Travel insurance for reporters

Reporters need to be close to current events to take the pulse of the world. Every year, several dozen journalists suffer injuries that are sometimes fatal while reporting on conflicts. Leaving for a mission or working as a news correspondent abroad exposes reporters to medical risks that are too often underestimated.

Access to care, hospital infrastructure quality and healthcare costs abroad are three elements to be taken into account during medical issues or emergencies.

A minor ailment that would be no more than a discomfort in many countries can, in a war zone, lead to a quickly degrading health condition if treated improperly. A journalist’s professional future can be compromised by the consequences of an injury or a parasitic or viral infection that was not treated early enough in adequate conditions. Working in conflict zones also increases the risk of mutilations or permanent disabilities. Journalists must protect themselves against the long-term repercussions that such events can have on their health and finances.

An increasing number of reporters and photojournalists travel abroad to report on conflicts or international news. Too often, they have no insurance because of prohibitive costs and a lack of information.

Obtaining the right insurance can be a difficult task. The search for an insurance policy may seem endless to an independent journalist. But this process should not be the last preparatory step in international reporting, because it is one of the most important.

Independent journalists often have to find their own insurance and bear the cost. That means that they are personally responsible for finding a policy that is adapted to their specific needs.

Various travel insurance options are available. Depending on the reporter’s personal situation and the work that he or she must undertake, one or more types of coverage may be required.

Travel

Just like anyone traveling outside of her or his country of residence, journalists have to buy plane tickets and carry luggage. Multi-risk insurance protects against expenses incurred in the event of forced trip cancelation and loss or theft of personal belongings. These are two types of non-medical insurance travelers can obtain regardless of the medical insurance. (Please note that if the country of destination is not recommended to travelers, the trip cancelation insurance is void.)

Medical

Effective management of the medical consequences of an accident, injury or illness is central to a satisfactory insurance policy. Medical insurance is particularly important for anyone required to work abroad. If your work requires you to travel and you need medical care during the trip, you will have to deal with all of the hospital, medication and emergency transportation expenses if you do not have proper travel insurance. Basic holiday insurance is not recommended for this type of trip. If something were to go wrong, the insurance company would quickly discover that you were not on vacation. Because of the nature of your trip, you would simply be left without coverage, as the risks you would be exposed to would be included in the exclusion conditions stipulated in your contract.

MedEvac

MedEvac is an emergency air ambulance service. This service transports the policyholder to the nearest hospital offering the required treatment. This coverage includes transportation and related medical team expenses, but does not cover subsequent medical and hospital expenses. In addition, this service is not offered worldwide. MedEvac coverage does not always cover repatriation to the policyholder’s country of residence, where his or her healthcare plan can refund medical expenses. The policyholder may be transported to another country where he or she does not have basic insurance.

Repatriation in the event of death

Many people mistakenly believe that in the event of death while traveling abroad, embassies and consulates will repatriate the deceased citizen to his or her country of residence at no cost to the family. In reality, the cost of returning the body, as well as any fees required by local administration or for funeral services and preparation of the remains, will be left entirely for the family to deal with. In order to be covered for this type of expense, the travel insurance policy should include repatriation in the event of death.

Accidental death and mutilation insurance

Like everyone else, reporters are exposed to a huge number of safety hazards in everyday life. These can be as mundane as a fall or a road traffic accident, in addition to the possible dangerousness of the locations reporters visit while on the job. There are numerous dangers. Hazards can be active or passive—for example, a long-forgotten landmine.

In the event of a journalist’s death, relatives have to deal with the hardship of losing financial resources on top of the death of their loved one. Accidental death and mutilation coverage makes it possible to transfer sums to claimants in the event of accidental death. If an accident leads to mutilation, loss of use or total or partial palsy, policyholders receive part or all of the insurance coverage they purchased, which will help compensate for the hardship of loss of income caused by disability.

Property and luggage insurance

Although some insurance options offer coverage for personal belongings during a trip, they do not necessarily cover professional equipment. Professional equipment coverage is not provided in the insurance options below.

Escapade Travel Insurance understands the risks journalists are exposed to and has built the following insurance solutions to meet their needs:

Both insurance solutions presented in this section are available to reporters and photojournalists, independent or media-affiliated reporters, and technical teams who are active members of Reporters without Borders.

You must be a member of Reporters without Borders (RSF) to take out either insurance option. Please contact assurance@rsf.org to ensure that your membership is up to date.

If your RSF membership has expired or if you wish to join, please click on the link and follow the instructions provided: https://rsf.org/en/membership

This insurance policy is valid for journalists of any citizenship traveling outside their usual country of residence. However, the Essential option is not available to reporters residing in Canada or the United States, and the Reinforced option is not available to reporters residing in the United States. Both these insurance options are suitable for reporters on a specific mission in Baghdad, war correspondents based in Kabul and photojournalists working in Central America or Europe.

This international medical insurance solution covers major medical risks (accident and illness) that could occur during a mission. Emergency medical care and expenses for hospitalization, transportation, medical evacuation and repatriation to your country of origin are either handled directly by the insurer or refunded upon presentation of proof of medical expenses.

