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Water sports travel insurance

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Why buy water sports travel insurance?

Water sports travel insurance gives you specialist cover if you're heading away on an adventure that is likely to feature sports and activities such as white-water rafting, scuba diving and jet skiing that are beyond the low risk pursuits covered by standard policies.

When it comes to holidays, we’re certainly becoming more adventurous and many of us are no longer content with just lying on a beach. But where water is involved, there’s always a certain amount of risk, so it’s important to have the right travel insurance in place.


As of 23rd Match 2020, the UK Government announced a series of restrictions to travel, public spaces and gatherings. For a minimum of three weeks, people are being instructed to stay at home whenever possible. For this reason, travel insurance policies purchased from this date, for trips within the UK with a start date before 13th April 2020, will not be valid.
The UK Government also instructed all British tourists and travellers, that are currently abroad, to return to the UK as soon as possible.
As of 17th March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all non-essential travel abroad for an initial period of 30 days. This means that any travel insurance purchased from this date, for trips outside of the UK with a start date before 16th April 2020, will not be covered by the provider.
Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on 11th March 2020, so this may also affect your policy, particularly those taken out on or after that date. Please check any existing policies carefully, to find out what you’re covered for.
For more information please see our travel insurance and coronavirus pages.

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of water sports insurance?

The key benefits of water sports travel insurance are that it offers you the right level of cover in case of an injury and that it gives you a peace of mind that your valuable equipment will be covered. 

  • injury – in Europe alone, between 14,000-47,000 injuries occur as a result of water sports and boating activities every year. Holiday accident rates for UK travellers have doubled in the past four years – with water sports being one of the main culprits. Having the right travel insurance in place could cover you for hefty medical bills, or even repatriation, if you get injured during your water sports activity
  • equipment – most insurance policies will cover your baggage up to a certain value. But if you’re transporting valuable water-skis or surfboards, this amount might not cover what you paid for them. When choosing a policy, make sure the level offered is high enough to cover the cost of your equipment

Which water sports are covered in a standard travel insurance policy?

Most standard travel insurance policies only cover low risk sports and may not be adequate for some of the more adventurous water sports, which are steadily growing in popularity. 

Also, be aware that every insurance provider is different. Risk levels vary for each one, and they don’t all cover the same things in their standard polices.  

According to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office only 12% of travellers read all of their insurance documents. But it’s vital that you check what you’re covered for, especially when it comes to water sports. 

Water sports usually covered in a standard travel insurance policy:

  • swimming
  • surfing
  • stand-up paddle boarding
  • snorkelling
  • water skiing
  • rowing

However, never assume a water sport, even a low risk one, is automatically covered. Always read the policy to be sure. 

What water sports may need extra or specialist water sports insurance cover?

If your chosen sport isn’t covered under a standard travel insurance policy, check whether extra cover can be added. If not, it may be worth comparing specialist sports insurance providers who offer specific cover for water sports. 

And even if your chosen water sport is covered, special conditions may apply. For example:

  • jet skiing – you must obey local water safety rules.
  • scuba diving – many policies will only cover you if you have an open water licence such as PADI, you dive under the supervision of a licensed instructor, and you don't dive below a specific depth limit (usually 130 feet)
  • sailing – must stay within 10-12 nautical miles of the shore
  • yachting – must be within 60 miles of a safe haven
  • white water rafting – some providers will only cover grade one to three rapids. Other may cover up to grade five
  • fishing – some insurance providers won’t cover deep sea fishing or spear fishing
  • paragliding – only covers tandem paragliding with a licensed instructor using equipment by a licensed operator
  • windsurfing – only covers you if you stay with 10 nautical miles of land

Some water sports may also be considered extreme for insurance purposes. If your chosen water sport is in this category, you may need to look at extreme sports cover to get the level of protection you need. 

Other things to consider when comparing water sports insurance

You could buy single trip insurance for just one holiday. But if you have more than one trip planned in a year, it’s worth considering annual travel insurance which could save you money. 

If you’re heading off travelling for more than 60 consecutive days, then backpacker’s travel insurance can cover you for a longer period of time. 

Where are you going?

When you compare travel insurance, you’ll need to confirm your destination. Europe is a popular choice for water sports, but you’ll need a different policy if you’re going to the USA or more exotic countries. 

How many are going?

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

How’s your health?

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it could affect your cover, so you must list any medical conditions and give insurance providers all the information they need, so they can give a you an accurate quote with the right level of cover.  

If you don’t tell your insurance provider and you have a medical emergency on your trip that’s linked to a pre-existing condition or injury, they may refuse to pay out. 

Compare water sports travel insurance

When comparing insurance providers, make sure you read all the details before making a choice. You might find your favourite water sport is covered, but something else you decide to do on your trip - say deep sea fishing or paragliding - is not. 

We make comparing travel insurance quick and easy. Find the right policy to suit your needs and start planning your water adventures with the peace of mind that you have cover in place.

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