Policy on Insurance for Study and Travel Abroad


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Policy on Insurance for Study and Travel Abroad

Reason for Policy

Accidents or sickness which occurs while traveling internationally pose unique challenges. Participants may be unfamiliar with the medical services and locations of their host country. Language barriers and different billing requirements may affect prompt medical services. In addition, serious injuries may require the need for medical evacuation or repatriation services. In order to make the travel experience safer, the UNC General Administration adopted this insurance requirement for all UNC System-sponsored international programs.

Policy Statement

All undergraduate and graduate students must have insurance coverage for basic medical services while participating in a University-sponsored international education program. The University offers a comprehensive accident and sickness insurance policy specially designed for students, faculty, and staff participating in international programs. This coverage can be obtained by enrolling in the University's travel abroad insurance program administered by the department of Risk Management Services.

Students traveling internationally may decline to participate in this University-sponsored insurance program. However, they must still provide evidence of comparable insurance coverage.

Faculty and staff traveling internationally for official University business are required to maintain this insurance.


International education programs not sponsored or approved by the University are not subject to this policy. Students, faculty, or staff whose international travel is independent of the University are not subject to this policy, nor may they be eligible to enroll in the University's travel abroad insurance program.

Special Situations

With the array of international projects and travel the University conducts, students, faculty, or staff should contact Risk Management Services to determine whether they are eligible for the University's travel abroad insurance program.

Spouses and other family members accompanying University students, faculty, or staff may be eligible for this travel abroad insurance program.

Additional Information

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are students required to have health insurance while studying abroad?
A: Students who participate in a University-sponsored study abroad or other international education program are required to have insurance coverage for basic medical services. This is a UNC System-wide policy enacted by the University Council of International Programs.

Q: Do I have to purchase the insurance the University offers?
A: Students are not required to participate in the University's travel abroad insurance program. However, students who decline this coverage must provide evidence that they are covered by a comparable insurance policy. The student's study or travel abroad administrator is required to determine whether the alternative health insurance meets the necessary criteria of comparability. The guidelines for determining comparability can be obtained by contacting Risk Management Services. If comparable coverage is in place, it is still recommended that the student purchase the medical evacuation and repatriation portion of the coverage.

Q: Do faculty and staff have to have health insurance coverage while conducting University business warranting international travel?
A: Faculty and staff traveling internationally for official University business are now required to maintain travel insurance. The University's workers' compensation insurance coverage will respond to their on-the-job injuries while traveling internationally. However, there may be non-work-related situations where workers' compensation insurance is not applicable and personal health insurance is needed.

Q: How much does the University's travel abroad insurance cost?
A: The cost of this insurance is about $1 per day for students and about $3-4 per day for faculty/staff. Insurance rates are subject to change at the policy renewal period, which is currently in August of each year. Contact Risk Management Services for all the current rates and coverage options.

Q: How do I enroll in the University's travel abroad insurance program?
A: Enrollment should be made through a department's study abroad or travel administrator. The administrator should complete a Study Abroad Insurance Request Form and submit it to Risk Management Services.

Q: How soon can the insurance become effective?
A: Insurance coverage can be implemented immediately once a properly completed Study Abroad Insurance Request Form is submitted to Risk Management Services. However, it is preferred that forms be submitted at least one week in advance of the participant's departure date. This allows time to process the application and distribute the insurance ID card.

Q: Once I enroll in the University's study and travel abroad insurance program, what verification will I receive that my coverage is in force?
A: Participants will receive an insurance ID card either from their study abroad or travel administrator or via email. The card provides an ID number and claims information. This card should be carried with you during your international travel.

Related Requirements

External Regulations and Consequences

University Policies, Standards, and Procedures


Contact Information
Insurance for study or travel abroad Risk Management Services 919-962-6681 919-962-0636 risk@unc.edu


February 5, 2014: Changed information on cost of travel abroad insurance.
August 9, 2013: Changed information on insurance requirements.
March 8, 2010

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Article ID: 131852
Thu 4/8/21 9:18 PM
Thu 7/29/21 5:12 PM
Responsible Unit
School, Department, or other organizational unit issuing this document.
Risk Management Services and Mission Continuity
Issuing Officer
Name of the document Issuing Officer. This is the individual whose organizational authority covers the policy scope and who is primarily responsible for the policy.
Issuing Officer Title
Title of the person who is primarily responsible for issuing this policy.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Safety and Risk Management
Next Review
Date on which the next document review is due.
02/05/2019 12:00 AM
Last Review
Date on which the most recent document review was completed.
02/04/2014 11:00 PM
Last Revised
Date on which the most recent changes to this document were approved.
02/04/2014 11:00 PM
Effective Date
If the date on which this document became/becomes enforceable differs from the Origination or Last Revision, this attribute reflects the date on which it is/was enforcable.
02/04/2014 11:00 PM
Date on which the original version of this document was first made official.
08/01/2003 12:00 AM