We always recommend that our volunteers have insurance for their volunteering trip abroad.
This can be a policy purchased from your airline or a policy bought seperately from a private insurance carrier.
For my trip to Guatemala in 2017, I booked my flights directly on United Airlines’ website. As I got toward the end of the process, United offered me a chance to buy a travel insurance policy from them for $31 for my 17-day trip.
Here is a screen shot of the offer:
I declined United’s offer; instead opting to buy a policy from HCC (formerly Multi-National Underwriters). I have used HCC for almost 20 years for all of my policies. [Disclosure: I get no commission from HCC]
Why did I decline United’s insurance?
Mostly out of habit and familiarity. I am simply used to dealing HCC. (Fortunately I have never had to file a claim; which is the real test of any insurance company!)
I also like that everything is online with a company like HCC. I can sign-up and print my insurance card on-the-spot (even the day before leaving before the trip).
The other issue is the coverage amounts. United has a max of $10K for medical expenses. But many insurance policies in the market have a minimum of $50K.
Here are the insurance coverages for the United policy offered to me:
United Airlines – Product Coverage Table
7.0% of Ticket Cost per Person
Minimum Program Cost $20.00 per Person
Trip Cancellation: 100% of Trip Cost
Trip Interruption: 125% of Trip Cost
Trip Delay: $500 ($100/day)
Missed Connection: $500
Baggage & Personal Effects: $1000
Baggage Delay: $500 ($100/day)
Accident Sickness Medical Expense: $10,000 ($500 Dental)
One benefit of going with United’s insurance policy could be peace of mind. United is a major company and brand name. So customers assume that the company’s policy is trustworthy and a good value.
Whichever way you decide to go, keep in mind that the best practice is to have some sort of travel insurance policy in place when you volunteer abroad.