Extreme sports travel insurance

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

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 insurance policy may only cover low-risk activities, so if you’re sky diving or rock climbing, you’ll probably need a different level of cover.

There are hundreds of activities that can be considered ‘extreme’, with varying degrees of risk. Insurance providers have different views on what they class as extreme. Whether you can get cover for a particular sport or activity will depend on how your insurance provider assesses that risk.

It’s important to tell your insurance provider what sports you’ll be taking part in while you’re away, so that they can accurately assess how much cover you need.

Whether you're going on a skiing trip or trekking off the beaten track, read our guide to choosing the right policy for your extreme sports adventure.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

What do insurance providers consider an extreme sport?

Each insurance provider has its own way of deciding which sports are extreme. That’s why it’s so important to check that your chosen activity is covered before buying insurance.

Most people would agree that high-adrenaline activities such as bungee jumping, white water rafting and sky diving, are risky. But some insurance providers consider much tamer activities to be ‘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 which activities are included. If the policy doesn’t cover your chosen sport, 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?

Every insurance policy is different, but they usually include:

  • Medical expenses to cover the cost of medical treatment and hospital bills if you’re injured or fall ill, including ambulance or air ambulance fees.
  • Repatriation covers the cost of getting you home if necessary, or if you miss your flight after hospital treatment.
  • Cancellation and delays.
  • Loss and theft – travel insurance can cover you if your baggage is lost or your possessions are stolen.
  • Personal injury - you can receive a lump-sum payment if an accident on your trip leaves you permanently disabled.
  • Personal liability - this covers compensation costs if you injure someone, or damage or lose their property.

Travel insurance may also cover disruption related to coronavirus. To find policies that offer this cover, select the ‘more details’ option on the quote results page, and read the policy carefully to see exactly what’s covered.

What if I don’t know what activities I’ll be doing?

It’s not out of the question that you’ll spontaneously decide to take part in a spot of rock climbing or scuba diving while you’re away.

That’s why it’s a good idea to take your policy documents with you. That way, if you make a last-minute decision to try an activity, you can check it’s on the list. If it’s not covered, call your insurance provider to see if you can add it. If that’s not possible, you may be able to buy standalone insurance on the day, but whatever you do, make sure you’re covered.

Frequently asked questions

Does winter sports insurance cover off-piste skiing?

It depends. Some providers will cover you for off-piste skiing within the resort while others won’t cover it at all. If you’re planning to go off-piste, check the policy wording to make sure you’re covered. If not, it’s worth shopping around to find a policy that provides this type of cover.

Do I need travel insurance if I have an EHIC or GHIC card?

It’s recommended that you have both a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) and separate travel insurance in place before travelling to another EU country.

After Brexit, the Government replaced the EHIC with the GHIC. If you already have an EHIC, it’s valid until the expiry date.

If you don’t have either card, you can apply for a GHIC, which should arrive within 10 days.

The GHIC offers similar cover to the EHIC - access to some medical treatment in EU countries on the same basis as locals. Neither the EHIC or GHIC will cover private medical costs, mountain rescue costs, stolen luggage, cancellation or repatriation. Because of this, they’re not an alternative to travel insurance.

Find out more about the Global 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 your policy 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, you may find your policy is invalid when you come 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, extreme sports cover comes with conditions attached. For example, you won’t be covered if:

  • You’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • It’s believed you behaved recklessly or dangerously.
  • You don’t follow recommended safety instructions and rules. Some policies will only cover you if you’re accompanied by an instructor.

Always check your policy amounts and limits, as some providers may charge a larger medical excess for certain activities.

Which sports are considered extreme or hazardous?

As well as the usual bungee jumping and skydiving, there are a whole host of other sports that your insurance provider may consider extreme. These include (but are not limited to) kite surfing, mountain biking, paragliding, scuba diving, sea kayaking and even martial arts.

How do I get the right cover for my trip?

Here’s how to make sure you you’re properly covered for your trip:

  • Check the policy wording to make sure your sport is covered.
  • If necessary, call the insurance provider and ask if you can add an extreme sport.
  • Make sure the policy has all the cover you require – for example, medical expenses, baggage cover and flight cancellations.
  • Compare policies to find the right level of cover at a price you’re happy with.

Where can I get extreme sports travel insurance?

Our comparison service is an easy way to find the right policy to suit your needs.

Compare extreme sports travel insurance today and find the right policy for you, so that you can enjoy your action-packed trip knowing 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:

  • Travel dates
  • Destination
  • Details of any specialist cover required
  • Excess limits
  • Pre-existing medical conditions
  • Personal details.

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

Start a quote

Josh Daniels

Travel insurance expert

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.”

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