Volunteer Abroad Travel Insurance – Travel Dudes

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 expensesfinancial and other losses incurred while travelling.

Travel insurance can be gotten directly from insurance companiestravel 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.

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Buying volunteer abroad travel insurance
Buying volunteer abroad 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.

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.

Medical insurance

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.

Other advantages

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.
  • Teaching.
  • 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:

Check out our other posts about travel insurance:


What is Travel Insurance? And Why You Need It

Travel planning isn’t all about booking flights and hotels, it includes a few boring aspects….one of them being travel insurance.

What is travel insurance you might ask?

Travel insurance is one of those things that you have to have, but hope you’ll never use.

If you’re a traveler that loves to count every penny then travel insurance is probably not high on your list, as you won’t reap any immediate benefit from your purchase…but trust us, you’ll be happy you got it should anything go wrong on your trip! Travel insurance will save you A LOT of pennies when you have to make use of it.

There are different travel insurance options available, some travelers may be happy with a general policy, while others prefer a tailored package provided by companies such as World Nomads.

Various cover options include trip cancelation, luggage protection, emergency medical expenses, and emergency medical transportation.

What is travel insurance?
What is travel insurance, and why do you need it?

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance includes various types of cover for your travels. Here are the main things that travel insurance includes.

Trip Cancellation/Interruption

This is the most basic coverage and covers most events that would result in you not being able to take your trip.

Examples include but are not limited to: Sickness, Injury, Job Change, and Financial Distress (bankruptcy) to either yourself or any of your travel companions. A good policy may also cover Delays, Terrorism, Political Change, Supplier Cancellations and Natural Disasters.

Single Occupancy Coverage

If you have arranged for double occupancy accommodation and your partner cancels or has to change their plans, you can get the required “upgrade” covered by insurance.

Trip Delay / Missed Connection

Any delay that is out of your control can entitle you to compensation.

Legal Assistance

This coverage can provide access to local legal experts in the event you get caught in any legal misunderstandings.

Accident / Medical Expense

Any procedures or treatment performed during your trip or potentially as a direct result of an event that occurs on your trip. This segment of coverage can sometimes include a minor amount of Dental care as well.

Note that SafetyWing’s Nomad Insurance now includes cover for Covid-19. As with any other illness on the cover, all medical expenses will be covered – as long as you didn’t contract the virus before taking out the insurance. Testing for COVID-19 will only be covered if deemed medically necessary by a physician. The antibody test is not covered, as it is not medically necessary.

Pet Coverage

If you are bringing your pet (this is generally restricted to a cat or dog) they can be covered for emergency medical expenses.

Emergency Evacuation

This coverage is necessary for trips where you may not be near medical facilities and you may need transport like a helicopter or express train to get to a proper medical facility.

Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D)

If an event causes the loss of any body part (dismemberment), you can be compensated according to standard fee schedules. The other portion of coverage is self-explanatory.

Baggage Coverage

If your baggage is lost or delayed, you can get reimbursed for necessities as well as clothing and other personal effects.  Some plans will cover items that include laptops and electronic devices.

Our recommendation is to ensure that you at minimum purchase Trip Cancellation/Delay coverage since that covers any major trip changes. Some Medical plans will continue your coverage while you are traveling abroad so the Accident/Medical Coverage, Emergency Evacuation, and/or AD&D coverage may even be redundant for some travelers.

However, the medical coverage you get from a travel insurer can be of much better quality, and can put you as a traveler at a lower risk of having to pay up-front for exorbitant medical fees before being reimbursed.

Additional coverages should be subscribed at the travelers discretion.

Questions to ask oneself before deciding on coverage include:

  • Is my time away flexible or do I have a strict schedule?
  • Does my plane ticket guarantee I make it to my destination? (i.e. Budget carries like Ryanair do not)
  • What is the airline policy on lost/delayed baggage?
  • Will I be in an urban setting or will I be far away from civilization? (Evacuation potential)
  • Does my home country and the country I’m visiting have a strong relationship? (Legal Assistance)
  • Who will I be traveling with? Is my traveling partner a potential flake that may end up costing me money?
  • Do I need specific insurance, like volunteer abroad travel insurance.
Buying volunteer abroad travel insurance
Buying volunteer abroad travel insurance

10 Reasons why you need travel insurance

1. Emergency medical care

You never know when you could get sick or injured while on a trip. This is especially important if you are taking part in adventurous activities like hiking, snowboarding, surfing, or scuba diving.

