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If you are planning adventure activities or extreme sports on your next vacation, it is important to find a suitable one to travel insurance policy. If you are injured while participating in a particular fun that is rated “adventurous,” you may not be able to make a claim for travel insurance.
And what the typical active person considers “adventure” or “extreme” sports can be very different from the definitions of “adventure” that come out of the cells of the insurance company. Canoeing, hiking, paintballing? Some travel insurance plans exclude coverage for injuries. But, bowling? That can also be a “no”.
The key is to be aware that certain activities and sports may be excluded and to work with a travel insurance agent to find a good plan that will cover your itinerary.
Why travel insurance?
If you have good health insurance and are going on an adventure in the US, you may not need the safety net of travel insurance. But if you’re traveling outside the country, know that your U.S. health plan may have little or no coverage. (The same goes for Medicare.)
travel insurance is a way to purchase medical travel insurance if you are outside the US. It can also cover emergency medical evacuation, for example if you need to be airlifted to a hospital or even transported home in the event of a serious injury. The extra costs of interrupting a trip because you were injured can also be covered.
Activities often excluded by travel insurance include:
- dog sledding
- Delta flying
- rock climbing
- To dive
- Shark diving in a cage
- Recreational snowboarding
Also, if this is your thing, pigeon sport.
“These exclusions would mean that any claims related to injuries or accidents from these activities would be denied,” said Carol Mueller, a spokesperson for Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, a travel insurance company.
Things you might not consider sport – extreme or otherwise – can get caught in the net of “adventure” exclusions by some companies, such as animal shelters/refugee work.
Conversely, activities that you probably shouldn’t do anyway can be covered if you find the right policy. Certain policies from Berkshire Hathaway, Tin Leg and Travelex, for example, cover volcano climbing. And Battleface, iTravelInsured and Tin Leg will cover swinging bridges.
What about Octopus? There you play underwater hockey at the bottom of a swimming pool. You can get coverage for that.
Finding the right adventure travel insurance
Adventurous travelers should look for high limits on both travel medical insurance and medical evacuation coverage in a travel insurance plan, such as $250,000 or higher.
“Greater medical evacuation coverage is very important for adventure travelers because a medical evacuation in a remote area can cost a traveler more than $100,000 out of pocket,” Mueller says.
If your adventure requires specific equipment, keep that in mind when purchasing travel insurance. Look for a subscription that includes coverage for loss and delay of sports equipment.
“That way, if travelers’ specific gear for their trip is delayed while traveling, travelers have coverage to rent similar gear for the adventure travel needs,” Mueller says.
Depending on what matters to you, such as trip cancellation, missed connections, and baggage loss and delay, you can pack other coverages. The travel cancellation insurance will reimburse you if you have to cancel your trip for a reason stated in the policy, such as illness or a hurricane.
For example with the AIG Travel Guard Preferred or Deluxe plans allow you to purchase comprehensive travel insurance and add an Adventure Sports bundle upgrade. You get coverage for travel cancellation and interruption, medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation and repatriation, travel delay, baggage loss, baggage delay and more. The optional Adventure Sports bundle removes the exclusions for adventure and extreme activities.
To pump some extra gas into your travel insurance plan, add “cancel for any reason” coverage. This add-on allows you to cancel your trip for any reason, not just the reasons stated in the policy. For example, you may have decided that a sailing trip on land isn’t such a good idea after all. You’ll generally only get a partial refund (usually 50 to 75 percent) of travel costs under a “for whatever reason” claim, but it will give you more financial support to change your mind.
Data collected by Squaremouth, a travel insurance provider, shows that these plans cover the widest range of adventure activities (over 300 each):
- ExactCare Lite, ExactCare Value and LuxuryCare from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection
- iTravelInsured’s Travel LX and Travel LX Basic
- Tin Leg’s Adventure, Standard and Luxury plans
- Travelex’ Travel Basic and Travel Select
Work with a travel insurance agent who offers a wide variety of plans. They can determine the plans that cover your specific activities, customize a policy with additional coverage such as baggage loss, and review the options for you.
The last thing you want is to end up in South Africa with a splitting injury that you don’t have the right insurance for.
Erica Lamberg is a personal finance and travel writer based in suburban Philadelphia. She is a regular contributor to USA Today and writes, among others, for NBC News, US News & World Report, Business Insider, Oprah Magazine and Creditcards.com.