Insurance: Key Issues & Questions

Things to consider.

Key Issues

Key things to consider before getting insurance

  • Spend the time to get different quotes from different providers – it can really be worth it.
  • Be aware of the information that insurers will need from you. It’s in your best interest to have a good conversation with your insurance broker and be prepared to give them details of your trip and/or circumstances. For example, they may want to know whether you have taken hostile environment training.
  • You may not get the right quote if you don’t know the implications of your assignment and where you are going. It’s advisable to contact insurers as you are working on your risk assessment – you may decide not to go to certain areas if the cost of insurance is too high.
  • Be certain of the countries that are covered in your policy and check to see if changes in government travel advisories will affect the validity of your cover.
  • In your dealings with clients, be honest if you do not have appropriate insurance cover and ask if you can be put on their scheme. If you do have insurance, but the country they want you to travel to is not included, consider asking if they will reimburse you for adding it to your policy.
  • Remember that insurance should be something you can claim back against your tax bill.

We’ve compiled a short guide with our tops tips on what freelancers should consider when thinking about insurance – read it by clicking on the link below.

Questions to ask insurance providers

  • Will the policy cover incidents related to terrorism and natural disasters?
  • How will payment be made if you do require assistance abroad? Will the insurance provider pay the hospital directly or will a reimbursement be made further down the line?
  • What documents and proof will you need to show in order to make a successful claim?
  • Are changes to the policy possible during the term of cover? For example, is it possible to add a country to the plan or provide temporary cover in a hostile territory? Will there be an additional administration charge for making a change to the policy?
  • What are the 24-hour emergency contact details of your provider?

Possible pitfalls

  • Even if you have Medevac cover or some other global response, be aware that sometimes conditions on the ground could prevent it from being put into action.
  • If you have Medevac cover, check where this will take you and make sure you have a policy that will get you all the way home, not just an immediate ‘evacuation.’
  • If you are covered for disability/injury, check how the insurers will calculate the amount to be paid out to you and when those payments will commence. It is likely you will need the money quickly, so ensure there won’t be any delay.
  • Even when you have all your cover in place, ask your provider exactly what you will need to show to make a successful claim and how quickly you have to inform them of an incident to minimise the risk of them trying to avoid paying out.

Note: It is vital that you leave your insurance details with at least one colleague and family member before you travel. It is also a good idea to give your client or assigning editor (if relevant) the details of who you are insured with and the numbers to call in case anything goes wrong (for more information on this, see our resource on Communications Plans).

Special thanks to Henry Peirse of GRNlive and freelancer Polly Fields, who produced this resource in association with the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.