Importance of Having a Travel Insurance Before Leaving to Volunteer Abroad

Emergency! Does it ever knocks on your door before arriving? I bet not. People are aware of insurance policies and why they are important to have. Commonest of all is the health/life insurance that people go for, and that too when they are in their home country, living in the safe and known neighborhood of their own city.

However, what many miss out on is the importance of having an insurance policy at the time of traveling abroad. Moving out from the country, traveling to a different land together; things can go either ways, anytime. Been traveling for more than 5 years now, where most of my expeditions involved volunteering work, i have fairly understood the importance of having a proper travel insurance.

So, today, i would like to share my views and reasons to make a travel insurance a must have while taking an international trip;

You may require medical assistance

Majority of volunteering opportunities are available in developing and underdeveloped countries abroad. While you can expect some level of medical facilities in the main cities of any volunteering destination, there are projects located in the remote areas as well where you may require quick transporting in the case of medical emergency. And since medical emergencies never arrive with a warning, you need to be fully prepared to face any such circumstances. You must, however, be sure of the type of emergencies that your policy covers. This depends on the destination you have chosen to volunteer at, and the kind of activities you will be involved in. For example: if you are traveling to volunteer in Arusha, Tanzania, there will be opportunities for trekking and bouldering, etc. You must make sure your policy covers those kinds of accidental insurance. Carrying that much cash is not a feasible option and, thus, having an appropriate medical insurance provide you that necessary financial backup for such emergency situations.

You may have your flights/trip cancelled/interrupted at the last moment

Scenario 1: So you are all set to leave for your volunteering expedition. You have also reached the airport and checked-in on time, and are all excited to just board that plane and start the journey. And there it happens! The flight got cancelled due to bad weather or some technical fault. While the next flight is several hours later, you can’t wait even for a single more minute and want to cancel the trip. But what about the fee that you have already paid to the placement organization? And the flight tickets that you have booked further in your trip?

Scenario 2: Everything’s the same as the above scenario, but this time it’s you who has to cancel the trip at the very last moment. Reason; emergency at home or you suddenly fall extremely ill. How are you going to cover your payments that you have made for the trip?

Scenario 3: Good news! You are on the flight, reached your volunteering destination safe and soundly, and have joined other volunteers at the project. You are in the middle of your journey and suddenly you get a call from back home stating some extreme, unavoidable emergency. You have to leave your program in between and have to return immediately. Not only the immediate flight prices are going to burn a hole in your pocket, but also, the tickets that you may have booked in advance will also cost you; even after the refund.