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Is The ISIC Card *Really* Worth Paying For?

Posted by Lindsay Hall on 6/3/18 12:30 PM

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If you've been accepted to volunteer abroad with ILP, you know that we recommend the ISIC insurance card for all travelers. Are you wondering if this card is actually worth paying for? 

At ILP (International Language Programs) we've  found many times where having travel insurance has helped to keep our volunteers out of a tough spot during unexpected situations, so we do require our volunteers to have it. Luckily, we think it's totally worth it, not only because of the price and the coverage you get, but also because of the perks! Luckily we make it easy-peasy for you. 

You must be an ILP volunteer to purchase an ISIC card through the ILP office
Not a volunteer yet? Come fill out an application! 


Why ISIC? 

If you don't have any insurance already, we have a recommendation of a company that we've found to have good coverage for a good price. If you don't know what the ISIC card is, it's essentially an international insurance card that comes with other benefits and discounts (here's more details of what exactly it is). 

There are a variety of plans you can purchase with ISIC depending on what coverage you'd like while abroad. 

Now, ILP does require you to have some sort of international insurance, however, we do not require you to get the ISIC card. There are many companies out there that offer insurance and I do recommend you do your research and find what the insurance you feel is best for you. 

Having said that, ILP has put a lot of time and research into finding the best (benefits and price) insurance for not only it's volunteers, but also the staff --Did you know the ILP directors visit your school during the semester to make sure everything is going well?

We totally feel like the ISIC card is worth it and necessary for everyone whether you're living in Europe for a semester or taking a quick trip to Mexico.

Why Is The ISIC Card Worth Paying For?

  • Health Insurance (obviously)
  • Travel Insurance 
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation 
  • Discounts
  • We Love Their App

*These are some of our favorite perks of using ISIC, but make sure to check out their website for up to date policies and coverage information.

Health Insurance

If you're getting the ISIC card, you're probably getting it because you need health insurance while living abroad. The ISIC card fits that bill, plus gives you a lot of other perks which some insurance cards don't. 

One thing to note beforehand: if you need to use the insurance abroad, you will have to pay upfront and then get reimbursed later. Make sure you keep all the receipts and make a claim ASAP so you can get your money back.


Travel Insurance

ISIC's health insurance is very comparable tomost international insurances, but the travel insurance is what sets ISIC apart. 

Depending on the plan you get (there is a basic, premium and explorer option), you can get compensated for things like losing your baggage, travel delays, or trip cancellations. 

While ILP doesn't anticipate any problems along the way, there is always a chance of things going wrong when you're dealing with airlines, weather, etc. This insurance can take all the worry out of your travel. 

We have ILP volunteers make claims on luggage or travel delays almost every semester. Those that had the ISIC card pretty much got paid to lose their bags (You can get reimbursed for a certain number of days after losing your bags .... I'd be happier to lose my luggage if I knew I was getting paid for it).

Trust me, you want to be one of the volunteers that has the ISIC card and can go buy new clothes rather than the ones without the card that are wearing the same clothes for five days straight. 

ILP Mexico

Emergency Medical Evacuation

No matter what plan you get, you will have some emergency medical evacuation. To date, no ILP volunteer has ever had to use it, but it's gives you such peace of mind to know that if anything were to happen to you while you were abroad, you'd be able to make it home safe and soundly and without a giant bill just to get you home. 

(At the time this post was written) the basic plan comes with a $250,000 policy and the other two plans come with $500,000 policies. The small price of getting an ISIC card could easily save you literally thousands of dollars if you were to need to use this service.


One giant perk of having an ISIC card is you can get student discounts even if you're not a student. If you're a student and have an ID, you can use that to get the same discounts; if you're not a student though, it will help you get the same rate as all your student friends in your ILP group!. 

Here's some discounts for you to browse through — Especially in Europe and China, our volunteers have gotten into amazing attractions for free, or for half off. We're talking discounts at places like the Forbidden City or the Moscow Kremlin. Some volunteers have said that they can't get these discounts with their college ID, but can with their ISIC ID. 

We Love Their App

You may be wondering why an app would make this card worth getting. Well, if you're anything like me, you're gonna lose that card or forget it at home so many times, that it will drive you mad.

But don't worry. If you have this app, your card will actually be on your phone! You won't have to worry about keep track of that card and you'll also have all the info on discounts and your plans right in the palm of your hand. Oh, and the app is free to card members. 

ILP Ukraine


Want more info?

Learn about the International Language Programs! That green button below will take you to all the FAQ! 

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Topics: Semester Preparation, Travel Tips, ILP Basics, Benefits of Volunteering, Saving Money

Exploring The World For Over 25 Years

Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. Check out our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

ILP Semester Abroad

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