The University of Otago requires all enrolled international students (including doctoral students) to have approved health and travel insurance for the duration of study (regardless of the visa type).
International students will automatically be charged for the insurance policy Studentsafe Inbound University.
Applying for insurance cover is easy; accept your offer of place in eVision then complete the insurance declaration under “Information required for 2023 study” during the Course Enrolment process.
For Pathway and English Language Centre students you will automatically have insurance added to your offer of place.
You can pay your insurance premium when you arrive on campus, your invoice will become available on the “My Account” page of your eVision portal.
There is no application form to complete unless:
- you have a pre-existing condition;
- you wish to have a family member(s) included on your policy.
Please ensure you read the policy wording so you understand your coverage, any policy exclusions and when excess applies:
Insurance for international students
The Education (Pastoral Care of Teritary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 (the Code) requires all international students to have appropriate medical and travel insurance during their period of study.
It is the University of Otago's responsibility under the Code to ensure all enrolled international students have compliant medical and travel insurance that meets the Universities minimum requirements.
Our recommended insurance
Studentsafe Inbound University is our recommended insurance policy. This is a comprehensive insurance policy designed and supported by all the universities in New Zealand.
All international students will be charged for this insurance policy unless you have had confirmation from the University of Otago that your alternative insurance policy is compliant.
How do I apply?
Once you have accepted your offer of place the Course Enrolment steps in eVision will become available. You will need to select what insurance policy type you would like (individual, couple, or family) during the 'Information required for 2023' step. Once this is completed an insurance record will be created.
An invoice for your insurance will be added to your 'My Account' in eVision. Depending on when you start studying at Otago, this may take several weeks to show on your account.
For Pathway and English Language Centre students you will automatically have insurance added on your offer. If you wish to purchase a couple or family insurance policy, please contact:
There is no application form to complete unless you have a pre-existing condition, you are over 60 years of age, and/or you wish to include your partner and/or children in your policy.
Your cover under Studentsafe Inbound University will start 31 days before classes begin so you're you are covered for your journey to New Zealand if your travel plans correspond with this timeframe. You do not have to pay for your insurance until you get here and finalise your enrolment. If you want to you can choose to pay for your insurance at the same time you pay your fees before you arrive.
How much does it cost?
The 2023 academic year premiums for international student health and travel insurance are as follows:
Summer School only: NZ$135.00
One semester: NZ$405.00
One year: NZ$810.00
Couple options: Student plus partner OR student plus one child:
Summer School only: NZ$270.00
One semester: NZ$810.00
One year: NZ$1,620.00
Family options: Student plus two or more family members
Summer School only: NZ$337.50
One semester: NZ$1012.50
One year: NZ$2,025.00
For Pathway and English Language Centre students, insurance is charged on a pro rata amount of the one year rate.
If your family is coming with you to New Zealand read this information on family cover requirements.
What you are covered for and what you are not covered for?
It is your responsibility as a student to understand and become familiar with the insurance policy terms and conditions. All Policy documentation and forms are available at the International Office and online:
Below are some examples of what you are not covered for:
- Pre-existing conditions (see below for more details)
- Contraception appointments and prescriptions
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Household goods/contents
- Medical treatment such as acupuncture, chiropractic, osteopath or traditional Chinese medicine treatment unless your doctor has referred you to a practitioner and the treatment is considered medically necessary. The practitioner needs to be a registered member of a recognised body for that type of medical treatment.
- Vaccination appointments and prescriptions
- Immigration medicals
- Most dental care
- Car insurance
- Individual property/items worth more than NZ$2,500 (unless you apply for cover for these items)
You are not covered for pre-existing conditions under the Studentsafe Inbound University policy. Cover can be arranged in certain circumstances.
If you have a pre-existing condition or have had a medical procedure in the past, we recommend you submit a Medical Risk Assessment Form before you travel or start your programme:
Send your form to:
If the insurer accepts your cover, an additional premium may be charged. Please ensure you understand the conditions of acceptance.
What is a pre-existing condition?
Any medical or physical condition:
- which you were aware of, or ought to have been aware of
- for which advice, care, treatment, medication or medical attention had been sought, given or recommended
- which has been diagnosed as a medical condition, or a sickness or which are indicative of a sickness
- which is of such a nature to require, or which potentially may require medical attention
- which is of such a nature as would have caused a prudent, reasonable person to seek medical attention prior to the start of cover under this policy
- procedure or surgery in the past even if you are no longer affected by this condition
What happens if the cover is declined or I don't apply for cover of my pre-existing condition?
- We strongly recommend you arrange insurance from your home country that will cover you for any treatment you receive in New Zealand for your pre-existing condition; or
- You need to understand you will have to pay for all treatment you receive in New Zealand for your pre-existing condition.
While your condition might currently be stable and/or you might not be receiving medical care at home, this could change quickly in New Zealand, especially in a new environment.
It's important that you understand that medical treatment in New Zealand for international students, including PhD Students, is expensive and not subsidised. For example, an appointment with a Doctor (GP) at Student Health is currently (NZD) $75 and prescription costs are in addition to this. One night in hospital is in excess of (NZD) $1,000.
Can I bring medicines into New Zealand?
In certain cases yes but restrictions apply. More information is available from Medsafe.
Alternative insurance policies
The following alternative insurance policies have been assessed and are compliant for studying at the University of Otago:
- Southern Cross International Student
- Uni-Care NZ Student Plan
- Orbit Protect Prime
If you choose one of these policies you will need to:
- organise your cover before you arrive in New Zealand;
- ensure it covers you for the whole period of enrolment, including travel to and from New Zealand;
- email a copy of your policy certificate to the insurance administrator (email email@example.com) before the semester begins.
