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Travel Insurance

For urgent and emergent medical needs, Cornell works with Zurich and International SOS to facilitate seamless support for Cornell travelers. Assistance services and insurance benefits are initiated by calling International SOS at +1 215-942-8478 or via the ISOS Assistance App (reference 11BSCA827281).

Passengers seen from behind, seated on a charter bus.

If you are a registered traveler on Cornell-related international travel you are fully covered—at no cost to you—under an accident, sickness, and emergency care insurance plan that works in tandem with our 24/7 travel assistance. This policy does not cover preventative or routine care, or treatment of pre-existing conditions.

Zurich Insurance Benefits Highlights:

  • Urgent and emergent medical expenses (no coverage for preventative or routine care)
    • Total maximum per covered accident or sickness: $500,000 (no deductible)
  • Medical and security evacuation and repatriation
  • Trip inconvenience
    • Trip interruption (up to $1,000)
    • Trip cancellation (up to $1,000)
    • Trip delay (up to $2,000 - $200/day, 6 hour waiting period)
    • Baggage and personal effects ($250 per item, up to $1,000)

Who Is Eligible for International Travel Insurance Coverage?

I am a student going abroad on Cornell-travel. Am I covered by Cornell's international travel insurance?

Yes, if you are a student who has registered your international Cornell travel in the travel registry and are traveling outside of your home country you are covered. For non-U.S. citizens, 'home country' is defined as your current country of residence/domicile (e.g., a Chinese citizen currently living in Ithaca, is covered if they travel to China on Cornell-related travel; a Brazilian citizen currently living in Brazil who decides to remain in Brazil and conduct research is not covered). Important: Cornell's international travel insurance does not cover preventative or routine care, or treatment of pre-existing conditions. 

Does Cornell's international travel insurance cover Cornell travelers who are not students?

Yes. All staff and faculty—as well as students—on Cornell travel are covered by the insurance, as long as they are registered in the travel registry and not currently living in their home country.

Can I purchase coverage for my dependents?

No, not through Cornell.

Am I automatically covered by health insurance when I go abroad as a Cornell traveler?

If you have registered your international Cornell travel in the travel registry and are traveling outside of your home country, you are covered by international travel insurance for accident/sickness and emergency evacuation. This policy is not the same as health insurance below.

What Does International Travel Insurance Cover?

What are the benefits of international travel insurance?

The 2023-24 plan benefit brochure (Cornell NetID required) can provide more information. 

Note: There may be some circumstances where a guarantee of payment will not be possible and some out-of-pocket expenses may be incurred that will be reimbursed later. Travelers should always have access to emergency funds. Please keep all receipts and verification of diagnosis. 

What medical expenses are not covered by international travel insurance?

Cornell's international travel insurance plan only covers urgent and emergent medical treatment. The following are not covered:

  • Routine care, such as routine wellness, preventative care, physical exams, and gynecological exams.
  • Non-emergency evacuation.
  • Expenses incurred during personal travel or vacation not related to a Cornell travel trip.
  • Routine maternity expenses or birth control (in most cases considered preventative care).

  • Non-emergency mental health and substance abuse expenses. Note: non-emergency, virtual (tele-) mental health is available via ISOS.
  • A second surgical opinion.
  • Home health care or custodial services.
  • Health care or evacuation services in the U.S.
  • COVID-19 or other testing for the purposes of travel, for example, satisfying the medical testing required to board a flight.
  • Dependents, or for trips that last longer than 365 consecutive days.

What is the travel delay/quarantine coverage and how does it work?

The travel delay benefit which includes Quarantine Trigger is applied when a traveler is forced into quarantine for testing positive for sickness or is suspected of having been exposed. (This would not apply for foreseeable mandated quarantine, for example, Country X requires all incoming travelers to quarantine for a defined time period upon arrival, etc.). Additional benefit triggers include: Common Carrier delay; loss or theft of the insured's passport(s), travel documents, or money; hijacking; natural disaster; adverse weather conditions; documented traffic accident while the insured is en route to the destination; unannounced strike; a civil disorder.

