Should You Get Travel Insurance for a Volunteer Trip?

People pay monthly insurance bills to protect their health, their belongings, and their loved ones. In addition to your current policies, you may have heard of another insurance option that applies while you’re away from home.

Should you get travel insurance for a volunteer trip? Here are a few things to consider before making a final decision.

1. What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Even if you plan every moment of your volunteer trip, you still have to hope nothing goes wrong. Life doesn’t always work out that way. Anyone who purchases travel insurance protects themselves against things going wrong because it covers a number of incidents like:

  • Weather events cancelling your trip.
  • Emergency evacuations at your destination.
  • Health emergencies that require hospitalization.

A specific volunteer programme may be another reason you might wonder if you need travel insurance for a volunteer trip. Some require every participant to show proof of travel insurance before leaving home. Others make it optional.

You’ll have to research your intended program and speak to a representative to determine if it’s a requirement to volunteer. Make sure you’re also checking your home and destination countries’ travel guidelines in light of COVID-19.

Preparing for you volunteer trip abroad - travel insurance needed"
Trip budget for volunteering abroad - include travel insurance"
travel insurance when volunteering abroad - what's covered"
2. What If You Already Have Health Insurance?

Should you get travel insurance if you already have health insurance? It’s a smart question to ask. No one wants to pay extra money for something they already have. The answer depends on your current coverage.

Most health insurance companies only pay for a portion or all of a medical service within their network. Volunteering might take you outside that network and leave you solely responsible for any doctor visits or prescriptions you might need while travelling.

Check your health insurance policy to see if you only have in-network coverage or if it would also cover services where you plan to volunteer. You should also always consult a health professional before traveling to check for important health factors like immunizations.

3. What Should You Get in a Travel Policy?

The ideal travel policy changes depending on a person’s age, health risks, and where you’re travelling. A great policy covers anything you’ll need from medical professionals and reimburses you if an emergency reschedules or cancels your trip.

You should also check the declaration page to see how long your coverage will last. The declaration page clarifies important policy facts like your coverage dates and how to file a claim. You may want flexible coverage with an option to extend if you wish to continue volunteering after your predetermined end date.

This isn’t always available with every travel policy, so look for this feature if you think you might travel longer than you initially thought.

4. What Should Your Budget Be?

While you figure out if you need travel insurance for a volunteer trip, remember to reflect on your budget. Travel insurance may become costly if you’re going into a risky situation or travelling during certain times of the year. Annual weather events like hurricanes could increase your coverage costs because you’re more likely to face cancellation.

Consider your budget expectations before looking for travel policies. You’ll get a rough estimate of what you can afford and narrow down your search by your financial constraints.

If every policy remains out of your price range, you’ll have to reconsider your options. You may need to focus on expanding your travel funds before finding room to pay for insurance.

Does your travel insurance cover activities you want to try while abroad?"
travel insurance for volunteer trip - does it cover volunteer activities?"
travel insurance for a volunteer trip? Is it necessary?"
5. What Should You Do After Getting Insurance?

After finding the best insurance policy for your trip, save the paperwork. If you have to file a claim, you’ll need to provide proof of receipts for any doctor appointments or payments related to the claim, as well as your insurance ID.

You should also read the fine print closely before leaving for your trip. The policy may cover emergency health care, but it might not provide coverage if you need the health care because you got drunk first.

Some travel insurance companies also don’t cover you during unapproved activities, like volunteering with animals or scuba diving. If you plan to spend a short amount of time doing these activities, be aware that you should try to find policies that cover these activities; otherwise, you’re financially responsible for anything that happens until the work finishes.

Should You Get Travel Insurance?

It’s always wise to consider getting travel insurance for a volunteer trip. You don’t know what the future holds and wouldn’t want to return home with extensive debts because of an accident or cancellation.

Look into policies, compare their coverage, and check your budget to find the best insurance for your future travel plans.

Globalteer guest author Ginger
Author - Ginger Abbot

Ginger Abbot is a learning and education writer with a personal passion for study abroad and international travel. She also serves as Editor-in-Chief of, where you can read more of her work.