Placements

Students who are undertaking a placement abroad as part of their degree programme (or undergraduates undertaking a vacation internship abroad for extra-ECTS credit) should first consult their academic department, and refer to the placement information for students. In particular, students travelling abroad on a placement should read the Placements Abroad Handbook, which includes information on the College’s Overseas Travel Insurance.

COVID-19 and Student Placements Abroad: College Travel Insurance Guidance

(Updated 22nd September 2020) 

Our current insurance policy expires on 31 October 2020.  All information provided in the FAQs below are current at the time the information was updated on this webpage. While we will look to renew the policy on a similar basis, this isn’t guaranteed.  If you are planning on being abroad after 31 October (including placements already started), please check back regularly for any updates which may affect you.

The College currently advise limiting student travel for placements to only that which is essential for study reasons, whether the host country is an exempted country or not. The insurance policy is defined by FCO advice. Your department will consider whether your placement is “essential”. Read the relevant FAQs below.

If you are currently abroad for study reasons, the travel insurance policy will continue to cover emergency medical expenses (except where you are located in your Country of Residence) and is expected to cover the cost for repatriation to the UK (where the UK is your Country of Residence) or your Country of Residence (where not the UK).  However, please note a.) there is a UK governmental policy exclusion, whereby claims including repatriation made as a result of non-UK Government regulations are NOT covered; and b.) to reaffirm that if you are in your Country of Residence (studying remotely for the placement provider, including a host study abroad university, in the same or different country) then you are NOT covered by emergency medical expenses nor repatriation cover. Read the relevant FAQs below.

General enquiries about the Travel Insurance

Consult the College Travel Insurance intranet page  (requires College login/password)

You can consult general guidance on undertaking a placement, including a Placements Abroad Handbook (which includes a commentary on the normal cover provided by the College’s travel insurance policy)

If the information presented here does not answer your query then you can address any further queries to student.placement@imperial.ac.uk

 FAQs - College Travel Insurance Guidance  

Student Travel Insurance FAQs

General placement abroad

  1.  What does the College define as a “placement”?

A “placement” is defined as “work experience, assessed project work, a period of course-based study or a period of research (for which academic credit is awarded and/or where the student remains subject to College student regulations during the relevant period) and where there is a transfer of direct supervision of the student to a third party (i.e. where a member of staff at the third party acts as the day-to-day supervisor/manager) for a period of 2 weeks or more.”

  2. How does the insurance works if I travel while on a placement?

The policy is intended for College Business only.  If your placement includes any schedule intervals which allows you enough time to travel back home (UK or your Country of Residence), the policy is expected to operate but will be dependent on the FCO advice at the time of any bookings you make for travel and accommodation back to your placement host country.

Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice - Exempt Country

3.      I am a student planning a placement abroad to an (FCO) exempted country – should I continue to book overseas travel?

Before you make any travel arrangements, your department will need to have advised you that your intended travel (your placement abroad) is essential to your degree programme (and this should be granted by your Head of Department, via your Placement Manager). Your department should complete a covid-19 risk assessment (or amend a risk assessment already undertaken) with the assistance of their Department or Faculty Health and Safety Officer, ensuring you consider medical assistance abroad, such as your closest hospital and how you would return to the UK if there were no flights available.

You will also need to regularly check the FCO website to make sure the status of an exempt Country has not changed and also that the circumstances in that Country itself have not changed. If they have discuss with your department.

 4.      My trip to an (FCO) exempted country has been approved by my department as “essential”. What cover will be available under the policy?

The cover in force will be the normal cover.

5.      If I book travel to a (FCO) exempt country and the government revokes this exemption before I travel will I be able to cancel the booking and make an insurance claim to recover the costs?

Yes. The insurance policy will cover you in these circumstances where the government has announced a change before you travel. However, the insurance provider will expect you to use your best endeavours to recover the costs from the airlines and other travel providers before settling any claim.

It may also be worthwhile taking into consideration the booking of only flexible and refundable tickets but learning of any implications Airlines may have for further disruption in their own Cancellation Policies before doing so.

 6.      I booked a flight to an (FCO) exempt country, but the host country has now imposed restrictions to anyone entering from the UK. Will the insurance policy reimburse me if I decide to cancel my trip?

The policy excludes claims which result from a non-UK Governments ‘regulations made by any public authority or government or persons with the authority under legislation or licence to make regulations;’

7.     Is the insurance cover affected if I travel to an exempt country and the UK’s FCO exempt status changes?

The cover is unaffected providing there are no changes to your travel arrangements. If you are abroad and decide to return early to the UK or your Country of Residence, then the insurance policy would only consider the pre-booked return flight cost.  If a new ticket is purchased to return to the UK early, then claims will only be considered by insurers for the additional expenses incurred if there is evidence that efforts were made with the Airline to try and move the original booking.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Advice – All but essential international travel / non-exempt country

8.       I am a student planning a placement abroad to a (FCO) non-exempted country should I continue to book overseas travel? 

Before you make any travel arrangements, your department will need to have advised you that your intended travel (your placement abroad) is essential to your degree programme (and this should be granted by your Head of Department, via your Placement Manager). Your department should complete a covid-19 risk assessment (or amend a risk assessment already undertaken) with the assistance of their Department or Faculty Health and Safety Officer, ensuring you consider medical assistance abroad, such as your closest hospital and how you would return to the UK if there were no flights available.

You will also need to regularly check the FCO website to make sure the status of a non-exempt Country has not changed and also that the circumstances in that Country itself have not changed. If they have discuss with your department.

