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Sports travel insurance

Whether you’re into skiing, cycling, golf, snowboarding or tennis, there’s nothing like pairing your favourite sports activities with a holiday. Get the right travel insurance to cover your chosen sport and you can enjoy your holiday with peace of mind.

What is sports travel insurance?

If you’re going on a holiday where you’ll be taking part in sports or other activities, a standard travel insurance policy may not cover you for any injuries you pick up. To get the right protection, you’ll need a specialist sports travel insurance policy.

What activities does sports travel insurance cover?

Standard travel insurance can cover low-risk activities, such as camping or fishing, but typically doesn’t cover more extreme or adventurous sports – like skiing or scuba diving – or the cost of lost, stolen or damaged sports equipment. That’s where specialist sports travel insurance comes in.

Here are some examples of activities that could be covered by a sports travel insurance policy:

  • cycling
  • horse riding
  • snorkelling and scuba-diving
  • sailing
  • recreational sports, such as golf, football and badminton

Be aware that every travel insurance provider has their own classification of what they consider low and high-risk sports and adventure activities. It’s essential when comparing policies, that you read each one carefully to ensure your chosen sport is covered. Many providers divide sporting activities into risk groups and may cover more adventurous sports at a higher cost. If your chosen activity isn’t covered by your insurance provider, you may need to find a specialist sports insurance provider who can give you the extreme sports cover you need. 

A typical sports travel insurance policy should cover:

  • medical expenses
  • emergency transportation, such as ambulance fees and repatriation if medically necessary
  • cancellation and curtailment
  • lost, stolen or damaged baggage
  • personal liability – damage costs if you accidentally injure another person or damage their property
  • personal injury – a lump sum in the event of permanent disability or death.

When you consider that medical treatment and repatriation costs from the USA and Asia could be as much as £100,000, the cover that travel insurance provides is more than worth it.

What’s not covered by sports travel insurance?

Each sports travel insurance policy can be different, with each insurance provider categorising sports with different levels of risk. This means you should compare quotes to find the best fit for your holiday and get the cover you need.

Here are some examples of things that may not be covered by a sports travel insurance policy:

  • Water sports – e.g. jet-skiing, parasailing and white-water rafting
  • Winter sports – e.g. skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling
  • Extreme sports -  e.g. rock climbing, bungee jumping and sky diving

Frequently asked questions

For insurance purposes, what sports are considered extreme?

It’s easy to work out that certain activities automatically fall into the extreme sports category, such as:

  • rock climbing
  • bungee jumping
  • mountaineering
  • white water rafting
  • caving
  • skiing and snowboarding
  • handgliding
  • scuba diving

But some extreme activities are considered too risky for insurance providers. You may have difficulty getting cover for adrenaline fixes such as:

  • cliff diving
  • free running
  • scuba diving below 150 feet
  • free climbing
  • ice climbing
  • rock climbing above 14,000 feet

And there are some activities that you might assume are covered by a standard insurance policy, which are considered extreme sports by some insurance providers. These include:

  • horse riding
  • golfing
  • swimming with dolphins
  • inflatable banana rides

That’s why you need to read the full details of each policy before committing to one.

Do I need additional cover for winter sports?

If you want specialist ski or snowboard travel insurance, it’s worth looking for a policy that offers winter sports cover.

Some insurance providers also offer special cover such as golf travel insurance and specialist cover for water sports.

It may end up costing more, but specialist sports insurance might offer more comprehensive protection for you and your equipment, so it’s worth comparing different providers. 

Can I get sports travel insurance with a pre-existing condition?

Yes, you should be able to get sports travel insurance with a pre-existing medical condition. However, it’s unlikely that you’ll be covered for that condition. Pre-existing medical conditions must be disclosed when taking out the policy, and these are usually among the listed exclusions. If you’d like to cover against pre-existing medical conditions, you’ll need a specialist policy, which could be much more expensive.

How do I choose the right sports travel insurance policy for me?

When booking a holiday, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and consider what sports and activities you may want to do.

Once you have an idea of what you’ll be doing during your trip:

  • start comparing quotes.
  • when comparing, check each policy carefully to make sure the sports and activities you want to do are covered.
  • if you can’t find your chosen sport or activity on the list, call the insurance provider directly to find out if you can add it as an extra – some providers will charge you more for this, while others may add it to your standard policy at no extra cost.
  • depending on the sports you want to do, you may need to take out a separate extreme or adventure sports policy.

What else should I be aware of when comparing sports travel insurance?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition you need to declare this to your insurance provider. While a medical condition could mean that your premium may cost you a little more, not declaring it could invalidate your entire policy.

Decide whether you want a policy to cover a one-off trip, in which case you could consider single trip insurance, or two or more trips that involve a sporting activity during the year, when an annual multi trip policy might be more appropriate.

If you’re planning a trip that lasts longer than 60 consecutive days, it’s unlikely that a standard travel policy will cover you. In this case, backpacker insurance with additional cover for sports might be more appropriate.

Also, be aware that some sports insurance providers will ask for specifics, such as anticipated altitude on a climbing holiday or immersion depths on a scuba diving holiday, so be sure to have all necessary information ready when choosing a policy.

Author image Josh Daniels

What our expert says...

“Make sure you take your travel insurance policy with you on your holiday. That way, if you decide to try out a new sport, there and then, you can check to see if it’s on the list of covered sports. If it’s not, call your provider to see if it can be added.”

- Josh Daniels, Travel insurance expert

What do I need to get a quote?

To find you a suitable quote, we’ll need some details such as:

  • your travel dates
  • where you’re travelling to
  • any extra sports packages you would like, for example, winter or water sports
  • any pre-existing medical conditions

Once we have the information we need, we’ll send you a list of suitable quotes to compare.

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Page last reviewed on 21/03/2022
by Josh Daniels