Flo from Progressive knows a lot of about insurance — but she won’t cover you on your volunteering trip abroad!
(But can you please take her with you and leave her lost in the Amazon jungle? Thanks!)
Read our article on Insurance When Volunteering Abroad to find out how you can get covered during your trip.
And — what to do if you need medical care abroad.
There are two types of insurance available for volunteering trips abroad – Travel Insurance and Medical Insurance. I strongly urge you to get both of them.
Travel Insurance covers you for travel-related costs like lost baggage, canceled flights, and travel delays. Medical Insurance covers you for medical expenses like hospital visits, prescriptions, and emergency evacuation.
Where to Start
First – find out if one or more of the following entities will provide you with insurance coverage abroad:
- Your insurance policy back home
- The volunteering placement agency
- The credit card used to book your flights
- The airline(s)
If you do not get insurance from one or more of the above sources, then you will have to obtain a policy from an insurance company that specializes in travel and medical insurance abroad.
What to look for in a policy
Whether you use an existing policy or obtain a new one from a travel specialist insurance company – make sure your policy provides at least $50k in benefits and covers (at minimum) the following:
- Trip Cancellation / Delays / Interruption
- Baggage Delays or Loss
- Medical Expenses
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
Make sure to find out also about:
- Specific coverages
- Pre-authorization requirements
- Pre-existing conditions
- 24 hour hotline
- Deductibles, co-payments, and refund policies
- Are payments made abroad – or reimbursed to you
Which company to choose
If you obtain a policy from a specialist insurance company – choose a company that provides one policy that covers both travel insurance and medical insurance.
The U.S. State Department has a list of companies that provides travel and medical insurance abroad: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/go/health/insurance-providers.html
For all of my trips abroad (including the very first one in 2000), I have used HCC Medical Insurance Services (formerly MNUI). Their website is www.hccmis.com. They are a recognized leader in international health. (Full Disclosure: I’m not affiliated with HCC in any way and don’t receive any commissions)
When you’re abroad
- Have your insurance card, a claim form, and copy of the policy
- Leave copies of all of the above with family back home
- Keep copies of all paperwork like medical charts, prescriptions, boarding passes, and currency exchange receipts
- Follow the claims-submission process meticulously