The benefit provides for a maximum covered amount per insured at $2,000 (subject to a $200-per-day limit). Initiate all claims by calling ISOS immediately. In most cases, the traveler will make all arrangements (accommodation, meals, transportation) and need to pay out-of-pocket and seek reimbursement when they return. Make sure to keep receipts and physician notes for reimbursement from the insurance provider. 

When does travel insurance kick in?

International travel insurance will act as your primary coverage (will be used first and supersedes all other medical insurance) for the following occurrences that take place during travel outside of your country of residence from the moment you leave your primary residence to the moment you return to your primary residence. The accuracy of dates of your scheduled trip in the travel registry are very important to a smooth claims process

Are there some types of illness or injury that are not covered?

International travel insurance covers urgent or emergent Illness or injury only. These occur suddenly and unexpectedly during travel abroad. Here are some examples:

International Travel Insurance Coverage Examples
Occurs during Cornell travel Covered
Gastrointestinal upset after eating street food Yes
Slip and fall needing medical attention Yes
Allergic reaction Yes
Dengue fever, COVID-19 related hospitalization Yes
Appendicitis, heart attack, stroke, death Yes
Lupus flair-up Yes
Lupus routine care No
Kidney failure or coma due to diabetes Yes
Diabetes routine care or dialysis No
Evacuation due to life-threatening medical condition (determined by ISOS and medical practitioner) Yes
Evacuation due to spike in Coronavirus cases No
Evacuation due to life-threatening political instability (determined by ISOS) Yes
Evacuation due to traveler being uncomfortable in a city with protests/unrest No
Hospitalization due to suicide attempt Yes
Ongoing, outpatient mental health counseling No

Am I covered if I am injured or become sick due to a riot, civil commotion, or police action?

You will not be covered if you were an active participant in such an action. For example:

  • A traveler is looting and is shot by police; the injuries are not covered.
  • A traveler is participating in a riot and is tear-gassed, triggering an asthma attack; the medical care is not covered.

If the traveler is a passive participant, then medical care is covered. For example:

  • A traveler is walking across the campus during a demonstration and is exposed to tear gas, triggering an asthma attack; the medical treatment is covered.
  • A traveler is injured in a terrorist bombing and needs medical attention; the injuries are covered.

How does international travel insurance compare with other types of insurance options available through Cornell?

International travel insurance provides benefits depending on where one starts their journey and where one is going in specific ways that differ from other insurance options. Below is a chart of the insurance options available at Cornell and how they compare:

  • International SOS (ISOS): virtual mental health, evacuations, lost document assistance, medical referrals, travel advice
  • International Travel Insurance (Zurich): accident/sickness insurance, medical bills for urgent and emergent medical treatment
  • Student Health Plan (SHP): health insurance at 90% reimbursement when not in U.S.
  • Employee Health Plan (EHP): varies by employee and chosen plan
Options for International Students, Staff, and Faculty
Residing in home country and then traveling in home country. Am I covered?
ISOS: No Zurich: No SHP: Yes1 EHP: Check with provider
Residing in home country and then traveling in another country (not U.S.). Am I covered?
ISOS: Yes Zurich: Yes SHP: NA2 EHP: NA
Residing in the U.S. and then traveling in home country. Am I covered?
ISOS: Yes3 Zurich: Yes SHP: NA EHP: NA
Residing in the U.S. and then traveling in another country (not home). Am I covered?
ISOS: Yes Zurich: Yes SHP: NA EHP: NA
Residing in the U.S. and traveling in the U.S. Am I covered?
ISOS: No4 Zurich: No SHP: Yes EHP: Yes
Options for U.S. Students, Staff, and Faculty
Residing in the U.S. and then traveling in another country. Am I covered?
ISOS: Yes Zurich: Yes SHP: NA EHP: NA
Residing in the U.S. and traveling in the U.S. Am I covered?
ISOS: No3 Zurich: No SHP: Yes5 EHP: Yes

