Edited by: Nick Ellis
& Stella Shon
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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.
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.
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.
Exclusions depend on the insurance policy, but here are some examples of sports and activities that your standard travel insurance policy may not cover:
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Consider these factors as you compare high-risk sports travel insurance coverage:
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.
Not all travel insurance providers offer sports travel insurance, but you have options. Compare these leading travel insurance policies for sports:
|Travel Insurance Company||Covered Plan||Covered Activities|
|battleface||Discovery Plan||Adventure sports|
|Cat 70||Travel Plan||Adventure sports|
|HTH Worldwide||TripProtector Preferred||Adventure sports|
|IMG||iTravelInsured Travel Sport||Adventure, extreme, hazardous, and organized sports|
|John Hancock||Gold Plan||Limited high-risk sports|
|Travelex||Adventure Sports upgrade||Adventure sports|
|World Nomads||Upgrade (Explorer Plan)||Snow, water, air, land, sports, and experiences — more than 200 activities|
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sports travel insurance typically offers coverage for sports equipment, which can reimburse you for loss, theft, or damage of your sports equipment while traveling.
Several travel insurance companies cover extreme sports, including battleface, Cat 70, HTH Worldwide, IMG, John Hancock, Nationwide, Travelex, and World Nomads.
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