Question about Funding for missionaries:
"What type of insurance coverage do missionaries need?"
If you are working with a mission agency, they will usually provide health insurance for you (as part of the budget you will raise funds to cover). If you are serving independently but joining others on the field, talk to them about what kind of insurance coverage they use and suggest.
Those who travel overseas need more than just health insurance, but also travel insurance. This covers emergency evacuation costs and even trip cancellation costs.
Often it is much cheaper and easier to get life insurance a few years before you make your final decision and arrangements to move overseas.
When selecting health insurance, ask whether the policy will cover you in your home country in case you have to return unexpectedly.
Companies that have asked to be listed on this site:
Also see Insurance for Missionaries and Christians (World Christian Resource Directory).
"Most will need overseas medical and travel coverage."
Types of Insurance:
Most of those going overseas short-term or long-term are looking for overseas medical insurance, which should include not only health insurance but also emergency evacuation, political evacuation, and other travel benefits. These types of international insurance policies can insure individuals as well as teams from churches and agencies, short-term or long-term.
You're better off getting insurance from a company that caters to missionaries, rather than buying from a travel agent or someone whose focus is honeymooners, those going on cruises, and package travel. You don't want to pay for what you don't need, and the cost difference can be considerable. If your short-term mission trip includes an extreme sport such as zip-lining, though, tell your insurance broker; you'll need to buy an optional sports rider and make sure it includes that activity.
Most policies will also continue to cover you after you return home for an injury or illness that begins when you're overseas. For long-term missionaries, a good insurance plan will also cover you back in your home country if you need to return home for a short stay, for holiday, or in a family emergency. And yes, the right broker will have options for seniors and those with preexisting conditions as well as maternity benefits, and should offer contracted missionary rates for church teams and summer mission projects.
Many policies will include return of remains in case of death overseas and will include an opportunity to add a life insurance rider. For long-term workers, your domestic life insurance will not pay if something happens to you overseas. Depending on where you are going, you may also want to specifically look for war and terrorism coverage, international property insurance, kidnap and ransom coverage, discounts for single women, and discounts for teams going overseas.
Finding a Broker:
Some agencies will require you to join a specific insurance plan and may include the cost in the amount you are required to pay or raise. Others leave it more in the hands of the individual.
When you're looking for an agent or broker, ask around. Other missionaries know who to trust and can make recommendations or referrals. If you are joining a mission agency (or even going with them short term) ask if they have a broker or specific requirements for insurance. They should be able to tell you what you'll need and may be able to make recommendations. And make sure you get real insurance, not just a cost-sharing plan which may need meet the standards of the mission board or be recognized by nations that require visitors to provide proof of insurance.
If you are searching online, make sure the phone number is prominent on the website and see if they answer it personally. If you can't easily reach them, keep shopping. You'll be glad you did in case of a real emergency! Because most brokers carry plans at similar prices, good service is essential to help you pick the best plan.
Why use a broker? They don't cost any more since they are paid the same commission the internal sales staff of the insurance carrier, and they offer better service and competitive quotes, are more easily reachable, and can fight for you when you need them to. They'll save you time shopping. If they've been overseas themselves, they'll save you money since they'll know what you need and what you don't.
What can you expect to pay? Most short-term policies should cost about US$1-2 a day depending on the age of participants. Most will not have co-pays like in the US and will pay 100% after your deductible is met (the initial amount you agree to pay before insurance kicks in).
Most good international insurance policies will give you a choice of deductibles of up to US$1000 or $5000. Since the amount charged for a short-term policy varies by only a few dollars, we recommend a lower deductible - maybe $100 or $250. For longer terms of service overseas, shop around or call an agent or broker who works with more than one insurance carrier as they will know which will fit your needs best.
You'll find most international health insurance policies will be cheaper than comparable plans in the US. And while hospitals or doctors may not be very expensive where you choose to serve, an emergency evacuation can cost more than US$20,000 or US$85,000, depending on how remote you are. If you don't have good insurance and need to be treated in a nearby nation, it could cost your family dearly and may end up causing you to leave the field until you can pay the debt.
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