We all know friends who are adrenaline junkies. Those who get kicks out of taking crazy risks and going on wild adventures all around the world. Heck, maybe you’re thinking: That’s me.
We all know how important travel insurance is, but if you’re planning a ski trip, scuba diving trip or something even crazier than that, then you need to know which travel insurance cover extreme sports and outdoor adventure.
Here are six things you need to pay attention to when buying any sort of adventure sports travel insurance.
1. Best travel insurance for outdoor sports
Planning your long-awaited trip overseas with your pals for scuba diving, rock climbing, skiing or snowboarding?
Remember to get a travel insurance which covers your winter sports, water sports, or mountaineering and rock climbing (usually considered more dangerous).
When browsing travel insurance plans, you’ll realise that sports and adventure are usually categorised into three broad categories:
Leisure and recreational outdoor activities: Hot air balloon, scuba diving (up to 30m/40m, guided by licensed instructors, with PADI certification), skiing and snowboarding in resorts, hiking or trekking (up to 3,000m), jet ski, white water rafting, skydiving, paragliding, hang gliding, parachuting etc
Other more extreme sports: Bungee jumping, mountaineering, rock climbing (any climbing that involves ropes and equipment)
Competitions (not covered across all insurance companies except for Direct Asia): Marathons, ultra-marathons, biathlons, triathlons
This table is a general comparison. Click in to each travel insurance review to see the specific outdoor activities they cover:
|Leisure Outdoor Activities
|Bungee, Rock Climbing
|FWD Travel Insurance
|NTUC Travel Insurance
|Scuba diving, ski, winter sports, hiking, trekking only
|AIG Travel Insurance
|Rock climbing only
|AXA Travel Insurance
|MSIG Travel Insurance
|Yes (no winter sports)
|Bungee jumping only
|Singlife with Aviva Travel Insurance
|DBS Chubb Travel Insurance
|Great Eastern Travel Insurance
|Sompo Travel Insurance
|Scuba diving, hiking, trekking only
|AIA Travel Insurance
|Rock climbing only
|Etiqa Travel Insurance
|Bungee jumping only
|Direct Asia Travel Insurance
|Citibank Travel Insurance
|Scuba diving, white water raft, hiking, trekking, ski, yacht only
|Yes for Citi PremierMiles, Prestige, Ultima
|Tokio Marine Travel Insurance
|UOB Travel Insurance
|Scuba diving only
|OCBC Travel Insurance
|AMEX Travel Insurance
2. Travel insurance outdoor adventure exclusions
Even if your travel insurance plan claims that it covers outdoor adventure and extreme sports, there will still be exclusions – aka activities that your insurance company is not willing to cover. Here are a few major examples:
Any professional competitions or sports in which you get paid, sponsored or receive any kind of financial reward
Any leisurely contact sport or MMA classes such as Muay Thai, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ)
Mountaineering or rock climbing that involves ropes and climbing equipment
Expeditions to inaccessible, remote or previously unexplored places
Being the pilot or a crew member of an aircraft (except for your commercial flights eg. SQ)
You’ll be surprised that most marathons are not covered by travel insurance since there’s a grand prize you technically can win.
Now, you might say that you’re probably not going to do any of these sports. But between insurance companies, there are different standards as to what’s allowed, so always check your terms and conditions before you buy your travel insurance.
Lazy? Scroll up and you can read through our travel insurance reviews instead. We’ve scoured through policy wordings and terms and conditions for their outdoor adventure and extreme sports coverage.
3. Personal accident, personal liability exclusions
While some travel insurance seems to have a comprehensive coverage, you have to make sure that the activity that you are doing is covered under Personal Accident or Personal Liability.
For instance, if you got the Singlife with Aviva travel insurance and decided to buy the Adventurous Water Sports rider as well, you will be covered for all the usual scuba diving (up to 40m), white water rafting, kayaking, yachting, wakeboarding etc.
You’ll have to scroll to the end of your policy wording to check out the terms and conditions. Singlife with Aviva travel insurance states that it covers you for:
In other words, if you get seriously injured during any of these activities, your Singlife with Aviva travel insurance will cover emergency medical costs, your death, and any damage you caused to the properties in that accident.
However, if you were to look at Etiqa travel insurance, you’ll see that the plan covers you for personal accidental death. When it comes to personal liability, some outdoor activities are excluded, such as:
- Accidental death and permanent disablement
- Emergency medical cover
- Personal liability
These are exactly the kind of activities where you’re more likely to suffer an accident. So don’t forget to check the fine print!
ALSO READ: Travel insurance guide (2022): Which travel insurance do I need?
4. Outdoor activities that are usually excluded
Some activities will be covered by your travel insurance, but only if it’s within a specific circumstance. Again, this is not being unrealistic. But it does mean you have to be careful that your activities don’t exceed the boundaries set by your travel insurance. These are examples of some activities which aren’t covered by your insurance:
Canoeing or white water rafting without a qualified guide or Grade 4 and above (of the International Scale of River Difficulty).
Off-piste skiing, or skiing outside the officially approved boundaries of a ski resort.
Mountaineering beyond the height of 3,000 metres above sea level.
Underwater activities involving artificial breathing apparatus for diving deeper than 30 metres.
So while some of these activities are covered by certain travel insurance policies, they do have limits to their coverage, so be careful to stay within the stipulated boundaries.
5. How much do extreme sports riders cost?
Some travel insurance companies require that you upgrade your travel insurance plan to include winter sports rider or outdoor adventurous activities riders. Although it might seem unfair to incur a steep increase in the premium price, do note that most of the time, this increases your coverage for other categories within the same plan as well.
How much do these winter sports and sports riders cost?
Currently, there are two travel insurance plans that require you to buy sports riders.
Direct Asia travel insurance: $81.40 to $105.16 per week
Singlife with Aviva travel insurance: $7.45 to $14.36 per week for Adventurous Water Sports rider or Winter Sports rider
6. I need sports equipment coverage
If you’re a hardcore skier or diver, then this section should not be news for you. If you have your own sporting equipment that you intend to bring on the trip, you have to be aware how much your travel insurance is covering you.
When your gear can cost a few hundred dollars, you’ll definitely want to invest in a plan that will insure you don’t lose out if your gear is stolen or damaged.
7. Do you have sufficient emergency medical evacuation coverage?
This is especially important if you’re planning to go scuba diving, hiking or skydiving. Since you’re most likely not going to be near any decent medical facilities should anything happen, you may need to get emergency medical evacuation.
Check to make sure your travel insurance policy covers you sufficiently for such an occasion. Where possible, choose policies that can give you at least $500,000 cover for medical evacuation, even if you end up paying a little more.
ALSO READ: Covid-19 travel insurance: How to make your claims
This article was first published in MoneySmart.