Emergencies and Insurance

24 hour Appalachian State University Emergency Contact Number 828-262-8000 (University Police)

Emergencies are always a potential reality with overseas programs, both academic and co-curricular, and it is important to have protocols in place to deal effectively with such emergency situations as they arise.  Appalachian State University’s International Crisis Management Protocols (Appalachian-ICMP) have been designed expressly to safeguard the well-being of program participants and to protect the University's interests.

The procedures set forth in Appalachian-ICMP are to be followed by the study abroad program directors and university administration, staff, faculty, and students in order to effectively prepare for and rapidly respond to emergencies in the University’s study abroad programs.

In case of an emergency, students are instructed to first contact on-site faculty and staff.  The in-country contacts will in turn contact staff in the Office of International Education and Development (OIED).  

If it is necessary to call the University directly, the caller should call the Emergency number above and provide the University’s Campus Police with appropriate details of the crisis situation following the guidelines provided in the International Incident Report Form (attach form).

In the event of a political, social, or natural emergency, the OIED will be in close contact with the on-site staff and/or University faculty for any study abroad program offered through the Education Abroad Office. Assistance will be managed in coordination with our international insurance provider, GeoBlue International Health Insurance for Higher Education, as well as input from the local authorities and the US Consulate or Embassy closest to the program location.

Parents, friends, and family are asked to communicate with OIED staff to allow on-site staff to focus on working with students and local officials.

Insurance Coverage

All study abroad participants will be covered through the mandatory GeoBlue Worldwide Insurance plan offered through the North Carolina Association of Insurance Agents.  The GeoBlue Worldwide insurance plan covers participants for medical treatment due to illness or accident (example: hospitalization and medical expenses.) The plan also includes medical evacuation and repatriation, political evacuation and natural disaster coverage. 

As an GeoBlue member, participants are eligible for Global Health and Safety Services 24 hours a day during their period of coverage.

Please note that the GeoBlue plan is not US based coverage and as such only covers incidents that occur and are diagnosed outside of the US during the duration of the coverage.  All education abroad participants should make sure that they have a US based plan in place.

Personal Travel Before, During & After the Program (Insurance)

Personal travel before, during or after the official beginning and ending dates of your program abroad is not covered by the insurance purchased through OIED.  If you are planning on participating in personal travel before, during or after your program, we strongly recommend students purchase additional insurance. Once a student has been enrolled in the GeoBlue plan for their programs, students receive an email with instructions on how to setup their account in the GeoBlue Student Portal. In the portal students are able to purchase additional insurance for up to a maximum of thirty (30) days before or after the program dates. This plan comes at a higher cost than the program insurance but students will receive the same benefits.

In addition to the GeoBlue policy students are encouraged to speak to their family about maintaining a US based policy. Your US health insurance will cover you both before you leave, and after you return from your program. Should you have an accident or illness overseas that requires long-term care once you return, US health insurance will also provide coverage for these expenses.  


Exceptions to Insurance Coverage Policy

Students participating on affiliate or 3rd party programs that provide international insurance policies that are comparable to the GeoBlue plan are exempted from the Appalachian insurance requirement.  Currently only the following programs have been approved for exemption:

  • American Institute for Foreign Study (AIFS)
  • CEA
  • CIEE
  • International Studies Abroad (ISA)
  • ISEP Exchange and Direct
  • SAI
  • Semester at Sea
  • SIT
  • USAC

Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) and Interruption for Any Reason (IFAR) Insurance

While not required, OIED recommends that you consider purchasing an additional CFAR or IFAR insurance policy as an added precaution. This coverage protects you from unforeseen events that may cause you to have to cancel your travels before departing or interrupt your travels once you have departed.  Generally speaking, you will have to purchase this additional policy within 14-21 days after you make the first initial payment. Additionally, only a certain percentage of your travel costs will be reimbursed, typically around 75%. This added insurance could potentially save you from substantial financial loss should you have to change your travel plans. OIED does not recommend a particular insurance provider for CFAR or IFAR insurance.