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Best Travel Insurance for Winter, Adventure, and Extreme Sports

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Jessica Merritt
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Jessica Merritt

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A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little ca...
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Planning an adventurous trip? Your travel insurance might not cover everything you want to do — particularly if you plan on adventure activities or winter or extreme sports. 

Whether diving the ocean’s depths or ziplining through a forest, sports travel insurance can help you go confidently on adventures knowing you’re covered if anything goes wrong. Whether you need emergency assistance and evacuation or a reimbursement for a trip cut short by injury, travel insurance with sports coverage can help.

While standard travel insurance typically offers medical coverage, most policies exclude certain activities, particularly risky sports. But you can purchase a travel insurance policy that provides coverage for all your adventures, either as a stand-alone policy or an add-on to a comprehensive travel insurance package.

Let’s explore everything you need to know about travel insurance for sports and adventure activities and how to get that coverage for any high-risk activities you may plan for your travels.

Why Get Adventure Sports Travel Insurance?

Adventure sports travel insurance covers activities such as mountain climbing or deep-sea scuba diving (i.e. any activity that has a higher risk level than a “regular” travel activity).

While accidents can happen anywhere, you’re particularly vulnerable when away from home. Medical expenses and evacuation can be costly, especially if traveling to remote areas or a foreign country where you’re unsure about quality medical care. Sports travel insurance covers emergency medical expenses, ambulance services, and evacuation.

Some travel insurance companies offer emergency assistance services, which can help you get the medical care you need in a remote location or challenging environment. The travel insurance company can provide access to medical professionals, coordinate your care, and arrange an emergency evacuation if needed.

For example, if you’re climbing a mountain and break a leg, adventure sports travel insurance can help get you off the mountain and connected with medical care.

Adventure sports travel insurance can also help if a sports-related injury requires you to cancel or interrupt your trip or if you experience equipment loss or damage. That can save you money on non-refundable expenses and help you replace sports equipment.

Travel Insurance Often Excludes High-risk Sports

While getting travel insurance is wise, you should understand that standard travel insurance policies may not include coverage for certain sports activities. Some travel insurance plans offer coverage for sports-related injuries and accidents, but others may have exclusions or limitations for high-risk or extreme sports.

When you purchase a travel insurance policy, review the terms and conditions to know which sports and activities are covered and any exclusions or limitations you may need to work with. Usually, travel insurance medical coverage encompasses unexpected accidents or injuries, which can include some sports like hiking or snorkeling, for example. But extreme or high-risk sports such as white water rafting or skydiving may not be included.

Manta Rays in Maldives
Planning to snorkel or scuba dive with manta rays in the Maldives? Make sure your travel insurance covers water sports. Image Credit: Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri via Unsplash

Exclusions depend on the insurance policy, but here are some examples of sports and activities that your standard travel insurance policy may not cover:

  • Base jumping
  • Bungee jumping
  • Martial arts and combat sports
  • Motor racing and motorsports
  • Mountaineering and rock climbing
  • Off-piste skiing and snowboarding
  • Paragliding and hang gliding
  • Scuba diving and deep-sea diving
  • Skydiving

If you find your travel policy lacking in coverage for the activities you’ve planned, you should consider getting additional coverage, such as a specialized sports travel insurance policy or add-on coverage.

Credit Card Travel Insurance Often Excludes High-risk Activities

Don’t expect your credit card travel insurance to cover extreme sports. 

While you should read the terms and conditions of the policy, most credit card travel insurance policies exclude risky activities, which extends to sports considered extreme. 

Credit card travel insurance often covers basic medical expenses, trip cancellation or interruption, lost baggage, and travel accidents. For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® has premium travel insurance, offering up to $1 million in travel accident insurance, along with emergency evacuation and transportation insurance, emergency medical and dental benefits, and other travel insurance benefits.

If you plan to do high-risk activities and use credit card travel insurance, check your coverage and consider upgrading your travel insurance to include your desired activities.

Bottom Line:

Credit card travel insurance is helpful but sometimes limited, especially compared to adventure sports travel insurance policies. You may need to pay for travel insurance if you’re planning extreme sports or activities.

Travel Insurance for High-risk Sports

As you plan an adventurous trip, consider which travel insurance coverage may be most appropriate for your plans. Some travel insurance policies are comprehensive and cover multiple types of high-risk sports, while others are more specialized. 

Because there’s a wide variety of what’s covered (or not) on each policy, using a travel insurance comparison service such as Squaremouth can be helpful. You can search for travel insurance policies that cover the activities you’re looking for and compare costs and coverage.

