Extreme sports travel insurance: a simple guide
Extreme sports travel insurance is perfect for adrenaline junkies who love to take part in all-action sporting activities while they’re on holiday. A standard policy may only cover low-risk activities, so an adventure that includes sky diving or rock climbing, for example, requires a different level of cover.
There are hundreds of activities that can be considered ‘extreme’, with varying degrees of risk. When it comes to insurance, providers have different views on what they class as extreme. Whether or not you’ll be offered cover for a specific sport or activity will depend on how they assess that risk.
It’s important to give details about any sports you’ll be doing, so your insurance provider can make an accurate assessment based on the cover you need.
Whether you're going on a skiing trip or trekking off the beaten track, read our guide below to ensure that you select the right policy for your extreme sports adventure.
A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.
If a country is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.
The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, should you have any queries please check the policy wording or contact your chosen provider before purchasing to ensure the cover meets your needs.
Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.Find out more here
Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions
Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.
The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.
In insurance terms, what is considered an extreme sport?
Each insurance provider has their own terms and will have different classifications for which sports are classed as extreme. It’s important to check your cover details before buying your insurance, to make sure your chosen activity is covered.
Most would agree that many high-adrenaline activities, including bungee jumping, white water rafting, rock climbing, sky diving and hand gliding, are risky.
However, for insurance purposes there are other activities that some providers consider ‘extreme’. For example:
- Swimming with dolphins
- Horse riding
- Inflatable banana rides
Some sports even have their own specialist cover such as:
Whatever travel insurance policy you choose, check it carefully for the listed activities that are included and those that are excluded. If your sport isn’t covered under the policy, you need to ask your insurance provider if they can add it. Or find a specialist insurance provider who offers the level of cover you need.
What does extreme sports travel insurance cover?
What’s actually covered will depend on your insurance policy, but it should include:
- Medical expenses. This can cover the cost of medical treatment and hospital bills if you’re injured, including ambulance or air ambulance fees.
- Repatriation. This can cover the costs for getting you home if it’s medically necessary, or if you miss your flight after hospital treatment.
- Personal injury. Typically, a lump sum payment is made if an accident on your trip leaves you permanently disabled.
- Personal liability. This can cover compensation costs if you injure someone, or damage or lose their property by accident.
What if I don’t know what activities I’ll be doing yet?
If you buy your insurance through your travel provider, they’re duty bound to offer you a policy that’s appropriate for the holiday you’re going on.
But what if you decide to do something spontaneous while you’re away?
A good thing to do is take your policy document with you on your holiday. That way, if you want to do something on the spot, you can check whether the activity is on the list. If it’s not covered, give your insurance provider a call to see if it can be added.
Frequently asked questions
Will winter sports insurance cover me for off-piste skiing?
It depends. Some providers will cover you for off-piste skiing within the resort boundaries, while others won’t cover any type of off-piste skiing. If you’re planning to go off-piste, check the policy wording to make sure you’re covered. If not, it may be worth shopping around to find a policy that provides this type of cover.
Do I need travel insurance if I have an EHIC card?
Yes, it’s recommended that you have both a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and separate travel insurance in place before travelling to another EU country.
After Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU with a deal in place, things have changed. You won’t be able to apply for an EHIC anymore, but, if you have one already, issued before the end of 2020, then it’ll still be valid until the expiry date.
However, the UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC here, and it should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.
However, the EHIC/GHIC is not an alternative to travel insurance. It won’t cover private medical costs, mountain rescue costs or repatriation.
Find out more about the European Health Insurance card.
Can I get extreme sports travel insurance if I have a health condition?
It’s possible to get extreme sports travel insurance if you have a pre-existing medical condition. But you may need to find a specialist insurance provider, and for some pre-existing conditions your insurance may be more expensive.
It’s important to tell your insurance provider about any pre-existing medical conditions and give them all the information they need. Otherwise, your policy may be invalid if you need to make a claim.
What else do I need to think about when taking out extreme sports travel insurance?
As with any type of travel insurance, there are conditions that apply to extreme sports cover, for example:
- You won’t be covered if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- You won’t be covered if it’s believed you behaved recklessly or dangerously.
- You must ensure you follow recommended safety instructions and regulations for your specific sport or activity. Some policies will only cover you if you’re accompanied by an instructor.
- Check the amounts and limits on your policy, as some providers may charge a larger medical excess for certain activities.
How do I get the right cover for my trip?
Compare policies to ensure you get the right cover for your trip, and do the following:
- Check the wording of each policy to confirm whether your chosen sport is covered.
- If your chosen sport isn’t listed, contact the insurance provider directly – you may be able to add an extreme sport to your policy.
- Ensure the policy you choose has all the cover you require - for example, medical expenses, baggage cover, flight cancellations.
- Compare a number of policies to find the right level of cover at a price that you’re happy with.
Where can I get extreme sports travel insurance?
Our comparison service is a quick and easy way to find the right insurance policy to suit your needs.
Once we’ve created a list of insurance providers, check each policy to ensure your extreme sport or adventure activity is covered. If your chosen activity isn’t on the list, you may need to call the insurance provider to see if they will extend the policy to cover your needs.
Compare extreme sports travel insurance today and find the right policy for you, so you can enjoy your action-packed trip with the peace of mind that you’re covered.
What do I need to get a quote?
To get a quote, we’ll need to ask you a few questions including:
- your travel dates
- your destination
- any specialist cover you’d like
- your excess limits
- any pre-existing medical conditions
- your personal details
Once we have all the information we need, we’ll send you a list of suitable quotes to compare.Start a quote
From the Travel team
What our expert says
“If you’re taking a number of trips throughout the year, an annual policy might work out cheaper than a single policy for each trip. Just make sure that your annual policy covers any sports and activities you’re planning to do.
“You can always update your policy if you want to add any sports that aren’t already listed. It might mean paying slightly more, but it’s worth it to have the peace of mind that you’re covered, should the worst happen.”