coverage for things outside of sport but that package also includes some additional sports coverage, then that’s also a big bonus, especially if you’re an athlete. Or even if you’re not an athlete but you like extreme sports or snowboarding, it can be very beneficial for you.

Will my son or daughter (or me) be covered athletically whilst competing for the college?

Obviously, you’re more likely to get injured kicking a soccer ball than you are sat in a classroom (They won’t cover you for death from boredom…. speaking to you here Mr Jones!)

Or swinging a hockey stick or shooting some hoops. Or Playing some tennis, anything. Chess.

You’re probably more likely to get injured playing chess than you are sat in a classroom listening to a teacher (unless it’s Mr Jones)

If you get injured while competing … Just like you pay registration to your federation for whatever sport that you play, any school-sanctioned sponsored event, then the school is going to cover you for athletic participation and injuries.

What’s important to remember at this stage is that you’ve got full-time medical staff on campus too.

You don’t have to worry about any insurance to cover any treatment or physio or anything like that. It’s the serious injuries. In most cases the college covers you for 85 percent (there or thereabouts) of the costs of the surgery and everything else, which is a good chunk. Your college’s insurance policy may cover 100 percent of the costs and you don’t have to worry about anything else.

All claims are handled through the athletic trainer, who does all the paperwork and files it through the school’s insurance.

In a case where maybe the cost of treating an injury or a surgery may exceed what the college covers … Let’s say the college covers 85 percent of the cost. Well, then 15 percent of the cost will be covered by the student and the personal insurance policy they have taken out.

Every school is a little bit different. It’s hard to give you an all-encompassing answer other than the     fact that every school is a little bit different (Disclaimer here again as we end this blog) Being that they’re running full-time athletic programs where there’s as much training in place and games and everything happening throughout the year, they are going to have good insurance policies that cover their athletes for all school-sanctioned events.

What you want to do as an international student who wishes to study in the US on scholarship (or not on scholarship) is make sure that your insurance coverage, your international student coverage, wherever possible, whether it be through the … the school’s required policy or it be through a third-party company, that you also get the coverage for injuries as well, because not all companies do.