Students who wish to be exempted from the obligation to be insured under the Swiss compulsory insurance system (LAMal), and who have health insurance in their country of origin, must apply to have their insurance recognised by the relevant authority in the canton where they live. For Vaud canton, this is the Office vaudois de l’assurance-maladie (OVAM). The student must send OVAM their completed health insurance equivalence verification form, stamped and signed by their foreign insurer, and a certificate of studies. It is important for the foreign insurer to confirm (by signing the form) that it offers cover against the risks of sickness and accident equivalent to the cover available in Switzerland (LAMal). On receipt of the documents, OVAM will decide whether an exemption from compulsory health insurance applies.
If the foreign insurer cannot guarantee cover for the minimum level of risks required and/or the relevant authority does not recognise the equivalence, the student can take out a health insurance policy for foreign students in Switzerland and then have it recognised by the relevant authority, as described above.
Note: health insurance policies for foreign students are not subject to the LAMal but the Federal Insurance Contracts Act (LCA). This means that they have the right to require a medical questionnaire when examining the student’s application for insurance and are not under any obligation to accept them.
In this situation, the student will be obliged to take out LAMal health insurance, which is significantly more expensive. Depending on their state of health, it is recommended that the student take out LAMal health insurance on arrival, while the foreign students’ insurance provider examines their application, since, if it is rejected, the student will have to pay an additional LAMal insurance premium for joining the scheme late.
Office vaudois de l'assurance-maladie
Ch. de Mornex 40
+41 (0) 21 557 47 47
LAMal Common Institution
+41 (0) 32 625 30 30
Health insurances for international students
You usually should be able to take out such an insurance directly online. An assistance is generally offered to help you choose the best insurance solution for you. Every insurance company has to offer at least the same cover as a LAMal Swiss insurance but you can still choose a larger cover (teeth insurance, etc.). Please compare carefully different offers before to make your choice.
Here are some insurance solutions for international students :
The ECA (Cantonal Establishment of Insurance) is informed of your presence in the canton by the Residents’ Registration Office of your commune of residence, for the time of a visit, when you arrive in the commune or when you move out of the commune. The weeks following your registration to the commune, you will receive a letter from the ECA, in order that you insure your household contents and personal property (furniture, clothing, electronic devices, equipment etc.) against fire (fire, explosions, smoke, etc.) and natural disasters (flooding, hail, hurricanes : violent windstorms, etc.). This insurance is compulsory for all residents of the canton (article 27 of the law concerning building insurance and personal property insurance against fire and natural disasters - LAIEN).
More information can be found on the ECA website.
Your regional agency is at your disposal here.
While it is not compulsory, you are strongly recommended to take out public liability insurance to cover you in the following situations:
For more information, please click here.
If you are living in an FMEL hall of residence, public liability insurance is compulsory and included in your rent.
Household insurance provides cover for your personal belongings (furniture, television, computer, etc.). There are numerous insurance options available and it is very common to find packages that combine household and public liability insurance. However, household insurance is not compulsory.
The average budget a student needs to live in Lausanne is around CHF 1,900 per month (around €1,640 or $1,630). You should allow an average of CHF 750 per month for accommodation. As an exchange student, you will need to allow around CHF 100 per month for health and accident insurance if your foreign insurance is not recognised in Switzerland.
More generally, note that on arrival in Switzerland, you will have to pay various administrative costs, which can be fairly significant (visa and residence permit costs, local taxes, a rent guarantee for your accommodation, etc.). It is therefore important to allow for these in your budget.