With travel medical coverage, you won’t be paying a huge medical bill. You’ll also have assistance services –  in your own language – to locate a suitable medical facility and arrange transportation.

2. Luggage protection

You never know when you’re luggage will get lost on the plane, get stolen while traveling on local buses/trains etc., or get damaged while in transit. This includes not only your clothes in your suitcase but your precious equipment such as camera, laptop, cell phone etc.

If your luggage is delayed, travel insurance will reimburse you for each day you are without it, and if it’s stolen you’ll be covered to be able to replace your items.

3. Cover if your trip gets canceled

There could be a number of reasons why you have to suddenly cancel a trip — illness, family emergencies, work responsibilities, or another emergency comes up and you can no longer go. You never know what life is going to throw at you.

With trip cancelation coverage, you’ll be able to recover your expenses for these covered reasons and more.

4. You miss your connection or your flight is canceled

If you are traveling a route that requires more than one flight and you happen to miss your connection for whatever reasons, many travel insurance policies will cover you for those missed connections. The same goes for if your flight is canceled.

5. Adventure and sports coverage

If you are planning on doing any adventurous activities or participate in any sports, this cover will be extremely important for you. World Nomads covers a number of different activities including those in the snow, water, air, on land, and a variety of sports.

Whether your scuba gear gets stolen or you get injured while windsurfing, you’ll be covered.

6. Working or volunteering abroad

You can get tailored travel insurance if you’re going to be working or volunteering aboard, you’ll then be covered for anything that happens to you while on the job. Specific covers include for child care, general farm work, hospitality, restaurant, teaching, admin work, ski instructor, and even for office work.

7. Assistance with emergency prescriptions

If your prescription medication gets lost, stolen, or runs out, there are travel insurance covers that will assist you with filling in an emergency prescription. This is an important cover if you’re on any vital medication!

8. Your travel company goes under

What happens if you book the most amazing trip with a tour company months before you’re due to leave on the trip, then just before something happens to the company and they close down? Some travel insurance companies will help you recoup your expenses already paid and help you book another trip.

9. Losing your documents abroad

This is possibly every travelers worst nightmare. A good travel insurance policy will help you replace your documents and assist in getting you home.

10. A natural disaster or terrorism act

Should a natural disaster such as a hurricane, earthquake, or flood occur or an act of terrorism happens wherever you are, you’ll want to get home. A travel insurance policy will assist in getting you home safely.

Also, if these should happen in your destination before you leave and have to cancel your trip, you’ll also be reimbursed for your expenses.

Where to get travel insurance

World Nomads

For a good travel insurance, we strongly recommended World Nomads. They are a well-known and trusted brand among many frequent travelers, they offer good value for money, flexibility, availability to claim online while you’re still away, offering coverage for a range of adventure activities, provide up-to-date travel safety alerts through their World Nomads Travel Safety Hub, and even allow you to buy a World Nomads policy if you’re already traveling.

Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.

Note that World Nomads does not cover travel to countries with a COVID travel ban, so familiarize yourself with the exclusions (read more about their Coronavirus cover here). Nonetheless, getting travel insurance is extremely important to get while travelling in a pandemic.

Get a quote from World Nomads below:

All in all, the rates for full coverage Travel Insurance are very reasonable given you choose the right provider. It is well worth getting full coverage if you can. You will be very grateful for the options full coverage provides should your trip not go as planned. 

We have seen many trips be interrupted by unforeseen circumstances (even before Covid-19), and a good quality travel insurance plan, such as the one offered by World Nomads or SafetyWing, that covers everything is often the savior of a spoiled vacation. 

Knowing what you are paying for and what your plan includes is important, and we hope the breakdown of each aspect of coverage helps you next time you are researching and purchasing travel insurance.