Emergency Response FAQs
Browse the International SOS FAQs below, and contact us if your question hasn’t yet been answered.
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.
University business and University-related trips include activities that are part of academic or professional work at Harvard, including research, study abroad, attendance at a conference, academic study, travel with a student organization or trek, or a summer or January internship (or similar volunteer or work experience) if registered at Harvard the following term.
Harvard-related travel does not include personal travel or travel for primarily social purposes, even when traveling with a group consisting of Harvard affiliates. Moreover, providing emergency response services for a University-related trip does not mean that the University is responsible for any or all other aspects of the trip.
Travel by staff is considered "University-business" if it is at the request of a supervisor and/or Harvard 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 active and/or paid Harvard University appointment, then you will be covered by Harvard's International SOS membership.
No. Personal travel—including vacations, travel home primarily to visit family, or travel with a Harvard group for primarily social purposes—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).
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.
The online resources—including country guides and alerts—are free for all Harvard affiliates.
Any medical, mental health, 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 either International SOS's own clinics or at local clinics vetted by International SOS 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.
A guarantee of payment is a financial commitment made by one party on behalf of another. In this case, International SOS agrees to cover the cost of an eligible traveler's in-patient and out-patient emergency medical services abroad.
If you're eligible for coverage under the University's International SOS membership and you need emergency medical or mental health services, then International SOS will guarantee and pay for all costs associated with your care for services rendered at either their own network of clinics or at local clinics that they've vetted and approved.
Before seeking treatment at a hospital or clinic, you should contact International SOS first so that they can advise you on your options and arrange for a guarantee of payment.
If guarantee of payment is not an option and you pay out of pocket, then you can contact International SOS to apply for reimbursement. Reimbursement is at the discretion of the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
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 member portal to learn more about the discount for Harvard affiliates' personal travel.
No. Harvard’s International SOS membership provides access to emergency medical, mental health, and security services and evacuations; access to 1,000 International SOS clinics in 90 countries, as well as a network of local clinics vetted by International SOS; and online resources and over-the-phone and app-based information for travelers.
The services provided under Harvard's International SOS membership are insured by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies. For eligible travelers, services deemed necessary by International SOS will be covered by the Chubb insurance policy. This includes medical or security evacuations as well as services and guarantee of payment at either International SOS's own clinics or at local clinics vetted by International SOS. This policy also provides coverage for costs associated with repatriation; proof of repatriation coverage is required by some countries during the visa application process.
No. International SOS is not health insurance. Harvard’s International SOS membership provides access to emergency medical, mental health, and security services and evacuations; access to 1,000 International SOS clinics in 90 countries, as well as a network of local clinics vetted by International SOS; 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 are covered.
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.