Consider these types of adventure travel insurance policies or add-ons:

  • Adventure Sports: On an adventure sports travel insurance policy, look for covered activities such as hiking, mountaineering, or rafting. The policy may encompass injuries, medical expenses, trip cancellations or interruptions, and equipment loss or damage.
  • Extreme Sports: Travel insurance for extreme sports typically covers skydiving, bungee jumping, or rock climbing, providing coverage for accidents, injuries, medical expenses, and emergency evacuation.
  • Sports Equipment: Some travel insurance offers coverage for sports equipment, which can reimburse you for loss, theft, or damage to your gear.
  • Team Sports: A travel insurance policy may cover team-related expenses, such as tournament cancellations or travel delays if you travel for competitive events.
  • Water Sports: Water sports travel insurance policies may cover surfing, diving, snorkeling, or water skiing. For diving coverage, you should verify that the policy covers the depths you’re planning and whether you need certifications for coverage.
  • Winter Sports: Winter sports travel insurance policies are designed for winter sports enthusiasts, offering coverage for skiing or snowboarding-related injuries and emergency medical expenses or equipment loss or damage. Some also cover ski resort closures.

While you can get travel insurance for sports, including high-risk sports, most travel insurance companies have personal liability requirements. Generally, you’re required to act responsibly to use your coverage. That includes not going against local authority warnings, like entering restricted spaces, working close to dangerous animals, or not using proper safety equipment.

Hot Tip:

Do some pre-trip planning on your chosen activities to learn about the risks and requirements for everything you want to do. You may need to complete certifications or training to participate safely.

How To Get Travel Insurance for High-risk Sports

Generally, if you want travel insurance for adventurous activities, you should get quotes for a comprehensive travel insurance plan and add a hazardous sports rider. Or specialized insurance providers may offer comprehensive plans for high-risk sports and activities.

Looking for insurance companies specializing in adventure sports is often a good idea to get comprehensive coverage for all your planned activities. 

With any travel insurance policy, you should review the terms and conditions to verify your planned activities are covered. Read your policy documents for exclusions, limitations, or requirements for your chosen activities. You should also verify your coverage limits. 

Hot Tip:

If you have a health or life insurance policy, check with your insurance carrier about coverage for high-risk sports during travel. While these are likely not covered, you may be able to add a special endorsement to your policy.

What Sports Travel Insurance Costs

Travel insurance that can evacuate you off a mountain sounds like it would be costly, but it might be more affordable than you’d think. It’s certainly less expensive than calling for your own rescue helicopter.

You should expect to pay around 5% to 10% of your total trip cost for sports travel insurance. Your actual adventure sports travel insurance costs will vary depending on your age, trip cost and duration, location, planned activities, and other factors. 

To give you an idea of what you should expect, we got a quote from IMG for an iTravelInsured Travel Sport policy. For a 29-year-old traveler on a $1,500 5-day skiing trip in the U.S., coverage costs $119.65

IMG adventure sports travel insurance quote
A comprehensive sports travel policy could cost you less than $125. Image Credit: Squaremouth

This policy includes $1 million in medical evacuation coverage and $50,000 in search and rescue coverage. You’re covered for up to $50,000 for medical expenses due to adventure or organized sports, though hazardous and extreme sports are limited to $5,000.

How To Choose Travel Insurance for High-risk Sports

Consider these factors as you compare high-risk sports travel insurance coverage:

  • Claims Process and Customer Support: Get the details on what happens if you need emergency assistance or want to file a claim. For example, find out how to get medical attention if injured in a remote area and whether you’re expected to pay upfront and file for reimbursement.
  • Cost: Expect adventure travel insurance to cost more than standard travel insurance. Cheaper policies tend to offer less comprehensive coverage, so consider your needs as you balance cost and coverage.
  • Duration: Some sports travel insurance policies limit the length of coverage for certain activities, so make sure you have coverage for your whole trip.
  • Emergency Assistance and Evacuation: You may engage in high-risk activities in remote locations or challenging environments where medical attention is unavailable immediately. A travel insurance policy can offer emergency assistance or evacuation for medical care.
  • Exclusions, Limitations, and Deductibles: Every policy has limits — even extreme policies. Find out what’s excluded, the limits of what you can claim, and if you’re expected to pay a deductible before getting reimbursed. Also, understand the terms and conditions, such as duration and geographical coverage.
  • Medical Coverage: With a greater risk of injuries from extreme sports, you should ensure that the insurance policy has adequate coverage for medical emergencies, including hospitalization, ambulance services, and, if needed, medical evacuation.
  • Requirements: You may need to meet age limits and disclose any preexisting medical conditions to get appropriate sports travel insurance coverage.
  • Reviews: Consider customer reviews and ratings, which can give insight into a travel insurance provider’s coverage quality, customer service, and claims handling.
  • Sports Coverage: Find out which sports and activities are covered so you can verify yours are covered.
  • Sports Equipment Coverage: If you’re traveling with costly sports equipment such as scuba gear or snowboarding equipment, compare coverage for loss, theft, or damage to your equipment.
  • Trip Cancellation and Interruption: A travel insurance policy should cover trip cancellation or interruption due to sports-related injuries.
Hot Tip:

