Insurance Abroad

We strongly recommend that you have an insurance policy for you trip abroad.

The typical coverages for your policy should include:

  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption
  • Travel Delay
  • Baggage Delays or Loss
  • Medical Expenses
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • Emergency Travel Assistance

For all of my trips abroad (including the very first one in 2000), I have bought travel insurance policies from Tokio Marine HCC – Medical Insurance Services Group (specifically the “Atlas” plans). The policies have always cost less than $50 and had $100,000+ of coverage. You order the policy online and print a PDF insurance card. (Note: I’m not affiliated with Tokio in any way and I don’t receive any commissions)

(Below is a more comprehensive discussion of insurance 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 benefits mentioned above including Emergency Medical Evacuation.

Make sure to also find out 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:

When you’re abroad

  • Carry paper copies of your insurance card, a claim form, and the policy
  • Leave copies of all of the above with family back home
  • If you receive medical care abroad: Keep copies of all paperwork related to your trip medical charts, prescriptions, boarding passes, currency exchange receipts etc.
  • Follow the claims-submission process meticulously