Student health and travel insurance

Last updated: 2 March 2020

Health and travel insurance information for students who plan to study English in the UK

We recommend that you have international student travel insurance when you study English in the UK so you can relax and enjoy your time studying.

Insurance can protect you if you lose your passport, need to end your course early due to illness, or if you need medical care while you are studying in the UK.

What kind of travel insurance do I need to study English in the UK?

We suggest that you have international student travel insurance, which is designed especially for students studying abroad. 

Your language school or your agent can usually recommend insurance to meet your needs. Make sure to buy the insurance before you travel to the UK so you are protected from arrival.

What should my student travel insurance cover?

We recommend that you have an insurance policy that covers the cost of:

  • Replacing a lost passport or visa
  • Replacing luggage that is lost or stolen
  • Course fees, if you need to end your course early due to illness or accident
  • Medical bills in the UK if you are ill or have an accident
  • Emergency dental treatment
  • Returning home for medical reasons (this is called repatriation)

Emergency health services are free for all visitors

All students can access emergency healthcare free of charge in the UK. If you need an ambulance when you are in the UK, phone 999 (911 also works). 

There is no cost to call an ambulance or for emergency services at public hospitals. There is a cost if you need to stay in hospital or if you need further treatment. International visitors will pay a high cost for hospital stays or further treatment in the UK, so make sure you have insurance covering all medical costs.

European visitors with a European Health Insurance Card can access other services for free until the end of 2020

If you have a European Health Insurance Card you can access the UK's public health services free of charge until the end of 2020. 

This card is available to anyone who is insured by or covered by a state social security system in any Member State of the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. 

You should apply for the card before you travel to the UK. You may need to show your card if you need treatment at a hospital or doctors surgery.

This card will no longer be valid in the UK from the start of 2021, so European students will need to have travel insurance which covers medical costs.

Students who apply for a visa to study for more than six months pay the immigration health surcharge

You must pay the immigration health surcharge if you apply for a visa to study for more than six months. 

You pay the fee as part of your online visa application. You can then access national health services in the UK during your stay. This includes free doctors appointments and hospital services. 

If your visa is valid for between six and 12 months, the cost is £300. The cost increases with the length of the visa.

All other students should have travel insurance which covers medical costs

Students studying for six months or less should take out travel insurance covering medical costs in case they need to access healthcare in the UK.