Relying on your parents
More than half of the RUG students surveyed are still covered under their parents’ insurance, according to the results of a survey by the UK.
Of the students who are responsible for their own health insurance, less than half occasionally switch providers, which is better than the national average.
More than 72 per cent consider having at least one supplementary insurance package, according to data from 40,000 students from the comparison website Independer.
Dental insurance, physical therapy insurance and supplementary coverage abroad are the most popular supplementary insurance packages.
Among students, 57 per cent do not have household contents insurance and are therefore not insured in the event of a fire, leak or burglary. That is a bad idea, student police agent Edwin Valkema says.
As for liability insurance, 41 per cent of students are covered. That’s not unwise, says the Consumer Association, but it may overlap other insurance policies.
Unmarried students living away from home are often covered by their parents’ insurance by default.
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Now that the end of the calendar year is approaching, all health insurance providers are announcing their monthly premiums for the coming year. For some, this is a good opportunity to reconsider their insurance policy.
But for many students, that’s not the case. From a sample of 100 students, two-thirds of those surveyed said that they never change their health insurance provider; however, it should be noted that more than half are still insured by their parents. Among students who are responsible for their own health insurance, 46 per cent occasionally switch providers.
That is actually better than the nation average, says Maarten Hoekstra, marketing manager at the comparison website Independer. ‘Seventy per cent of people have not switched their health insurance provider since the current system was implemented in 2006. They often have overly broad coverage and thus pay much more for their premium than is necessary. The people who switch regularly benefit from this. Those who stay with an insurance company pay for those who switch in the end, and those who are switching are often young, highly educated people.’
Health insurance policies come in all sorts and price brackets, but a basic insurance package is mandatory for everyone. The government decides each year what to include in the basic package. For the coming year, nothing will be removed from the basic package, and what few additions there are will not be relevant for most students. Nevertheless, it’s worth the trouble to pay attention. ‘Students often don’t need more than a basic insurance package, but even with only a basic package, the difference between the most expensive and inexpensive insurance packages from different providers is more than 300 euros per year’, says Hoekstra.
Household contents insurance
While most people have health insurance, household contents, liability and travel insurance are less popular.
Consequently, 57 per cent of the students surveyed do not have household contents insurance. That’s a bad idea, according to student police agent Edwin Valkema. ‘Household contents insurance costs next to nothing, but if you don’t have it and something happens, then you’re left empty handed.’ Household contents insurance covers damage if your house burns down, for example, but also if someone breaks in and steals your laptop or tv – if the thief leaves a trace behind, that is. According to the Customer Association (Consumentenbond), it is stated in many policy documents that if no trace has been left behind, the insured person will not be compensated.
• Students’ insurance choices according to Independer
Supplemental dental coverage ≤ € 250
Supplemental dental coverage > € 250
Coverage abroad within Europe
Coverage abroad outside Europe
And that is the crux of the problem, says Valkema. ‘The doors of student houses are often opened with a credit card, so there is no sign of damage. You have to prevent this from happening; otherwise, you don’t get anything back, even though you are insured.’ This can be done in two ways: by installing an anti-theft door reinforcer or by always locking the door with the key. A good door policy is often difficult to enforce in big student houses, as Valkema is well aware. ‘Just install a anti-theft door reinforcer, because then at least your door can’t be easily opened.’
Although it’s not legally compulsory, it is a moral obligation to have liability insurance, says the Consumer Association. However, among surveyed students, only 41 per cent indicated that they had it. But do they need it? Not usually. Students who are unmarried and living away from home are often covered by default under their parents’ liability insurance for private individuals (VPA), says the Consumer Association. In some cases, they are still covered by their parents’ policy even after they get married.
• Cost of insurance policies among students
Liability insurance is often referred to as an unjust legal liability. It therefore gives the impression that it is legally mandatory for everyone, but that is not true. However, it is not an unnecessary luxury. If you break something or cause someone injury, it can save you a lot of money. If you have a car, motorcycle, moped or other motorized vehicle registered in your name, then liability insurance is mandatory.
Among the surveyed students, 54 percent said that they had travel insurance. According to the Customer Association, travel insurance is vital in emergencies which are not covered by other insurances. ‘Think of repatriation, a longer stay or extra travel costs as a consequence of accidents, illness or death. These kinds of occurrences commonly cost a lot of money and time, and are not covered by any other insurance.’
And one last tip for students who travel a great deal: if you are abroad for more than two weeks a year, ongoing travel insurance is often cheaper than a temporary policy. Be aware that ongoing travel insurance often has a maximum trip duration. If you are going on a world trip, it is better to go for a different insurance.
5 tips for the switcher
Look out for student discounts or student insurance. Some insurers have special supplementary packages that are especially interesting to students, while others offer student discounts on their premiums as students typically have few healthcare costs.
Think carefully about whether you need a supplementary insurance package or not. You can quickly end up paying more in premiums that what you get back in compensation.
You can lower your monthly premium by increasing your deductibles. Think in advance about what you will need compensated in the next year. Do you have prescriptions for medication or do you regularly see a specialist at the hospital? Then perhaps it’s not advisable to increase your deductible excess.
If you are going to study abroad for a semester, you can still keep your Dutch health insurance. However, if you are going away for longer or want to work abroad, then you have to sort out health insurance there.
Pay attention to the conditions and specifications of your insurance. With certain insurers, you can go to any healthcare provider, but some may be bound to specific providers with whom they have contracts. If you go to a healthcare provider with whom your insurance does not have a contract, then there is a chance that you will have to pay the costs yourself. Some insurers also require a medical statement before they will accept your chosen healthcare package. Sometimes, no medical acceptance is needed; instead, there is a waiting period. In such a case, you are accepted immediately, but are only allowed to make use of healthcare reimbursements after a year.