Terrific travel insurance tips for volunteering abroad

Terrific travel insurance tips for volunteering abroad



Not everyone considers leisure and luxury high on their travel requirements. For some, helping others whilst on holiday has a far greater impact than the standard beach getaway.

Studies have shown that altruistic gestures such as volunteering trips can have long-lasting benefits for those seeking an alternative travel experience. Upon returning home volunteers will often report an increased sense of contentment and life satisfaction.

A steady growth in volunteering trips abroad has seen Kiwis flocking to far off destinations to assist those in need. Whether on a gap year project or as part of planned project or organisation, travellers are seeking opportunities to nurture and rehabilitate communities in poverty stricken areas.

However, beneficial as they are, volunteering trips should be approached with the same practicality as any other holiday abroad. Along with researching your destination, visiting the doctor and getting all the relevant vaccinations, it’s essential to think about travel insurance when going on a volunteering holiday.

Why buy travel insurance?

A must for any getaway, travel insurance is especially important in a hazardous environment. You simply can’t predict the future and the possibility of contracting a stomach bug or being mugged is not usually on anyone’s travel agenda. Taking the precautionary measure of travel insurance is always necessary, but particularly so when you find yourself in unfamiliar terrain.

What does travel insurance cover?

Unclean water, malarial conditions and food poisoning are common third world hazards that you can’t always hold off. Travel insurance will usually cover for the predicaments you aren’t able to control. Similarly, you can count on travel insurance to pay out most claims related to accidents, cancellations, theft and/or loss of your luggage.

Top reasons to take travel insurance:

  • You’re on your way to your volunteering placement when your bus breaks down and you’re forced to find emergency accommodation for the night. Travel insurance will pay for any unforeseen transportation delays (excluding flight delays or cancellations).
  • You contract food poisoning and require a trip to the hospital. You’ll be covered for any medical expenses you incur whilst overseas.
  • You take a nasty fall and break your ankle. Your policy will cover you for any x-rays, medical treatment and medication you require.
  • Your wallet is nicked whilst out for a post-work drink in your local town. Travel insurance will reimburse you for the contents of your wallet provided you report the theft to the local authorities as soon as possible
  • Any many more!

What volunteering activities aren’t covered?

  • Manual labour – Most insurers exclude any time of construction work from their policies, so if you sustain any injuries whilst performing manual labour, you won’t be covered.
  • Countries on warning lists – If the country you are travelling to has a ‘terrorism’ travel warning you would still be covered, just not for any claim related to an incident of terrorism.
  • Working with animals– Whilst some policies will allow you to work with animals, it is your duty to ensure that any work is to be performed in a safe, controlled environment with a responsible level of training and protection. Any level of negligence could jeopardize your claim should you sustain an injury.
  • Not getting vaccinated – Travel insurance will cover your medical expenses to a point. If you fail to get the necessary vaccinations before taking off, you may not be covered should you contract certain diseases.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions– As always, it is essential to provide your medical history to your insurance provider. However, doing so is especially important if you are planning to volunteer in a remote location with restricted access to medical facilities.

Ready to go?

Haven’t found travel insurance yet? Comparing policies is a must if you’re after the very best volunteering travel insurance for your trip. If you’ve ticked that off, done all the necessary research, visited your G.P and checked SafeTravel for any travel warnings, you’re good to go. Good luck on your next altruistic adventure!

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