What is Hazardous Sports Insurance Coverage?
Travelers often forget about coverage for hazardous sports when they’re buying visitors insurance because many travelers may not know they will most likely need additional coverage for adventurous activities.
Even if you don't plan on participating in any hazardous activities before your trip and choose not to purchase hazardous sports insurance, you may change your mind when the opportunity arises. It’s important to understand this fact: visitors insurance plans exclude coverage for medical accidents that result from participating in adventure sports unless you have coverage for adventurous sports.
Very specifically, this means that if you participate in an activity that is excluded in your policy and you get injured, your medical bills will not be covered.
The cost of medical care is very high around the world. If you are injured in a tandem paragliding adventure offered by your all-inclusive resort, you could be facing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses.
What is an Adventure Activity or Hazardous Sport?
Some of the more common hazardous activities defined in travel medical insurance policies include:
- Riding motorcycles or scooters (passenger and driver)
- Bungee jumping
- Water skiing
- Snow skiing and snowboarding
- Riding a snowmobile (passenger and driver)
- Hot air ballooning
- Zip lining
- Kayaking and whitewater rafting
Why Choose Adventure Coverage?
Travelers who plan on participating in adventurous activities, winter sports, and other hazardous sports should consider purchasing hazardous sports coverage with their travel medical insurance plan. If you’re a skier, kayaker, or hang-glider pilot, for example, you know you need hazardous activities coverage when you travel. If you plan to take the family on a whitewater-rafting trip through the Grand Canyon, your family will need this coverage.
If you don’t have adventure coverage with your insurance plan, be careful with those adventures you decide to do on the spur of the moment. If you are injured while participating in a hazardous activity as defined by your policy document, your insurance company will not pay for your medical treatment.
Travel Medical Insurance for Adventurers
You can get medical coverage for your favorite adventure activities with the right visitors insurance plan. Though you will need to be careful about the plan you choose and review the policy documentation carefully, many visitors insurance plans automatically cover some of the more common adventure sports, including snow skiing, snowboarding and SCUBA diving (above a certain depth).
How Adventure Coverage Works
Some travel medical insurance plans include coverage for less extreme sports, and others let you add adventure coverage to your plan for a slightly higher premium. This coverage often allows for a wider range of activities than the standard adventure coverage.
Every plan has a long list of activities it will not cover and specifics about the exclusion. For example, some plans cover snow skiing as long as you stay on the trails and don’t ski in the backcountry. To avoid confusion, make sure you carefully review the policy documents.
Where to Buy Adventure Coverage
Many tour operators - even adventure tour operators - offer their own brand of insurance coverage and travelers often assume that this coverage includes the activities they will participate in.
In any case, it’s recommended that you buy visitors insurance directly from a travel medical insurance company that is not associated with a specific travel site because the travel sites choose policies that benefit their business, not you.
The best way to buy travel medical insurance with adventure coverage is through an independent site that lets you research the plans and review the coverage details ahead of time. You also get time to review the plan and even cancel it if it will not meet your needs.
Disclose Pre-existing Conditions Immediately
Claims are often denied as a result of the pre-existing medical conditions exclusion, so it’s important for a traveler to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions they have - even if they believe the condition is minor and will be treated soon after. Any medical emergency that is related to a prior condition means that the insurance company will not pay the traveler’s medical bills.
Pay Attention to Supporting Coverage
When you’re traveling for an adventure, it’s important not to isolate your focus solely on the travel medical coverage because you also need these types of supporting coverage with your plan:
- Emergency evacuations - to get you off the mountain and into a hospital quickly.
- Repatriation - to recover your mortal remains if you die on your trip.
- Travel assistance services - to arrange for evacuations and repatriation and help you find local medical facilities who can treat your injuries.
Every visitors insurance policy document is different. So it’s critical that a traveler carefully review their document to understand what is and, more importantly, what is not covered.