If you are a sports enthusiast, you might have taken part in what is classified by travel insurance as an ‘extreme sport’ and not considered the fact that you have travel insurance but that it might not cover the particular activity you tried. The truth is though that have an accident skiing in a country such as the United Stated or Canada, you could find yourself with a massive bill, due to the high medical fees in these countries. If you plan to try any sport which might come under the ‘extreme sports’ banner, it is vital that you ensure that you have travel insurance which covers the very sports you plan to try.
In the past is was sometimes difficult to find the best and most appropriate cover for specific sports, to protect against injuries and damage to sports equipment, while engaging in extreme sports whilst abroad. Travel insurance providers though in recent years have started to offer more specific policy choices for the sports traveller and these companies are now much more familiar then they were in the past, with providing exact information on what is covered and what is not. If you are unsure of what your policy covers and if it will cover the specific activity you plan to take part in, be it rock climbing, cycling, water sports or football for example, call the helpline of your provider or the provider you are considering to use, before travelling.
These days though, many companies are now in the market to provide specialists cover and there are some great options out there. Several companies have realised that there is a niche market for this type of cover and for the adventurer this is certainly good news. You can now find competitive prices for cover to make rock climbing, skiing, hiking, ice skating and bungee all activities you can participate in and whilst having the peace of mind in knowing that you have medical cost protection.
The exact type of extreme sport you plan to participate in can make a definite difference to exactly which add-ons you need to pay for. Most insurers though expect you to take out extra cover for an activity such as skiing and these add-on normally simply involve ensuring that you check the box which asks if you plan to undertake any such activities and then paying the extra. If you do plan to ski when abroad then do NOT consider trying to save on the policy cost by not declaring your planned activities on the insurance form. Lying in your application could invalidate your whole policy and this in turn could easily mean that the £250,000 medical and evacuation bill you are faced with is not covered by the insurance company (all because you wanted to save £5).
While standard travel insurance packages provide cover for some sports activities, along with cover for cancellation and delay, baggage loss, hired equipment loss or damage and medical treatment, not all policies cover extreme sports activities – in fact few policies do. While some policies cover only winter sports, others will cover only outdoor activities. The key is to talking with the provider to double check exactly what the small print says is included.
If you will kayak, specifically check to see if this exact activity is covered in your main policy, if it is covered as extreme sports, or exactly what add-ons you need (and also do not need) to be covered. You also do NOT want to over buy and include an add on extreme sports cover when you do not actually need it. Whether or not bungee jumping is covered or not for example can be company specific and thus checking with the company you plan to buy from can help.
Single v. Annual Multi-Trip
Extreme sports travel insurance can be obtained for a single trip, but is also available as a mult-trip (annual) policy, just the same as any standard over can be bought for multiple trips. If you ski 2, 3 or 4 times a year you might want to get quotes for an annual policy. The decision on single versus annual cover really comes down to price and how frequently you travel rather than the availability of such cover. Do consider though that you might for example travel abroad 6 times a year but only one of those trips is for winter sports such as skiing. In this case you might be best off with a single policy for the ski trip and then one annual policy for the other 5 trips, so that the extreme sports does not greatly increase the whole cost of your annual policy. The key is to get multiple quotes and compare the options.
Extreme sports travel insurance does not protect one from getting injured, but it certainly helps pay for medical treatment if one does get injured. Covering potential dangerous sports injuries is especially important is skiing or snow boarding in the USA where medical fees are scarily high. As they say – don’t leave home with it!
There are many companies in the holiday insurance market but few seem to specialise in cover for Extreme Sports. Some companies you can try though include: