Mission Travel: Did You Forget These?

You've made the basic decisions in planning your mission trip and can't wait to jet off to the field. While hammering out the trip details, be sure to think carefully about insurance, safety, and security. Extra preparation could minimize headaches when your group arrives at your destination.

Consider the following as you make mission plans

  • Figure insurance coverage into the missions budget. Most insurance policies only apply within the United States, meaning you’ll need additional medical and liability coverage for foreign travel. Meet with your church's insurance agent to identify what type of coverage your travelers need, obtain a quote, and factor the cost into the missions budget.
  • Get written proof of coverage. It's easy to assume everything's covered when a mission trip organizer says the trip is insured. Ask for proof of insurance coverage and examine the details of what's covered and what's not.
  • Obtain additional coverage, if needed. Some mission travel insurance leaves significant gaps in coverage. If church leaders are not comfortable with the amount of coverage travelers have been provided, you may want to obtain additional insurance. Brotherhood Mutual can help your ministry find comprehensive, affordable options for mission travel insurance, either for primary coverage or to supplement other policies.
  • Think before driving in foreign countries. From traffic laws to insurance requirements to security concerns, the driving environment in other countries is often very different from what Americans are used to. It may be wise to hire a professional driver native to the area to handle driving duties during a mission trip. Even one-day trips across the border have their risks. In fact, many American churches located near the border with Mexico do not allow their members to drive their own cars into Mexico during mission trips.
  • Be careful going places where there's political unrest or threats of violence. Keep an eye on the news and stay in contact with sources near the destination. The U.S. State Department's Bureau of Consular Affairs posts up-to-date, area-specific safety information on its website and on twitter. You can also purchase security assistance services as part of certain insurance policies. If conditions are volatile, weigh the risks and consider rescheduling the trip if necessary—some insurance coverage may apply to rescheduling or cancellation costs.

Thoughtful planning is crucial to a successful mission trip. By making the necessary preparations months in advance, you can pave the way for a smoother experience when it's time for your group to pack up and head out.