Travel Insurance and Risk Management

Travel Health Insurance

As mandated by the University of North Carolina General Administration, all faculty, staff, and students (undergraduate, graduate and professional) traveling abroad in affiliation with the University are required to purchase international health, evacuation, and repatriation insurance, provided by GeoBlue. University affiliated travel includes Study Abroad programs, independent and sponsored research, internships for credit or any other program tied to university sponsorship or academic or practicum credit.

The Travel and Study Abroad Insurance Program is available to students, faculty, staff and their families while traveling abroad. In the event of injury or sickness, this program facilitates and pays for their medical treatment while in the foreign country.

The following countries require written agreement from the insurance operator prior to travel:

      – Afghanistan           – North Korea
      – Algeria           – Somalia
      – Egypt           – South Sudan
      – Iraq           – Sudan
      – Libya           – Syria
      – Niger           – Yemen

Insurance for Travel Through Study Abroad
Students traveling through a UNC Study Abroad program will obtain insurance through the Study Abroad Office.

Insurance for Travel Outside of Study Abroad
All other students, faculty, and staff who need to purchase coverage or obtain additional information should contact Janet Hoernke in Risk Management Services at +1.919.962.6681 or

The University of North Carolina System has contracted with GeoBlue to provide comprehensive coverage at a low cost. Students may purchase coverage for non-University affiliated travel as well as long as it is in conjunction with an eligible program mentioned above. If non-affiliated travel coverage is desired by students, then the requirement is a minimum of 2 days and a maximum combined total of 30. For more information for students and faculty and staff leading student programs, and to manage your coverage, see For faculty, staff, post-docs, and other university affiliates traveling without affiliation with students, see

GeoBlue also offers a mobile app where you can manage your health wherever you are by searching for healthcare providers, requesting appointments, setting up direct billing and providing proof of coverage.  Use the translation tool to help you schedule your doctor visit or ensure you’re getting the right dose of the right medication.  With the app, you can also view security profiles and read travel alerts to make your journey safer.  Visit for more information and to download the app.

Personal and vacation travel coverage for faculty and staff are not eligible under the UNC program. Individual plans for personal and vacation travel, however, are available for purchase online at Please contact Janet Hoernke with questions regarding eligibility.

Faculty, staff and other UNC affiliates are required to enroll in GeoBlue coverage when traveling internationally on University affiliated travel. The State Health Plan does not provide comprehensive coverage or as significant a value as GeoBlue when traveling abroad.

Trip Insurance
Trip insurance is policy separate from travel health insurance, and it can provide coverage in situations such as trip cancellations or a need to reschedule. Insurance should be obtainable through your travel agent when you book tickets.

Risk Management

Road Safety
A dangerous and often overlooked risk when traveling abroad is road safety. This is true not only for those operating or riding as a passenger in a motor vehicle but also for pedestrians. This includes the use of motorcycles and similar vehicles for which statistics for injuries and deaths are significant. Helmets may not always be legally required but they are always advised. Additional considerations are international drivers license reciprocity rules, road security, rental vehicles and knowledge of the varying laws, rules and conditions of the road.

Anyone can be a victim of crime at home or when traveling. Know how to prevent and respond to crimes occurring in another country. Prevention begins at home when you pack. Leave behind items that might make you a target of crime. Learn about local laws and customs. Avoid dangerous and politically charged areas. Have all of your documents in order, both with you and at home; photocopy all personal identification cards, passport and credit cards and travel with one copy, leaving another at home. Make sure you have full travel insurance. In the event of an emergency while traveling abroad on University business, contact the UNC Department of Public Safety (DPS) at +1.919.962.8100.

Illness and Injury
Plan ahead for illnesses that can be prevented. Educate yourself on what types of illnesses are prevalent in the region you will be visiting and what the best methods of prevention are, ranging from immunizations prior to departure to behavioral adaptations upon arrival. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides details about travel abroad and recommended immunizations. UNC students can access the UNC International Travel Clinic for immunizations; faculty and staff should consult with UNC Department of Environment, Health and Safety; a family doctor; or a travel clinic such as Passport Health. Additionally, take precaution to prevent accidents and injuries and consider following U.S. laws and regulations about safety on the road — such as wearing helmets to bike — and using latex gloves and safety gear during field work.

Students may not travel to a country that has been designated a “red” country in the UNC travel warning system due to ongoing conflicts or political instability.

Natural Disasters
Prior to travel, review the U.S. Department of State’s country reports to determine the area’s susceptibility to natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

Discrimination and Disability Access

Travelers should be aware of the laws and customs of the countries and regions to which they travel. What is considered discrimination in the U.S. may translate differently in other countries, where issues such as gender or sexual orientation may be viewed differently. Trip planners should make this part of travel orientation programs. Travelers should also conduct independent research on these issues. Additionally, individuals with disabilities should conduct research about how they will manage challenges in environments that may not have the same resources found at home.