1 Students must verify coverage with the Student Health Benefits Office
2 SHP continues to provide 90% coverage while abroad. The NA implies SHP is not primary insurance for all covered benefits under the travel medical insurance
3Security evacuations cannot transport a traveler from their home country
4Pre-trip travel advice is available and encouraged for any upcoming international trip
5Or other insurance plan that meets Cornell domestic coverage requirements

Is international travel insurance the same as my primary health insurance coverage?

No. The coverage is accident and sickness insurance; it does not cover routine care. If ongoing treatment or counseling is required for a pre-existing condition throughout your time abroad, you should speak to your domestic insurance provider to ascertain benefits and any need for supplemental coverage.

If you have a pre-existing condition that will require medical attention while abroad, plan well in advance to ensure you 1) will have adequate access to the necessary treatment; and 2) understand pre-pay requirements and out-of-pocket costs. Cornell cannot guarantee payment for non-urgent and emergent care.

Does this coverage include student personal property insurance?

No. The university does not provide insurance coverage for student's personal property if it is damaged or stolen during their time at Cornell or abroad on Cornell travel. If you are a student, you should look to your renter's insurance policy (if you have it), your parent’s renter's/homeowner's insurance policy, or purchase a separate policy of your own. Some credit cards companies offer coverage for items purchases with their cards. Personal property insurance for students, including worldwide coverage, is available through Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. online or +1-888-411-4911.

Note: Cornell University does not receive any compensation or consideration for making personal property insurance available to Cornell students. If you are a student, we strongly recommend that you have insurance protection for your personal belongings.

If I don’t register my Cornell travel in the Cornell Travel Registry, will that affect my international travel insurance coverage?

Yes. It is university policy that all international Cornell travel must be registered. In an emergency, ISOS will use the registry records to verify your eligibility for coverage. A lack of, or inaccurate, registration data can cause delays in your care or out-of-pocket expenses until your eligibility can be verified.

When Is Travel Insurance Needed?

Do I still need international travel insurance if I'm traveling on non-Cornell travel?

This coverage applies only to Cornell-related international travel and a 14-day sojourn (that is, personal travel) taken immediately before, during, or after the Cornell-related travel. If you are traveling on personal travel (for example, vacation, or a self-identified study abroad program), we encourage you to check your current health insurance plan and contact your provider regarding international coverage. While many plans, including Cornell’s Student Health Plan (SHP), provide for care abroad, that coverage is often limited and on a reimbursable basis—that is, you pay out-of-pocket. You may wish to consider purchasing a separate travel insurance plan, if needed. would be a good place to start.

What if I already have travel abroad insurance coverage?

Some employee benefits coverage or domestic insurance products provide coverage during travel abroad. If you are taking a personal trip or vacation, these may be the best option, as this plan does not provide coverage for such trips. If you prefer to use an existing or purchased plan, please note that ISOS will not be able to provide a guarantee of payment or coordinate billing. In such a case, all claims and expenses are your responsibility and must be coordinated personally with your insurance provider. ISOS will not reimburse for claims made through another provider.

Regardless of any existing coverage, unless you choose otherwise, the insurance plan described on this page will act as primary insurance for you on any eligible claim.

Does this insurance satisfy Cornell’s insurance requirement to study abroad?

Yes, as long as travel does not exceed 365 consecutive travel days. However, if you are a student, you may not cancel your enrollment in the Student Health Plan (SHP) or any other domestic coverage accepted by Cornell Health as a substitute for SHP in light of this coverage.

If the insurance I used to waive the Student Health Plan (SHP) has limited or no coverage abroad, does Cornell require I purchase additional insurance?