Journalists receive unlimited coverage of 100% of the actual costs, with no deductible or waiting period. War risk, and consequences of acts of violence or terrorism are covered as long as the journalist does not actively participate in the events. Reporters must not actively take part in an act of war or violence.

The usual country of residence is excluded from this coverage at all times, even if journalists only return there occasionally.

Reporters of all nationalities are eligible for the essential single trip option, provided that their main country of residence is neither Canada nor the United States.

Premiums depend on the policyholder’s age bracket and destination:

  • Reporters aged 60 years and under have access to a flat rate per day traveled for the vast majority of destinations. An overcharge applies when traveling to the United States because of the high cost of medical expenses in this country. For the majority of destinations or places of assignment, it is possible to purchase an optional non-medical insurance covering civil liability, several liability in case of accident, flight delay, luggage loss or theft, and trip cancelation and interruption.
  • The following high-risk destinations are excluded from the Essential option: Syria, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, West Bank, Gaza, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Ituri, North Kivu, South Kivu and border areas shared with South Sudan and Uganda), Somalia, Yemen, Georgia and the following areas of the Russian Federation: Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia and North Ossetia. Reporters traveling to one of these countries or regions must select the Reinforced option.

Premiums are higher for journalists between 61 and 63 years old.

The Essential option is not appropriate for journalists who wish to have coverage for:

  • Pre-existing illness and health conditions. The outcomes and consequences of any diseases or pre-existing conditions are systematically excluded from insurance coverage (including asthma, epileptic or cardiac disorders, etc.).
  • Accidental death or mutilation during a mission.
  • Reports that require journalists to board military unit or government vehicles (in particular ground, naval or air transport vehicles).

The Reinforced option outlined below provides journalists with broader coverage.

Reporters of all nationalities are eligible for the Reinforced option, as long as that their main country of residence is not the United States. American citizens based abroad are eligible for this insurance.

This international health insurance offers the following benefits:

  • Medical coverage of 100% of the actual costs up to Can$1,000,000.
  • Coverage of hospitalization, medication and medical care expenses at 100% of their actual cost up to Can$1,000,000.
  • No deductible or waiting period.
  • Coverage of medical repatriation to the country of origin up to Can$300,000.
  • Coverage of any illness or pre-existing condition with no medical questionnaire.
  • In the event of an accident, dental insurance coverage of up to Can$5,000 and up to 80% of the actual cost.
  • 24/7 support center operated by a multilingual staff.
  • Direct payment of hospital expenses.
  • Handling of expenses related to any illness or any type of injury (including war injuries).
  • Full coverage for reporters accompanying military units in the field.
  • Coverage of war risks and consequences of acts of violence or terrorism, provided that the journalist does not take an active part in the events.
  • Emergency repatriation for family reasons.
  • Expenses incurred for a relative to travel to the policyholder’s location in the event of the policyholder’s hospitalization, death or repatriation.
  • Expenses for the return of the policyholder’s body in the event of death, up to Can$15,000.
  • Option to add insurance coverage in the event of accidental death or mutilation of up Can$1,000,000.

Reporters are eligible for this coverage until the day of their 75th birthday. Premiums are established depending on the destination and length of the stay.

All destinations are insurable: Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. Travel insurance for a trip that includes Syria may be subject to some restrictions; please contact us before traveling for more information.

If you are about to leave your country of residence for a few days or months, our travel insurance advisors will be delighted to help assess your needs in order to offer you the most suitable travel insurance at the best rate. They will guide you through the possible options and confirm the price of your travel insurance.

1-800-564-2042

Toll-free in Canada and the United States • 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. EST

1-418-926-2042
Worldwide • 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. EST

info@viaescapade.com

There is one requirement all insurers have in common. Before receiving care, insured travelers must communicate with the support center that was assigned their contact information.

The support center, open 24/7, must provide approval prior to any surgical procedure or medical treatment. This requirement does not apply in extreme cases where waiting for a preliminary approval would delay a surgical procedure necessary to correct a life-threatening situation.

Read all clauses of your insurance policy carefully before your departure to guarantee a better experience if a medical incident requiring medical care should occur. If you have any doubts whatsoever about the contents of your insurance policy, your advisor will be able to answer any questions, putting your mind at ease when you leave for your trip.

Furthermore, insurance does not generally cover medical or hospital treatments if the purpose of the trip is to obtain these medical or hospital services, regardless of whether the trip is recommended by a doctor. In other words, if you are awaiting a treatment before your departure, or if you plan to receive a treatment during your stay abroad, that medical treatment will not be covered.

Whatever your travel plans are, obtaining travel insurance should be an additional precaution, in addition to some other good travel habits:

  • Pack any medications you are likely to use.
  • Find out about mandatory or recommended vaccinations for your destination.
  • If your destination is the subject of a travel advisory issued by your country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ensure that your travel insurance covers the risks associated with the destination.