Travel Insurance for Daredevils
Thursday, June 5, 2014
While many travellers can take the risk to travel without insurance, extreme sports enthusiasts are imprudent if they take the same chance. If you enjoy taking trips to places where you can ski, paraglide or dive, you may need to know about travel insurance:
- While you can do without trip cancelation and lost luggage insurance, a policy that covers medical treatment, evacuation and repatriation to your country of origin is a must. If you injure yourself during your adventures in a foreign country, you will be financially responsible for the evacuation to hospital, the hospital bills and the repatriation. This can run well into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, a sum that will bankrupt most of us completely.
- Standard travel insurance policies do not cover extreme sports and equipment. They replace lost luggage, not expensive sports gear, and they pay the medical bills of medium-risk travellers, not high-risk ones. You need a specialised policy, which many travel insurers now offer.
- If your extreme activity of choice involves expensive equipment such as customised surfboards, snow or diving gear, specialised adventure travel insurance policies usually cover the replacement cost if you damage or lose it. But they do stipulate an amount beyond which they do not replace equipment, so make sure your toys are below that limit.
- Travel insurance policies are now available for just about any high-risk activity, but read the fine print to make sure your insurer does not exclude certain activities altogether, or that it does not set height, depth and other limits on your favourite sports. Most insurers prohibit travel to countries that the federal government warns against.
- Insurers rank activities according to their risk level. Bungee jumping and rock climbing, for example, are usually ranked in a lower risk band than shark cage diving and class five white water rafting. Unsurprisingly, the higher-risk ones have more costly premiums. Decide what you want to do before your holiday, since most insurers do not allow you to upgrade your policy later.
Policy prices vary wildly depending on their duration, permissions and prohibitions, but you are unlikely to find one that covers you for less than $200 per month. Compared to the possible medical bills, this is less than it appears.