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. Standard travel insurance may only cover low-risk activities, so if you’re sky diving or rock climbing, you’ll probably need extra cover.
There are hundreds of activities that can be considered ‘extreme’. Insurance providers have different views on which sports should be classed as extreme, depending on how they assess the risk involved.
When you compare travel insurance policies, it’s important to check that they include cover for the sports you’ll be taking part in while you’re away. That way you can enjoy your active holiday safe in the knowledge that you’ll be covered if your adventures don’t go to plan.
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 adventure sports travel insurance.
Most travel insurance providers (and people) consider the following high-adrenaline activities as extreme:
- Assault courses
- Bungee jumping
- Canyon swinging
- Canyoning and gorge walking
- Hang gliding
- Kite surfing
- Martial arts
- Mountain biking
- Quad biking
- Rock climbing
- Sea kayaking
- Shark diving
- White water or black water rafting
- Sky diving
For other adventurous sports and activities, it depends on the level of risk you’re taking. For example, you may need extreme sports cover if you’re:
- Canoeing or kayaking rivers classed above a certain grade,
- Scuba diving below a certain depth,
- Yachting outside of territorial waters,
- Hiking or trekking above a certain altitude.
Even tamer activities could be considered ‘extreme’ by insurance providers. For example:
- Swimming with dolphins
- Horse riding
- Inflatable banana rides
Certain 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 holiday 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 – to cover the cost of getting you home if necessary, or in case you miss your flight after hospital treatment.
- Holiday cancellation – to cover your expenses if you need to cancel your trip due to an unforeseen reason like an illness or injury.
- Missed flights and connections – caused by events out of your control like adverse weather or public transport 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. You can filter your quote results to find policies with the right level of covid cover for you when you compare with us.
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.
Customers with pre-existing medical conditions
If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.
If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.
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 winter sports policy that provides this type of cover.
Do I need travel insurance if I have an GHIC or EHIC card?
Yes, it’s highly recommended that you have a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and separate travel insurance in place before travelling to an EU country.
The GHIC and EHIC give you access to public medical treatment in EU countries on the same basis as locals. But they won’t cover private medical costs, mountain rescue costs, stolen luggage, cancellation or repatriation. Because of this, they’re not an alternative to travel insurance.
If you don’t have a GHIC or your EHIC has expired, you can apply for one free on the NHS website.
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.
Are there any activities considered too extreme for travel insurance?
It’s highly unlikely that you’ll find travel insurance that will cover certain extreme-risk activities that are considered uninsurable, such as base jumping, wing-suiting and free solo climbing.
And you’re likely to need a specialist policy if you’re planning on taking part in certain extreme sport activities including mountaineering, caving, or ice-climbing while on holiday.
Which insurance providers offer extreme sports travel insurance?
Many leading travel insurance providers offer adventure sport travel insurance. Some providers offer specialist insurance for extreme sports. Others will let you add on extra cover for your chosen activities to your standard travel policy at an additional cost.
The best travel policy for you depends on the specifics of the adventure holiday you have planned. For a good idea of what’s available, we recommend shopping around. That way you can compare prices for the cover you need.
What do I need to get a quote?
To get a quote, we’ll need to ask you a few questions, including:
- Travel dates
- 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