Mission Trip Coverage & Tips
Your Ministry Doesn’t Stop At the Border…Neither Does Your Risk
We are approaching summertime which is mission trip time for many churches. Many travelers purchase trip medical coverage and while that is providing some personal medical protection/coverage it is not covering the exposures of the church organization itself.
Most U.S. based church / non-profit organizations understand the legal exposures they face here at home and take steps to properly protect themselves. However when we travel abroad, we’re often leaving the very protection we value so highly.
Coverage Territory: The main consideration is your insurance coverage for your non-profit organization here in the states only includes a coverage territory for the US, Canada and their territories. Your coverage ceases when you leave these territories. Your organization may need to consider purchasing international insurance.
International Travel Insurance Program Coverage And Features*
- International commercial general liability becomes the first lines of defense against costly legal actions arising from events occurring outside our nation’s border. A U.S. based general liability policy only covers lawsuits for foreign injuries that are filed in the U.S. For this reason, an organization sued in a foreign jurisdiction may not have adequate insurance coverage.
- Worker’s Compensation Coverage: Nothing quite compares to our nation’s own workers compensation system for comprehensive coverage and likewise, few countries can match America’s high standard for healthcare. U.S. travelers often require medical evacuation for emergency treatment and employers need to be protected against lawsuits for accidents or diseases contracted outside the U.S.
- Trip Medical Coverage (other than Worker’s Compensation): When employees and volunteers travel overseas, they are exposed to gaps in healthcare coverage (out of network higher copayments, limitations or exclusions) that can be costly. Many organizations avoid such problems with international medical and AD&D coverage – resulting in 24-hour protection.
- Kidnap & Ransom: With increasingly volatile economic and political conditions around the world, kidnappings have become an increasing concern for Americans traveling abroad. As a standard part of most policies (some more volatile counties may be excluded), coverage up to $100,000 (higher coverage options are available) would be included to help protect your travelers in the event of a kidnapping.
- International Auto Liability: Because American organizations are often perceived to have especially deep pockets, their exposure to lawsuits resulting from auto accidents outside the U.S. is very real. In most foreign countries, admitted auto insurance fails to provide U.S. style coverage or limits. To bring liability up to U.S. standards, contingent auto liability is included. Additionally, your church’s auto liability limits may not extend to these foreign countries.
- Executive Assistance Services: Trip planning, emergency response services, and travel assistance are available via a mobile app or through an internet dedicated site. See a more detailed list of these services noted below.
Executive Assistance Services Overview*
Immunization requirements * Embassy locations * Visa/Passport requirements * Culture and Etiquette * Crime and Country Risk Levels
Political Instability * Natural Disasters and Weather * Crime, Terrorism, or Disease Outbreaks
Political evacuation * Natural disaster * Consultation services * Legal assistance/bail * Emergency travel arrangements and passport replacement * Interpretation/translation
Emergency Medical Transport * Hospital Admission Guarantee * Emergency Medical Payment Advance and Guarantee * Medical Monitoring and Referrals * Doctor or Specialist Dispatch * Medication and Eye Wear Replacement * Medical Evacuation and Repatriation
* This assumes our comprehensive international travel program through Chubb Insurance
Mission Trip Risk Management Tips:
- Release Forms: Releases are very important when the church is hosting mission trips. Be sure that you take extra measures for youth to have the medical releases notarized by the parent or guardian.
- Trip Reports / Hazard Information: It is very important to have as much information as you can provide to those going on the mission trip regarding the hazards of the location you are going to. Some countries are in political unrest and travelers need to be aware and informed. Add this information to your release forms to show that you provided it. Additionally be sure to list if there are any food/contamination concerns and any known dangerous snakes, insects, or animals – be sure to list those as well and stay away from areas where travelers are exposed to those hazards.
- Communication is Key: As with any trip, it is very important that someone from the church is your point person and has the registration and contact information for every member/volunteer/staff member traveling on the trip. If there were an emergency, it is vital that the information is readily available so the emergency contact for that individual is able to be notified immediately. Also, should you be separated from your team, know where you are to meet and what is your emergency protocol. Be sure every member has information for the US Embassy, etc.
There are many points to consider when planning your trip. Please be sure to obtain the proper coverage to protect your ministry. We can write an International Liability Package Policy on an annual basis so it is a much more streamlined process for the church and help you to reduce your risk. Have a great summer everyone!