You will need travel insurance when you plan to volunteer abroad. Most companies that organize travel trips insist or recommend you having volunteer abroad travel insurance.
Travel insurance is an insurance that is intended to cover medical expenses, financial and other losses incurred while travelling.
Travel insurance can be gotten directly from insurance companies, travel agents and travel suppliers. The insurance covers student travel, business travel, leisure travel, adventure travel, cruise travel and international travel.
If you’re going to be volunteering abroad, you’re going to need to get specific travel insurance.
Buying volunteer abroad travel insurance
Buying travel insurance is tricky especially when finding the right plan for you that will cover you extensively. Travel insurance covers you against risks such as severe weather, last minute cancellations, terrorist attacks, emergency/accidental care, and travel delays, missed connections, lost baggage etc.
Most people buy travel insurance so that they are medically covered when they are abroad; they don’t want to lose money due to cancellations and others want to prevent losing their luggage and travel documents.
There are various companies to buy travel insurance from depending on your location, price and what you want. Some insurance companies provide travel insurance which is niche specific where they specialize in student travel; others offer simple policies for everyday travelers, some offer just medical insurance or evacuation plans.
World Nomads, for example, has specific travel insurance for volunteering abroad – get more details here.
Depending on what plan you want there are generally two types of plans which are package plans and travel medical plans.
Related Read: The Complete Guide to Volunteering Abroad
When planning to buy travel insurance when volunteering abroad consider the following
Trip Cancellation insurance
Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement for lost travel expenses if you need to cancel your trip. Unexpected events like sickness, death, severe weather, industrial strike, terrorist incidents, something happens to your destination residence, theft of travel documents like passports, financial default by tour operator, and you may be needed back at work.
Trip cancellation insurance is important because some volunteer abroad fees are expensive which can go up to $ 5,000. With some organizations you are asked to plan early in advance in order to confirm a place with them. In such a situation during the period of waiting a lot can happen and you may need to cancel your trip. Also volunteer abroad programs involve a lot of several stops and connections and they have a higher risk of problems and things to go wrong.
Trip cancellation is important as you may choose to volunteer as a group or as a family and you may need to cancel because one of you may fall sick. This will save the money that could have been lost. Depending on the insurance company you use, they each have a number of reasons for you to cancel and they will reimburse you. Trip cancellation coverage should be bought early in advance to make sure you get the full benefits.
Health insurance from your country only covers you while you are at home. When you decide to volunteer abroad you will need travel insurance. Travel insurance takes care of medical coverage while you are volunteering abroad. When you are abroad despite of the vaccinations you are given you are still prone to be infected by indigenous diseases.
The coverage includes being taken to hospital, being treated, charges for hospital stays, the cost of drugs, and evacuation back to your home country. Medical insurance is important since when you are in a foreign country and you might know where the hospital is. Also they may be speaking in a foreign language and getting help might be a bit difficult. When you are evacuated back to your home country, they will take you straight to hospital for further treatment. When buying medical insurance, inform them of your preexisting conditions to make sure you are fully covered.
Travel insurance covers against lost or damage baggage. This happens a lot due to connecting many different flights. It also protects against your property being stolen. There are some occasions when you arrive at your destination and your baggage is delayed.
The cover includes reimbursement of essential items like toiletries, and basic clothing. Some companies offer extra coverage on car rental damage protection, identity theft, and adventure travel coverage. Consult your travel agent on which is the best insurance company to use and what exactly they cover
Examples of travel insurance companies
There are many companies, travel agents and specialty travel companies that provide travel insurance. They vary greatly on price and what they offer or cover.
At Travel Dudes, we highly recommend getting travel insurance from World Nomads.
Volunteer activities in their Standard plan may cover include:
- Hospitality or work at bars.
- Farming such as fruit picking, WWOOFing or other manual labor.
- Wildlife or animal care.
- Environmental or conservation work.
- Au pair, nanny or other volunteer childcare.
- Retail work such as shop assistant or store manager role.
- Office or clerical work.
Volunteer activities their Explorer plan may cover include:
- Undertakings in construction or renovation projects, including painting, using power tools, operating machinery or roadwork.
- NGO support and disaster relief.
- Medical and health care work (health education, medical services, medical practitioner).
Get a quote from World Nomads below:
Need some help organizing your volunteering experience?
Global Work & Travel help you organize volunteering trips around the world, including South Africa, Argentina, Ecuador and Peru. From volunteering in an Amazon shelter to working within the community in Buenos Aires. They offer a complete volunteer package including volunteer placements, insurance, accommodation, transfers and ongoing support.