Frequently Asked Questions
Browse the International SOS FAQs below, and contact us if your question hasn’t yet been answered.
Eligibility for Services
What does it mean for a student to travel with Harvard sponsorship?
Traveling with Harvard sponsorship means that the travel involves academic work that qualifies for Harvard credit, is funded in whole or in part by Harvard, or is organized or accompanied by a Harvard faculty or staff member acting in a Harvard capacity.
What's considered University business or a University-related activity?
University business and University-related activities include any activity that can be broadly construed as part of academic or professional work at Harvard, including research, study abroad, attendance at a conference, travel with an officially recognized student organization (including officially recognized treks), or a summer or January internship or work experience if registered at Harvard the following term.
Travel by staff is considered "University-business" if it is at the request of a supervisor and/or the University is funding the trip.
Faculty traveling as part of an ongoing or long-term relationship with a non-Harvard organization should normally be covered under that organization's evacuation and security procedures, services, and coverages. However, if the work supports your paid Harvard appointment, then you will be covered by Harvard's International SOS membership.
Is personal travel covered?
No. Personal travel—including vacations or travel home primarily to visit family—is not covered under the University's International SOS membership. The only exception is personal travel within seven days on either side of an eligible trip.
Although personal trips are not eligible for International SOS, in an emergency, we'll locate and assist all registered Harvard travelers to the best of our ability. Personal travelers, however, will likely incur the costs if services are rendered (e.g. emergency evacuation).
Therefore, if you're traveling on a vacation or other type of personal trip, we strongly encourage you to purchase evacuation insurance coverage. As a Harvard affiliate, you can purchase a discounted individual or family International SOS membership for your personal trips. Visit the International SOS membership portal to learn more about the discount for Harvard affiliates' personal travel.
You also should check with your health insurance provider about your international coverage options and/or purchase an international health insurance plan (see Insurance FAQs below).
Are trips within the U.S. or U.S. territories covered?
With the exception of non-U.S. national employees based abroad, travelers within the U.S. and U.S. territories are not eligible for International SOS. If you need medical or security assistance within the U.S., call 9-1-1 or the Harvard University Police Department (if on campus): 617-495-1212.
Evacuation and Repatriation Coverage
How can I show proof of evacuation and repatriation coverage?
If your trip is eligible for the University's International SOS membership, you can request a letter and proof of coverage through our webform.
We'll send you the required letter as a PDF file within one to two business days, or contact you if further information is required. The letter will indicate evacuation and repatriation coverage from Chubb Group of Insurance Providers and International SOS as the provider for these services. Both vendors are part of our global emergency response program.
You may also need to show proof of health insurance coverage. Contact your health insurance provider to request that letter.
Will I be charged for International SOS services?
The online resources—including country guides and alerts—are free for all Harvard affiliates.
Any medical and security referrals, consultations, or monitoring that are conducted over the phone or through the Assistance App are free to eligible travelers. Services received at International SOS clinics are also covered for eligible travelers.
International SOS may refer you to third-party providers who charge directly for services, such as medical care at a non-International SOS clinic or hospital. International SOS can provide a guarantee of payment, however you may be billed later for these services either by the provider directly or by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, which manages claims for Harvard's International SOS membership.
Is International SOS an insurance policy?
No. Harvard’s International SOS membership provides emergency medical and security assistance and evacuations; access to 1,000 International SOS clinics in 90 countries; and online resources and over-the-phone and app-based information for travelers.
The services provided under Harvard's International SOS program are insured by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. For eligible travelers, services received at International SOS clinics and medical or security evacuations deemed necessary by International SOS and Control Risks will be covered by the Chubb insurance policy. This policy also provides coverage for costs associated with repatriation; proof of such coverage is required by some countries during the visa application process. Other expenses, such as inpatient and outpatient medical care, are the responsibility of the traveler.
Does International SOS replace health insurance?
No. International SOS is not health insurance. Harvard’s International SOS membership provides emergency medical and security assistance and evacuations; access to 1,000 International SOS clinics in 90 countries; and online resources and over-the-phone and app-based information for travelers.
Always call your health insurance provider before you travel to determine whether you’re covered in your destination and if there are limitations to your plan and network of providers. If necessary for emergency services, International SOS will pay a third-party clinic or health care provider on your behalf, but these expenses may be billed to your health insurance later; if uninsured, those expenses may be billed to you.
For eligible travelers, the cost of medical or security evacuations deemed necessary by International SOS and Control Risks are covered.
Can I purchase an individual plan for personal travel or for a travel companion?
Yes. As a Harvard affiliate, you can purchase an individual or family membership for your personal trips at a discounted rate. Visit the International SOS membership portal to learn more about the discount for Harvard affiliates' personal travel..
The U.S. State Department also maintains a comprehensive list of private providers that offer travel medical insurance and evacuation coverage.