Extreme sports travel insurance

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Comparing insurance for extreme sports on holiday

For some people a holiday isn’t a holiday unless their adrenaline levels have hit the ceiling. Maybe canyoning floats your boat? Or bungee jumping, or paragliding? We imagine that sitting down with a nice cup of tea isn’t on your holiday wish list, then.


To get the best from your trip, you’ll need peace of mind that you have a fall-back if something goes wrong. So it’s essential to look into extreme sports insurance.


Which extreme sports are covered?


There are two key elements that you need to consider which could go beyond the average travel insurance policy.


First is injury. Doing something extreme on holiday often means a higher risk of someone getting hurt. Needing medical treatment abroad can be pretty pricey, so people buy holiday insurance to cover any costs if something goes wrong.


What’s interesting though, is that on a typical travel policy, most insurers will let you do some extreme sports and not others.


To give you an idea, surfing, windsurfing and even bungee jumping (up to 3 times) are all often covered in a basic policy, but mountain biking, sea canoeing, canyoning, rock climbing and abseiling are not (make sure you check each provider for what’s covered).


The second thing to think about is equipment. Most insurance policies will cover you for a certain value of baggage, but if you’re transporting valuable mountain bikes or surfboards, this amount might not cover what you paid for them.


To make sure you have the right level of cover in place, you have two options. First, you could check the details of a typical travel policy to find out if your sport is covered and whether the baggage values are high enough. You could also call the insurer to see if they can offer more cover to suit you.


The second option is to seek out a specialist provider for your sport and buy a tailored extreme sports insurance policy. This might offer you more comprehensive protection – but may well cost more too.


What does travel insurance cover?


Policies do vary, but most should include emergency medical treatment costs, like hospital charges and ambulance fees. They usually pay to get you home after medical treatment abroad, if you can’t use your original tickets.  Often you’ll be covered for a friend or relative to stay with you, or even flying out to support you during your treatment.


Your policy will usually refund you if the trip has to be cancelled or cut short for some reason, or cover you for the loss of your baggage or other possessions.


So how much will it cost you to buy your insurance? It actually depends on a few things, so the best way to find out what would work best for you is to do a travel insurance comparison.


Where are you going?


When you compare travel insurance for your extreme sports holiday, the first thing the insurer wants to know is your destination the UK, or for Europe, or the USA, Canada and Caribbean. You’ll need extra cover if you’re going to the USA, Canada or Caribbean, and if you’re going further we’ll ask you to name the country.


You might have been told that you don’t need travel insurance if you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). In many European countries, the EHIC means you can get medical treatment on the same basis (maybe free or at a low cost) as local people. However, it will be on the basis you get taken to a public not private hospital. In the event of an emergency you will be taken to the nearest hospital.


But the EHIC isn’t a substitute for travel cover – it wouldn’t get you home or cover other costs linked to your medical emergency. They are also date-specific, so check the expiry on your card before you travel. Be aware too, that not all European countries recognise the EHIC.  Outside the EU of course there’s no EHIC, so it can be more expensive again to get medical support. Also some policies will waive your excess if you have one.


Extreme sports are by their very nature, risky, so it’s even more important to think carefully about how you would cope if you or a friend were injured. It’s not just money that’s at stake, it could be your health.


How’s your health?


To an insurer, if you have a health condition it could mean you‘re more likely to need medical help while you’re away on your trip. Because of this, some conditions might make your insurance more expensive but this isn’t always the case with all conditions.


It’s important that you list any medical conditions and give insurers all the information they need because, if not, you might be charged more by your insurer or not be covered. If your insurer discovers that the medical emergency on your trip was linked to a condition or injury you already had, they could refuse to pay your bills or add a cost.


Who’s coming too?


You can buy travel cover just for you, or you could buy it as a couple, a family or as a group.


If you’re including other people, you’ll need their dates of birth and details of any medical conditions they might have, to get an accurate quote.


Compare and save!


Next you’ll get a page full of travel insurance quotes. This are listed in price order with the cheapest travel insurance at the top. 


You’ll see the main details of each policy – how well it’s rated by Defaqto, the amounts of medical, baggage and cancellation cover and the excess you’d pay if you did claim. You can filter your results too, if you like.


To find out more about what is and isn’t included in the policies, click each one for more details.


Once you have found a travel insurance quote that suits you, click the button to go through and buy. But do make sure you read all the details. You might find that your favourite sport is covered, but something else you decide to do on your trip – deep sea fishing or paragliding – is not.


We hope you have a great extreme sports holiday with no mishaps, but make sure you have the right cover, just in case.