Most of the time your volunteer trip abroad will go smoothly, but sometimes luck just isn’t on your side and things go wrong. That’s why travel insurance is compulsory for all IVHQ volunteers.
We’ve supported over 100,000 volunteers abroad and we know how important it is to get your travel insurance right. The vast majority of IVHQ volunteers take out travel insurance specifically for their volunteer program and that’s why we’ve partnered with World Nomads, the global leader in insurance for adventurous, independent travelers.
If you already have cover through your health insurance, or another provider, it is important to check it includes everything you need for your volunteer experience. We insist that all volunteers to have the right level of cover, and World Nomads policies are designed specifically for the types of activities IVHQ volunteers participate in. Obtain a free no-obligation quote or learn more about the required areas of cover below.
Travel insurance: What you need to know
- What do I need to be covered for?
- What’s the difference between my health insurance and travel insurance?
- What is the best insurance policy for volunteer travelers?
- How do I get travel insurance?
- Travel insurance do’s and don’ts
What do I need to be covered for?
You need to be covered in case of:
- Medical emergencies
- Lost or damaged luggage
- Travel disruptions such as flight cancellations
- Loss of valuable items
- Other unforeseen events
If any of these events happen to you it can really tarnish your time abroad. Having the right insurance helps to limit the impact and helps you get on with your adventure. Just ask anyone who’s ever had a mishap abroad - good travel insurance can be a life saver.
The golden rule of insurance is everything depends on your own circumstances. Reading fineprint isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but it is important you know your own policy.
One of the reasons we’ve partnered with World Nomads is the extensive coverage they offer. Depending on the policy you choose, you can be covered for things such as emergency medical treatment and repatriation, last minute trip cancellations or the loss of your passport.Check out their options to see exactly what is and isn’t available.
What’s the difference between my health insurance and travel insurance?
Will your existing health insurance policy cover you if you need medical treatment overseas? We hear this question a lot and the answer is most likely no because most health insurance plans stop as soon as you leave your home country. This is the main difference between health insurance and travel insurance, and this is why we insist you have adequate travel insurance.
The best way to be sure is to check over your current health policy. If you’re in any doubt, contact your insurance provider and ask them. For more information about the difference between travel insurance and health insurance, this guide from World Nomads travel insurance is useful.
As always, make sure you seek a policy that is right for your personal circumstances and travel plans.
What is the best insurance policy for volunteer travelers?
World Nomads offers a range of policies that are suitable for volunteering abroad, and can be easily extended to cover travel before or after a volunteer trip. Their policies have been designed specifically for people travelling abroad but the policy that suits you will depend on a range of factors including your medical history, volunteer destination, project type and more. World Nomads’ policies are competitively priced, recommended by Lonely Planet and underwritten by world insurance leaders including Bupa, Lloyd’s and Nationwide.
Best of all, every IVHQ volunteer who chooses to take an insurance policy with World Nomads has free access to their exclusive Worldwide 24-hour Emergency Assistance Team. This service can be used for immediate advice and support in the event of any kind of emergency or incident.
How do I get travel insurance?
- To start, get a travel insurance quote from World Nomads here.
- Once you’ve put in all your information, you’ll see the policies you’re eligible for.
- Read through the policies and select the one that’s right for you. Don’t just choose the cheapest one. If you end up really needing cover for something, you don’t want to be ineligible because you were trying to save a couple of dollars.
Please note, World Nomads does not provide travel insurance for those volunteers over the age of 65. It also doesn’t offer travel insurance for people living in some parts of the world. If that’s you, click here to look at other travel insurance options.
Travel insurance do’s and dont’s
Do ask questions. If you’re weighing up which insurance policy is best for you and you’re not sure about something, ask. It’s important you’re as informed as possible before you opt for a certain policy. Insurers are happy to answer your questions and it can save a whole lot of problems later on.
Don’t be a penny-pincher. A small difference in the price of two policies can be a big difference in what’s actually being offered. If you’re sure you can get away with a cheaper policy then that’s great. But don’t just go for it because it’ll save you money - find out exactly why that policy is cheaper. It could be because it doesn’t cover something you’re planning on doing while you’re away.
Do think before you act. Many travel insurance policies default if you were doing something you shouldn’t have been. This includes if you were drunk or on drugs, or breaking the law.
Do keep your receipts. Sometimes you’ll need to pay up front for something that will be covered by insurance. However, insurance will reimburse you for these costs. In these instances, you must provide receipts in order to be covered. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you can get reimbursed, so it pays to hold onto all your receipts when something happens. It’s much better to carry around a piece of paper you didn’t need than to miss out on money you’re entitled to because you forgot to get a receipt.
Do make sure the work you’ll do on your volunteer program will be covered. This is not a given - especially for volunteers doing work that involves diving, surfing or working with animals. Have your project description with you as you’re filling out your insurance application so you know exactly what you’ll be doing and you can be sure you’re covered at all times. You can always get in touch with IVHQ or contact your Program Manager for any project-related questions. For example, World Nomads insurance only covers divers going to 40 meters deep - will you be going deeper than that?
Don’t expect to be rescued if you get it wrong. If you have an accident and travel insurance doesn’t cover you then IVHQ can’t take any responsibility. This is the case even if you take travel insurance with our recommended provider. You are the sole person responsible for making sure your insurance is comprehensive enough to cover all your travel activities.
Do read your policy. It’s very important you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not. The last thing you want to have happen is to get in a scooter crash only to find out you’re not insured to ride scooters. It’s not enough just to hope you don’t crash - reading your policy fully is the only way to know exactly what you’re getting. You should do this before you sign up to any policy. It’s also a good idea to read it again before you travel so it’s fresh in your mind.