Office of Study Abroad

Insurance and Travel Assistance Coverage

Study abroad offers many opportunities for growth and exploration. However, travel and study abroad always involves some elements of risk. The Office of Study Abroad at Brandeis University urges students and families to discuss their potential health and safety concerns, then learn about the insurance coverage available through their families, Brandeis University, and their study abroad programs.

Health Insurance Requirements

International Sickness and Accident Insurance

All Brandeis University students who participate on an approved study abroad program must ensure they obtain coverage from a comprehensive international sickness and accident insurance plan. Many programs will automatically enroll students in a comprehensive plan. Students must ensure that they have adequate insurance coverage for their particular circumstances.

If your program does not provide comprehensive international sickness and accident insurance coverage, you will be required to enroll in the Brandeis international sickness and accident plan offered through Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI), which provides international insurance coverage for students through a comprehensive plan (contact for policy details). Please note that all Brandeis-run study abroad programs automatically enroll students in CISI insurance for the duration of the program.

Maintaining U.S. Coverage

You must retain your U.S. health insurance even while overseas. This will cover you both before you leave and after you return from your program. Should you have an accident or illness overseas that requires long-term care, you will have insurance upon your return to cover these expenses. Please also note that since you will be an enrolled, full-time Brandeis student while you are abroad, the same insurance regulations that affect you while you are in Waltham will still apply.

Zurich Travel Assistance Program

For students studying abroad on an approved program in the summer, fall, spring or year, they will be covered by the Zurich Travel Assistance Program.

Brandeis University has contracted with Zurich to provide worldwide travel assistance to all study abroad participants. In addition to the coverage provided by your health insurance, Zurich has arranged to provide Brandeis students studying abroad with access to its network of travel services around the world.

Zurich Travel Assist 24/7 Travel Assistance Services-World Travel Protection: Students can contact World Travel Protection 24/7 by calling +1-866-224-0146 (from inside the US) or +1-416-645-4682 (from outside of the US). The World Travel Protection Team can help with:

  • When you require a referral to a hospital or doctor
  • When you are hospitalized
  • When you need to be evacuated
  • When you need to guarantee payment for medical expenses
  • When you experience a local communication problem
  • When your safety is threatened by the sudden occurrence of a political or military event

To access these benefits, students must first contact Zurich before accessing resources to be eligible for any claims. Staff in the Office of Study Abroad can help with this process.

We encourage all students to create an account by visiting Zurich Travel Assist and clicking on the "Travel Risk" tab to access the Travel Intelligence Portal. On the portal, register with policy number # GPT4851115. Here you can access more information on the policy, access travel risk and security information, print a membership card and access contact information. You can also download the Travel Assist app for additional support and alerts on your phone. For emergencies and live support in the U.S., call toll-free at (866) 224-0146. For Worldwide Collect, call +1 (416) 645-4682. When calling, please identity yourself as an insured member of Zurich in North America.

Mental Health Support

If you are hoping to access therapy support while abroad, we recommend planning in advance for this when possible. Many programs have mental health support available as part of their insurance plan but also keep in mind that access to therapy can look different in many different countries (some plans might include a few visits or virtual services; others might not).

For students seeking mental health support, the Brandeis Office of Study Abroad recommends students consider purchasing additional coverage through CISI (if not already on this plan). The Brandeis CISI insurance plan does cover mental health support and does have some virtual counseling services through SINEWS. Any Office of Study Abroad staff member would be happy to meet and discuss options further. Please note this plan can only be purchased prior to departing for abroad.

Travel/Personal Property Insurance

We strongly encourage you to obtain insurance against theft and/ or damage to your personal effects for the period of time you will be abroad. Most programs do not provide insurance for your possessions, like stolen cell phones or laptops. Unfortunately, theft of these items is the top incident abroad so don't let it leave you stressed out financially! Your family's homeowner's insurance or rental insurance may provide coverage.

Independent Travel

Keep in mind that if you have special insurance needs, or if you plan any travel before, during, or after the program, you are responsible for obtaining appropriate coverage.