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International Insurance Requirements and Resources


“International SOS” is Michigan State University’s international health insurance provider. When eligible, MSU travelers will have access to medical and security assistance, including coverage for a portion of medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation. Click this "International Health Insurance" page link for additional information. To activate coverage, take the following steps:  (1) Determine if you are traveling to a high-risk destination and require a Travel Waiver (students check here, faculty and staff check here); (2) complete a Pre-Trip Authorization form for each traveler; (3) register the trip in the MSU Global Travel Registry.  

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MSU Global Travel Registry FAQs

All individuals traveling on behalf of MSU are automatically enrolled if they take the following steps: (1) Determine if you are traveling to a high-risk destination and require a Travel Waiver (students check here, faculty and staff check here); (2) complete a Pre-Trip Authorization form for each traveler; (3) register the trip in the MSU Global Travel Registry.  More information can be found on the "International Health Insurance" page.

Contact your department or unit's travel administrator to confirm you are being registered in the MSU Global Travel Registry if you travel internationally on university business.  Please visit this website for more information.

Registering in the MSU Global Travel Registry allows the university to share important health and safety information pre-departure, and to provide emergency support services available from MSU, if necessary.  This information can be found here.

Types of Insurance

MSU Faculty Travelers

  • Faculty working on MSU project abroad - MSU’s international health care coverage (International SOS) is intended for business travel.  Business travel is defined as performing work overseas on behalf of MSU which has been approved as such by their department.  The coverage is limited to 365 consecutive days.  If faculty conducting MSU business are residing abroad on a long-term basis, health coverage is provided by the employee’s domestic health care provider. Questions regarding long-term coverage should be directed to MSU Human Resources at 517-353-4434 or the employees insurance provider
  • Faculty wishing to stay outside of the U.S. beyond project performance period - MSU’s international health care coverage is not applicable for personal/leisure travel. 

MSU Student Travelers

International Student Travelers

  • International students at MSU - All MSU international students are required to carry health insurance and are automatically enrolled through the HR recommended provider.  More information can be found on the MSU "Student Health Insurance Plan" web page.
  • International students working on MSU research project abroad - International students can purchase the Student Health Insurance but this does not include life insurance.

Visiting Faculty/Scholars

Please visit the Faculty Handbook for more information.

MSU Student Travelers

Flight/Travel/Life Insurance while on MSU Education Abroad Program as a student - Flight and Travel Insurance are not included as part of the program fee. Flight insurance may be purchased at most international airports. Flight insurance covers you only when you are on the airplane and will not remove the need for more inclusive coverage. Should you wish to secure travel insurance for your luggage and other personal effects or cancellation coverage, an insurance agent or travel agent can provide you with information.  Student Health Insurance does not automatically include life insurance.

Visiting Faculty and Scholars

Life Insurance for visiting faculty and scholars coming to MSU - Visit the Human Resources website for information on eligibility and options for purchasing life insurance policies.

All Travelers

  • Travel Insurance coverage for an accompanying spouse or dependent that is not traveling on an approved MSU travel authorization - Information can be found on Risk Management and Insurance website. Travel insurance coverage can be purchased.
  • Property Insurance while working on MSU project abroad - MSU property insurance information can be found here
  • Personal Property - MSU does not provide coverage for personal property.  Any questions regarding travel on MSU business can be directed to MSU Travel Office
  • Foreign Liability Insurance - Foreign Liability Insurance coverage is applicable for all individuals that are conducting MSU business outside of the United States.  It provides coverage for defense costs and payment of claims resulting from injuries to third parties or damage to property of others that arise from MSU operations.  This is a blanket policy and therefore, enrollment is not required.
  • Insurance for University owned vehicles that are scheduled for use outside of the U.S. - For more information on insurance for University owned vehicles that are scheduled for use in foreign countries, please visit this website.
  • Renting cars internationally - National and Enterprise car rental are MSU preferred car rental companies worldwide.  MSU contract does not provide for loss damage and liability insurances outside the United States.  Travelers are encouraged to purchase these insurance types when renting cars internationally.  Eligibility for car rentals through MSU contracts includes faculty, staff, graduate students on university business, and retirees.  For more information regarding rental vehicle policies including insurance, refer to MSU Manual of Business Procedures, Section 70, Part III A Transportation Regulation, Ground Transportation, Item 3.d.
  • Insurance on vehicles in the US and abroad: university owned vehicles, privately owned vehicles, rental vehicles - For information on this topic, please visit this website or contact MSU Travel Office at 517-355-5000.

DBA Insurance - Defense Base Act Insurance is required on federal contracts for employees working outside the United States. Please note that DBA insurance is a requirement for all federal contracts with international activity. In the event you have a cooperative agreement or grant, funded by the federal government, please refer to the solicitation for DBA compliance requirements.

The primary goal of the Defense Base Act (DBA) was to cover military workers outside the United States; however, today the Defense Base Act insurance is typically required for almost any contract with an agency of the U.S. Government, for work outside the U.S., whether military in nature or not. DBA Insurance provides life and disability insurance in the event that civilian contractors are injured, killed, or kidnapped in the course of their work for US Government Agencies such as the various branches of the Department of Defense, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) or the State Department.

Failure to obtain DBA insurance carries stiff penalties, and it may result in fines from the USG and possible loss or termination of contract.

If the contract is funded by USAID, DBA insurance may be required to be obtained through a specific provider. Please see your contract terms and USAID resources to confirm.

For budgeting purposes, when calculating the DBA coverage insurance cost, it is recommended to budget 2% of the total salaries and wages, unless advised otherwise by the sponsoring agency.

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