No, this plan meets all Cornell requirements for study abroad. However, if you are not on the SHP, we recommend purchasing additional coverage that provides for routine or ongoing care, particularly if you are currently receiving such care. Cornell Health can help you explore options for supplemental care. You should also speak to your study abroad advisors regarding any insurance provided by your hosts.

When Is Emergency Evacuation Triggered?

When I am traveling, if there is an emergency political/security/natural disaster situation in-country, will I have access to an emergency evacuation?

When you are traveling, an emergency political/security/natural disaster evacuation may be triggered by a situation where you are in imminent danger due to natural disaster, civil uprisings, military coups, or political unrest. Indemnified evacuation decisions are made at the discretion of ISOS security personnel, in consultation with the insurance provider, interested governments, security analysts, Cornell, and the traveler. Such evacuations are not performed due to a traveler’s perceived threat alone nor when there are viable commercial departure options.

Covered triggers include:

  • Expulsion from a location in which the Insured is traveling or being declared persona non-grata on the written authority of the recognized government of the location in which the insured is traveling.
  • Political, social, or military events involving the location in which the insured is traveling that result in the appropriate government authority(ies) of the insured’s location of primary residence or the location in which the insured is traveling issuing a formal recommendation that citizens of the insured’s country of primary residence leave the location in which the insured is traveling.
  • Storm that results in such severe and widespread damage that the area of damage is officially declared a disaster area by the appropriate government authority(ies) of the location in which the insured is traveling and such area is deemed to be uninhabitable or dangerous.
  • Confirmed (by documentation or physical evidence) attack or threat of attack against the insured’s health and safety by a third party.
  • Deemed kidnapped or a missing person by local or international authorities and, when found, the insured’s health or safety are in question within 180 day(s) of his/her being found.

If I am ill or injured while traveling, will I qualify for an emergency medical evacuation?

A medical emergency evacuation will be triggered if you are injured or ill and cannot receive the care you need at your current location. This type of evacuation is designed to transport you to the nearest facility capable of providing adequate care (that is, another facility, city, or country), not necessarily your home country. The ISOS medical team will monitor your medical care and ISOS will decide whether or not a medical evacuation is medically necessary. 

If there is a security, natural disaster, or public health threat in my home country while I am traveling there, will I still qualify for emergency evacuation?

In most cases, no. Non-medically necessary evacuation is generally not possible if you are traveling in your home country on your country’s passport. Providing such an evacuation creates a refugee situation, which limits the vendor’s ability to assist you. If you are a dual citizen, we recommend that you travel with both passports if you are traveling to your home country.

Travel Insurance Certificate Letter

How do I receive a Travel Insurance Certificate Letter?

If you require a formal travel insurance certificate letter to obtain a visa or other travel document, please follow these steps:

  1. From your Cornell email address, forward your travel registry email confirmation to Arthur J. Gallagher at
  2. Copy (CC) The Office of Risk Management & Insurance at
  3. Please include the following information in your email:
    • Legal name (as listed on passport)
    • Travel Dates
    • Country (or countries) to be visited
    • The date by which you require the letter

Filing a Claim

How do I use this insurance?

As a registered traveler with Cornell’s international travel registry, if feasible, you should call ISOS before seeking treatment at +1-215-942-8478—or use the mobile app—and reference your membership number: 11BSCA827281. ISOS will make a referral, monitor your patient progress, and coordinate billing with the medical facility. If it is an emergency, and you or your travel companions cannot contact ISOS prior to seeking treatment, you should make contact as soon as possible to begin the process of coordinated care and to avoid any out-of-pocket expenses.

How do I submit a claim?

If you have to file a claim with the insurance company for any reason—such as an out-of-pocket expense for covered quarantine, or failure to call ISOS before paying a medical bill—you should provide the insurance company with written notice of a covered loss within 90 days of such loss.

The claim must include your name and the Policy Number (GPT 4850980). Claim forms are available here

Who do I contact if I have questions about a specific claim or a claims payment?

Email Risk Management and Insurance for support.