If you volunteer, your focus is on helping others. Your goal is to improve the livelihood of orphans, chronically ill, or homeless people, and the last thing you think about is your insurance.
But before you leave home, it would be a good idea to give it a thought. Because what you really want to avoid is becoming a burden on the very people you vowed to help. You don’t want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere because your vehicle is not insured, or worrying how much of your foreign hospital bill is getting covered, and if you’re repatriated. What you really want is get up and running again as soon as possible.
Of course, we can’t prevent all calamaties, and that is partly what makes volunteering abroad so attractive. It is an adventure. But when the adventures turns bad, we should have a magic red button that when pushed sets in motion a rescue team that has us air-lifted out of there.
International health insurance is not hard to find on the Internet. Travelinsurancereview has a good overview of plans starting with $40.
Travel Health Insurance and Vehicle Insurance
Travel insurance generally is a good idea too and usually very affordable. Besides, it’s easy to get as it often means just ticking an extra box on a form for health insurance.
Vehicle insurance abroad can be tricky. Don’t expect your 4wd to be towed away and repaired if you get stuck in the middle of sub-saharan Africa. But here you can find reasonable deals.
How well you want to be insured depends on who you are. Risk-taking is not a bad thing per se. It’s what life is all about. Often, volunteers come to realize the relativity of it all when they see how people in African countries like Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bolivia, Haïti, Thailand or the Philippines are living without insurance whatsoever.
Perhaps the experience of a year without insurance, a year tasting the life at its core is an invaluable experience – if you live to tell the tale.