Your high-risk sports travel insurance may require you to participate responsibly. For example, terms of coverage may require you to choose reputable operators, obtain proper training or certifications, follow local regulations, and use appropriate safety gear.

The Best Sports Travel Insurance Plans

Not all travel insurance providers offer sports travel insurance, but you have options. Compare these leading travel insurance policies for sports:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Travel Insurance CompanyCovered PlanCovered Activities
battlefaceDiscovery PlanAdventure sports
Cat 70Travel PlanAdventure sports
HTH WorldwideTripProtector PreferredAdventure sports
IMGiTravelInsured Travel SportAdventure, extreme, hazardous, and organized sports
John HancockGold PlanLimited high-risk sports
NationwidePrimeAdventure sports
TravelexAdventure Sports upgradeAdventure sports
World NomadsUpgrade (Explorer Plan)Snow, water, air, land, sports, and experiences — more than 200 activities
  • battleface: battleface’s adventure sports coverage includes cycling, mountain climbing, scuba diving, canoeing, snowboarding, and more, but it has limitations, including how deep you can dive or how high you can climb.
  • Cat 70: Cat 70’s Travel Plan covers some adventure sports, including snowboarding, but excludes bodily contact sports, skydiving, scuba diving, and more.
  • HTH Worldwide: The HTH Worldwide Trip Protector Preferred plan offers coverage for adventure sports, including certified divers up to 60 feet and water rafting grades 1 to 3.
  • IMG: IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel Sport plan has a wide range of covered activities, including adventure, extreme, hazardous, and organized sports. However, there are exclusions for races, endurance competitions, and piloting or learning to pilot.
  • John Hancock: You’re covered for some — but not all — adventure sports with a John Hancock Gold travel insurance plan. Some exclusions include diving deeper than 100 feet, participating in sports competitions, or contact sports.
  • Nationwide: With a Prime plan, you can get covered for adventure sports such as cycling, fishing, rafting, and zip lining, but exclusions apply, such as extreme sports, mountaineering, and organized sports.
  • Travelex: The Travelex Adventure Sports upgrade covers professional athletic events, mountain climbing, skydiving, and more. Travelex’s Travel Basic and Travel Select plans provide basic coverage for some activities, including skiing, snorkeling, and scuba diving up to 60 feet.
  • World Nomads: With the World Nomads Explorer plan, you can get covered for more than 200 activities, including scuba diving, bungee jumping, and mountain biking.

Final Thoughts

The right travel insurance coverage is essential when embarking on an adventurous trip with high-risk sports or activities. Adventure sports travel insurance can coordinate medical care, offer evacuation, and save you thousands if you’re injured on a trip. Whether bungee jumping or scuba diving, sports travel insurance can provide peace of mind while you’re chasing thrills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are adventure sports covered by travel insurance?

Adventure sports can be covered by travel insurance, but extreme sports are usually excluded from standard travel insurance coverage. Review your policy’s terms and conditions to determine whether your desired activities are covered. If not, you may want to purchase additional coverage appropriate for the activities you’re planning for your travel.

Does travel insurance cover water sports?

Travel insurance coverage for water sports varies depending on the policy and provider. For example, your standard policy may cover snorkeling, shallow diving, and surfing but could exclude deep-sea diving or white water rafting.

Does travel insurance cover sports injuries?

Travel insurance often covers sports injuries, but it depends on the sport. If you’re injured doing a sport not covered by your policy — such as ziplining or skydiving — medical care for your sports injury will not be covered. 

What travel insurance includes cover for sports equipment?

Sports travel insurance typically offers coverage for sports equipment, which can reimburse you for loss, theft, or damage of your sports equipment while traveling.

What travel insurance company covers me for extreme sports?

Several travel insurance companies cover extreme sports, including battleface, Cat 70, HTH Worldwide, IMG, John Hancock, Nationwide, Travelex, and World Nomads.

Jessica Merritt's image

About Jessica Merritt

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.

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