9.     My trip to a (FCO) non-exempt country has been approved by the Head of Department as “essential”. What cover will be available under the policy?

Cover will remain in force for the following benefits:

•             Personal Accident
•             Medical Expenses (including COVID)
•             Personal property
•             Money
•             Kidnap and Ransom
•             Personal Liability/Legal Expenses

Cover will not apply for the following:

•             Cancellation/Curtailment
•             2. Political/Natural Disaster Evacuation
•             Crisis Management

Information on emergency medical expenses and quarantine / self -isolation

10.      Will medical insurance cover be in place if I fall ill when travelling overseas?

The policy will continue to cover emergency medical expenses incurred including those resulting from COVID-19, regardless of FCO guidance.

If a traveller contracts COVID-19, cover is in place to respond to Medical Expenses that were reasonably incurred during a journey outside an Insured Person’s Country of Domicile. If a traveller feels unwell during a trip, they should contact Healix, the College insurers medical assistance provider  on +44 (0)208 608 4100.

COVID-19 may have had an impact on local public health overseas, so it is advised that you stay aware of other travel-related infectious diseases. Specifically, take care to stay up-to-date with travel health recommendations (including immunisations) relevant to destinations. If you are considered to be vulnerable to COVID-19 then you should be aware that if you are infected with COVID-19 that you may be at increased risk of severe infection.

Further guidance from Healix can be found on the following link:

https://healix.com/sharing-knowledge-and-news/covid-19-advice/?utm_content=121370933&utm_medium=social&utm_source=linkedin&hss_channel=lcp-5085793

11.       Will the insurance cover any costs associated with quarantine and/or self-isolation?

No. The travel insurance policy does not provide cover for self-isolation or quarantine and is intended to assist with returning to the UK or Country of Residence. Please make you have fully considered self-isolation in the UK and abroad when undertaking your pre-travel risk assessment and discuss this fully with your Placement Manager before making a decision to travel.

If it is deemed medically necessary (by Healix or a medical practitioner) to self-isolate and additional costs are incurred, our insurer will review and consider the claim. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england

 12.       What should I do before I return to the UK from overseas?

Please follow the latest government requirements and advice when entering the UK following a trip from abroad. If you make any stopovers or interchanges the requirements for those apply in addition, even if you don’t leave the airport or rail station.

At present you must complete a government form online before you arrive in the UK from any country. This includes if you’re travelling from a country or territory where you do not have to self-isolate when you arrive in the UK. You must complete this form even if you’ve already completed a different form to enter another country. Please bear in mind you may also need to consider the regulations within the country you are leaving or if there are any other special considerations such as local restrictions at a stop-over destination on your journey home.

If you do not complete the form before you arrive in the UK, it might take you longer to enter the UK.

You cannot submit the form until 48 hours before you’re due to arrive in the UK.

This is a free service. You do not need to pay another website or business to provide your contact details for you.

You must complete the form online. Do not print out the form and fill it in by hand.

When you arrive at the UK border you’ll need to show either:

  • a printed copy of your confirmation email
  • the confirmation email on your phone

The government will use this information to contact you if you or someone you’ve travelled with develops coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

If you need to self-isolate for the first 14 days after you arrive in the UK, the government will also use the information to check that you’re self-isolating.

Travel Assistance

13.      I am a student (undergraduate or postgraduate) currently on a study/work/industrial/research placement abroad and I am concerned about the situation regarding covid-19 in my host country- should I return to my home country?

Please continue to discuss with your home department and follow their advice.

14.      I am a student (undergraduate or postgraduate) planning on undertaking a study /work/industrial/research placement abroad (later this academic year or during next academic year) and I am concerned should I not be able to participate how this might impact on my degree programme - what should I do

You should discuss with your home department and be guided by their advice.

14.      How do I get more information about the country I’m visiting?

For country advice and assistance please use: Drum Cussac RiskMonitor Traveller, an advanced online country/city risk intelligence service.  Travellers would need to self-register at https://www.drum-cussac.net/self-registration


15.      How do I register for the Travel Insurance and are there any APPS I can use for travel risk and medical assistance?

After registering (College intranet) your overseas travel you can download both the Travel Certificate and the RSA Travel app for pre travel information as well as pre-programmed access to insurers 24-hour helpline and direct access to Healix for medical assistance.  The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.   You need to enter the Policy number RTT 306251 as part of the download process.

The Travel Certificate is for the period up to 31 October, and a NEW Travel Certificate will be available during October. Do not forget to download the new Travel Certificate.

16.      What are the travel assistance contact details?

If you contract COVID-19 while abroad, it should be noted that the local domestic health authority will be treating patients, in line with the global response.

Should you need to make contact with the Insurers in an emergency:

In all instances remember to quote your policy number: RTT306251

  • For medical emergencies that require urgent assistance, call local emergency services. Please make sure you are aware of the number prior to travel. As soon as possible thereafter call the Medical & Security Assistance telephone helpline on: +44 (0) 208 608 4100 
  • For any other medical services not requiring emergency services, to discuss your situation and identify an appropriate medical centre to obtain treatment from please also call the Medical & Security Assistance telephone the helpline on: +44 (0) 208 608 4100
  •  For Emergency Security Assistance also call +44 (0) 208 608 4100 explaining this is a security enquiry. This number is operated by Healix International but they will transfer any Security Assistance calls to Drum Cussac. 
  • If you require additional information relating to Medical or Security Assistance which is not available within the Healix App or via Risk Monitor, please also telephone the helpline: +44 (0) 208 608 4100.