A guide to adventure travel insurance

A guide to adventure travel insurance

If you’re the active type, your holiday may include a few adventure sports that travel insurance providers don’t automatically cover. So what kind of insurance do you need for adventure sports, and how do you get hold of it?

Wouter Van Rijn From the Travel team
5
minute read
posted

How do you know if your adventure travel insurance covers your activities?

It’s easy to tell if an activity is covered by a particular travel insurance policy – you just need to look at the small print.

When you compare travel insurance with us, you can download the policy wording for each of the options we show you. There you’ll find a list of basic sports activities that are automatically insured with the policy, from netball to table tennis to yoga. If an activity isn’t on the list, it isn’t covered – it’s as simple as that. 

How do you know if your adventure travel insurance covers your activities?

If the insurer offers several different policy levels you will usually be able to see which adventure sports are included at which level.

The policy will also have sections listing the activities insured if you pay for add-ons. For example, a winter sports travel insurance add-on might include skiing, snowboarding and so on. Other activity packs would include other sports – perhaps surfing and paintballing at the lower levels and bobsleigh and sledging at the higher ones. Insurers lists are usually very specific and cover all kinds of activities from abseiling, banana boating and camel riding to zorbing and zip lining. 

Make sure everything you plan to do is on one of those lists, and look out for any exclusions. Insurance provider's activity lists should make clear what activities are and aren't included, and any limitations and conditions, for example, if it has to be done under the supervision of a qualified instructor, or there might be a maximum altitude for trekking, distance from shore for sailing or depth for diving.. With some providers, a variety of activities might be included if you do them once or twice, but excluded if they’re the main purpose of your trip. 

Most travel insurance policies cover you as an amateur on a casual basis but won't cover professionals.

If you’re not sure, don’t just hope for the best. Contact the insurance provider and ask.

What do you get with adventure sport travel insurance?

If you have adventure travel insurance that covers a particular activity, you’ll usually be insured for:

  • the cost of medical treatment if you’re injured while doing the activity
  • personal accident cover – a payout if you’re seriously injured, e.g. you lose a limb
  • personal liability cover in case someone else gets hurt
  • legal expenses to cover hiring a lawyer for you if you need one
What do you get with adventure sport travel insurance?

Having medical cover could save you from a life-altering level of debt. For example, if you break a bone while skiing your bill is likely to come to £8-12,000 for medical costs, £600 for mountain rescue and £2,000 for transfers or flights to get you home. If you need an air ambulance you can add another £10,000 to the bill.

If you are taking your own sports equipment, such as skis, check to see if these are covered, if an additional premium is needed, and what any excess you might have to pay.

Can you add adventure sports cover after you leave?

Say you’re on a beach holiday and, on impulse, you decide to try parasailing. You didn’t pick any adventure sports packages when you bought your insurance, and parasailing isn’t on the basic list… what can you do?

It depends on the insurance provider. Some will let you call up and add cover – but most won’t. In that case, you should sit it out. Unfortunately it’s hard to be spontaneous about risky sports if you want to stay covered by your insurance. 

Other things to consider

If you have travel insurance included with your bank account, it’ll probably only cover the basics. You usually have the option to call up and add extras, such as winter sports cover, but this may not be great value. Ask your provider what it will cost, then compare travel insurance quote for the same level of cover as a separate policy.

If you have annual travel cover, you might assume it's more comprehensive than a single-trip policy – but it usually isn’t. You’ll have similar protection for basic sports, and riskier activities will only be included if you buy the add-ons.

There are specialist insurance providers out there. In the rare situation where you can’t find any travel insurance policy that insures the activity you plan to do, you can contact a specialist insurance provider for a personalised quote.

Compare adventure travel insurance

At Compare the Market, we help you compare travel insurance from a wide range of providers. Just give us a few details and we’ll show you a wide range of quotes – plus show you all the documents you need to check if your adventure sport plans will be covered.

Compare adventure travel insurance

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