Insurance Issues Related to Field Research

When undertaking field research, there are many insurance issues to be considered. SFU Policy GP 17, covers the area of personal safety and risk mitigation for faculty, staff and students participating in University-related research and teaching in off-campus, often remote, locations.

The following is a brief outline of insurance issues that should be considered when undertaking field research activities. Workers Compensation or Employee Benefit questions can be directed to Human Resources, and more information on risk management can be found at Safety and Risk Services.

Property Loss or Damage

Direct physical loss or damage to SFU-owned equipment and  materials is insured under the University's self-insurance program, which covers most situations. Coverage applies worldwide (except for certain restrictions) and is subject to a per claim deductible. Personal property of faculty, staff or students is not covered by the program, and independent insurance should be obtained if required.


The purpose of liability insurance is to protect against legal liability and lawsuits arising from an accidental or unintended incident affecting someone else's person or property. The University's Comprehensive General Liability policy includes as insured all faculty, staff, students (and in certain cases volunteers) while performing any activity which is part of their educational or employment duties, including field research. This policy applies on a worldwide basis and insures specifically against bodily injury, personal injury, death, or damage to property of others. It includes the personal or civil liability of an individual insofar as the conduct which caused the loss was part of the individual's employment or academic duties. It does not include any coverage for criminal liability.

Workers Compensation

BC Workers Compensation coverage is provided to University faculty and staff on University payroll. Individuals who are employed under research grants and contracts are also covered by Workers' Compensation while performing their duties. Graduate students who are paid scholarship income from research grants and contracts are not covered by Workers' Compensation.

Accident/Health Insurance

Participants in field research activities should evaluate the required level of accident/health insurance needed to cover potential medical emergencies, both on the job and off. Students and other non-University employees (i.e. those paid from research grants) are not automatically covered with health insurance. Health insurance is an individual responsibility and the level of health insurance coverage for students and research grant employees should be reviewed before undertaking field research.

For further information, please see WorkSafe BC and SFU human resources