At the beginning of your studies, a lot is demanded of you all at once. The unfamiliar rhythm of a new schedule, new rules which apply to the rights and obligations of students and more. Additionally, many students take this time to leave the nest and move into their own apartment. However, with freedom comes responsibility! This is why it’s important to tackle topics such as insurance, so you’re always prepared for a worst-case scenario. We’ve gathered some information for you about the most common and important types of insurance for students, in Austria.
If you are a student, you automatically become a member of the Austrian Student Union (ÖH). Conveniently, the ÖH fee already includes liability insurance and accident insurance for students, both of which are valid for the course of your studies. Should you have an accident on your way to university, during a university-related event, during a study-related internship, or if you have a stupid mishap that results in damage, the respective ÖH insurance will cover the costs included in their overall coverage. If you are planning a stay abroad as part of your studies, accidents and damages are covered as far as possible. However, this does not apply to all countries. That’s why you should find out about the exceptions beforehand and generally inform yourself of the details – it never hurts! You can find any information about the scope of benefits of the ÖH insurance and the correct procedure for reporting damage and accidents on the ÖH website.
Please note: Private incidents are not covered by the ÖH insurance. If you accidentally spill your drink on the host’s TV at a party or need physical therapy after a skiing accident, be sure that you are on the safe side and have taken out private liability and accident insurance beforehand. This does not apply if you are still being covered by your parents’ insurance.
In Austria, you’re required to have health insurance. For students, co-insurance via the health insurance of the parents or one parent is usually possible until the age of 27. However, certain requirements have to be fulfilled. These include the receipt of family allowance or proof that you are continuing your studies. For this, you must be able to present proof of academic success for 8 hours per week or achieve 16 ECTS points per academic year.
If co-insurance is not an option for you, you will take health insurance into your own hands. In addition to a variety of private insurance offers, self-insurance with the Austrian Health Insurance Fund (ÖGK) is a common option. The discounted monthly premium for students costs €63.44 a month. To be eligible, you should not be earning more than €10,000 a year. To find out what other requirements you have to fulfil for student self-insurance with ÖGK, please contact the health insurance fund directly. Alternatively, you can take out self-insurance for marginal employment, provided you do not earn more than €475.86 per month. In this case, you pay €67.18 euros per month to be covered by health insurance. In both cases of self-insurance, you should pay attention to the income limit and the other requirements so that you aren’t surprised with any additional fees afterwards. These can get pricey! Regular self-insurance in health insurance costs €454.86 per month. However, you have to reckon with a waiting period of 6 months if you receive benefits. You can find out directly from ÖGK under which circumstances the waiting period is waived.
If your health is particularly important to you, you can consider taking out private supplementary health insurance. Depending on the offer, you will receive higher-quality services at the dentist, enjoy more privacy as a private patient in hospital or have the (partial) costs for alternative medical treatments reimbursed. The cost of supplementary insurance depends on the scope of benefits offered by the respective insurer. However, some packages are available for as little as 5 euros per month.
In addition to health insurance, private household and liability insurance are amongst the most common forms of insurance in Austria. The household insurance covers, for example, the (proportionate) costs after a fire in the flat or storm/water damage that was not self-inflicted. As soon as you have found your dream flat and signed the rental contract, household insurance is usually required, even if it is not a legally mandatory. On the bright side, at less than €5 per month, the costs for students are kept within reasonable limits. As a rule of thumb, private liability insurance is also included.
There are countless forms of insurance and a variety of additional packages you can take out. The classic types of insurance taken out by students include legal protection and car insurance, if you have your own car. If you want to make further provisions, you can also consider a private pension insurance and occupational disability insurance.
If you are travelling abroad, it is essential to contact your health insurance company beforehand and check whether you are insured in the respective country. In the EU, the EEA and Switzerland, you can generally use your normal e-card if you’re only thinking about a semester abroad and the center of your life is still considered Austria. If you are going further away, it makes sense to get advice on supplementary health insurance. Sometimes international health insurance or travel insurance is included with credit cards. Find out about the scope of those benefits so that there are no unpleasant surprises in the event of illness or emergency repatriation. In all these cases, it is best to seek advice from a specialist.
In the event of a claim, insurance can be a real blessing and a great relief. That’s why you should make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage during your time at university. However, before you take out any insurance, check your existing insurance cover with your parents to find out about any potential gaps and avoid double insuring. In addition to health insurance, you may also be covered by your parents’ liability or accident insurance. Insurance gaps often arise when you exceed a certain age, income, length of study, or when you move into your own student flat. If you are well insured, you can rest at ease knowing you are prepared for anything!