If your alternative insurance policy is not listed above you must apply to have your cover assessed at least four weeks before the semester starts. If you submit your application later than this you will be liable to pay for Studentsafe Inbound University.
How to get an alternative policy assessed
Please check that your policy meets the minimum cover requirements outlined in the insurance checklist document before you submit it for approval:
International student Overseas Medical and Travel Insurance Policy checklist (PDF)
To get your alternative policy assessed you will need to email the full policy wording and schedule of benefits in English to the insurance administrator at least four weeks before the semester starts.You are advised not to purchase an alternative policy until the University has notified you that it is Code compliant.
The policy will then be sent to our independent broker for assessment. If your policy:
- is approved – we will let you know and request you to email the certificate of insurance to the insurance administrator before the semester begins;
- is not approved – the decision is final and you will be required to take out the Studentsafe Inbound University insurance policy or one of the compliant New Zealand based policies.
You can make a claim online through the Studentsafe online claim portal.
Or, you can download a Studentsafe Claim form and complete it in full. We recommend you scan and email your completed claim form together with your receipts and supporting information to:
In support of your claim you need to provide as much information as possible such as doctor's notes and receipts. For lost, stolen or damaged items the claim needs to be supported by evidence of ownership, such as receipts, bank statements, photos of the items. If these are not available the insurer will consider the claim at their discretion.
Understand when a claim excess and/or depreciation will apply by reading the Studentsafe Inbound University insurance policy wording.
Student Health Services is a team of health professionals on campus including doctors, nurses and counsellors committed to your overall well-being during your life as a student. For more information about the full range of services and costs please refer to Student Health.
If you need to see a doctor for a condition that is not covered by your insurance policy, you will need to pay the Student Health for your appointment and any associated pharmacy / laboratory costs.
If you are prescribed medication from a Doctor at Student Health for a condition that is covered under your policy, the following pharmacies in Dunedin offer Direct Billing, meaning you will not have to pay for the prescription:
- Knox Pharmacy, on the corner of George and Frederick Street
- Urgent Pharmacy, 18 Filleul Street
- Dunedin North Pharmacy, 15 St David Street
- Albany Street Pharmacy, 27 Albany Street
If you take the prescription to any other pharmacy or have a prescription from any other medical centre, you will be required to pay for the medication and submit a claim form to be reimbursed.
You can also insure your family under your Studentsafe Inbound University policy if they will be coming to New Zealand with you. A couple policy includes the student plus a partner or one child. A family policy includes the student plus two or more family members.
If you wish to purchase the couple or family option, please select the relevant policy during course enrolment in eVision, then complete a family member application form and email it to the insurance administrator:
For Pathway and English Language Centre students, if you wish to purchase a couple or family insurance policy, please contact:
Your family cannot go to Student Health. Once you are settled in Dunedin, it is best you register your family with a medical centre near to your home, workplace or children's schools.
If you haven't yet registered them with a medical centre you can take your family to Dunedin Urgent Doctors between the hours of 8am and 10pm.
In an emergency call 111.
When your family visit the doctor they will need to pay for the consultation and any medication prescribed. To be reimbursed for these costs a claim form needs to be completed and submitted.
Cover for your children
If your children are enrolled as international students at a New Zealand school, they will need to have insurance. Studentsafe Inbound University family insurance is an easy and affordable way of making sure you and your children have appropriate cover.
When you begin your PhD you will be charged for insurance from the month that you start until 31 December that year. Once you arrive on campus your insurance record is created, then an invoice will be added to your account. The following year you will be charged an insurance premium for 12 months from 1 January until 31 December.
Important Note: If you choose to cancel your insurance policy while you are on deferral or overseas research and then resume your insurance cover when you return, it will be considered a new policy. This means that any medical conditions you received treatment for under the original policy will then be considered pre-existing condition and will not be covered under the new policy.
Please note you are required to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to cancel your insurance policy.
If you return to your country of origin to undertake study or research for a period not exceeding 180 days, your Studentsafe Inbound University policy provides you with limited cover during this period as long as you are intending on returning to New Zealand to continue your studies. If you are required to attend a conference or undertake overseas research in another country your Studentsafe Inbound University will not provide you with sufficient cover. There is an insurance package Studentsafe Outbound which is designed specifically for students who are required to study offshore for part of their studies which you may wish to consider purchasing.
Please contact the insurer directly for advice before you travel.
Change in circumstances
You are required to contact us of any change in circumstances during the insurance period. Examples of changes are:
- You are no longer enrolled at the University
- You become a domestic student
- You insure with a different provider
- You are studying or conducting research overseas
A change in circumstances may affect your eligibility to make an insurance claim. In some situations, you can apply to cancel your policy and apply for a refund of your Studentsafe Inbound University premium.
If you apply to cancel your policy and any refund is owed to you, it will be calculated from when the refund application is received. Applications for refunds will not be accepted if received after your insurance policy has expired. Please email us if you have a change in circumstances:
For policy questions, you can contact Studentsafe, or read the FAQs on their website:
Tel 0800 486 004
You can also contact the International Office if you have any questions:
The University of Otago strongly recommends students read the Studentsafe policy wording carefully. Take particular note of exclusions. It is the student's responsibility to become familiar with the level of cover and the refund conditions offered by the insurance.
The University of Otago takes no responsibility for misunderstandings over insurance contents and conditions or for medical and travel costs not covered by insurance or for the activities of the insurance companies involved.