Insurance & Waivers

In a Nutshell

Insurance and risk waivers, the how and why of protecting students, participants, and trip sponsors from the unexpected

To protect yourself, trip participants, and the university, every participant must obtain the necessary insurance and sign risk and photography waivers. In addition, be sure to inform the university of the trip.

Inform the university

Most universities require information about student trips, especially when the trip is to a potentially volatile region of the world. Provide the university with this information:

  • Individual, club, or organization within the university that is organizing the trip
  • A list of students on the trip
  • A description of the educational purpose of the trip
  • A detailed itinerary


Trip leaders are responsible for enforcing the requirement that every participant must be covered by three types of insurance coverage:

  • Limited Liability
  • Comprehensive traveler’s insurance or included international travel student health plan
  • International SOS emergency service

Make a firm deadline by which participants need to show proof of insurance and stick to it.

Limited liability insurance
Limited liability insurance covers any illness or injury that happens on the ground in Israel, as long as it was through no fault of the individual or group. Limited liability insurance is typically provided by the tour company. The trip leader is responsible for ensuring that it is included in the tour company agreement.

Comprehensive traveler’s insurance
Every participant must also be covered by comprehensive traveler’s insurance. This typically covers other health and safety emergencies not covered by the limited liability policy.

At many schools, a student’s basic health insurance policy includes a comprehensive traveler’s insurance option. The trip leader should find out the details of the coverage, and make sure it is comprehensive, applies internationally, and covers everything that limited liability does not cover.

Participants who do not have comprehensive traveler’s insurance as part of their health plans must purchase it. They can do this when they book their flights; alternately it can be purchased it from numerous firms that specialize in international traveler’s insurance such as Allianz and TravelGuard. The cost is in the range of $5-$10 per day.

Some policies also cover cancelled flights and lost luggage. Participants are not required to purchase that additional coverage but may elect to do so. Trip leaders should encourage participants to insure their flights so that they don’t lose out in the case of a cancellation.

Participants who need visas to enter Israel should be required to purchase flight insurance so they are covered in the event that their visa request is not approved.

International SOS 

International SOS has assistance centers, clinics, and health and logistics providers in Israel and can offer local expertise, preventative advice, and emergency assistance on the ground during critical illness, accident, or civil unrest.

At most schools, International SOS emergency health services is part of the standard traveler’s health plan for students. The trip leader is responsible for making sure that every participant has registered with the university for International SOS.

Risk waiver

Before departure (at the pre-trip meeting), trip leaders are responsible for having every participant sign a risk waiver. The waiver is designed to protect the trip leaders and sponsoring organizations, including the funders and fiscal agent. It asserts that the trip leaders will take no unnecessary risks but acknowledges that there are risks.

The waiver should state that each traveler is going on this trip of his/her own free will, and is aware and takes responsibility for the inherent risks.

See Resources on this page for a sample risk waiver. You should have a lawyer review your waiver to ensure that it is legally binding.

Photography waiver

Each participant should sign a release form allowing photographs and videos of them to be taken on the trip. See Resources on this page for an example.