If you’re planning a trip with a sports or adventure activity component, you may be wondering what kind of travel insurance policy would be best for you. There are certainly unique and specific concerns that may accompany adventure or sports-based travel, and the right travel insurance policy would ideally provide you with coverage for all of your most pressing needs.
More often than not, a Travel Medical plan can be the best fit for those who are traveling with sports and adventure in their itineraries. Travel Medical plans offer you coverage for emergency medical treatment and, often, emergency medical evacuation to the nearest “hospital of excellence” that can appropriately care for your illness or injury. Before purchasing a travel medical policy, it’s important to first consult your regular health insurance provider to find out what their policies are about coverage while you’re abroad. Sometimes your own health insurance coverage will still apply when you’re outside your home country; however, often, it only covers a portion of your expenses while abroad, or may not even function at all (this is the case with Medicare, which does not extend benefits outside of the United States). Travel Medical can either be designed to behave as primary insurance if your own carrier does not cover costs outside of the country, or can be secondary coverage to fill any gaps that may be left by your home provider. Knowing which level of coverage you need will help you to purchase the best travel medical insurance policy for you.
As you’re researching travel medical plans, keep in mind also that some of them provide additional non-medical benefits, such as coverage for lost or damaged baggage. These benefits may be of particular interest to you if you’re bringing along any kind of special equipment for your activities; just make sure to find out what the coverage limit of the insurance policy is, since some travel insurance baggage coverage will only allow for reimbursement of expenses up to $250. If you can’t find an appropriate travel medical policy that has a baggage loss limit you’re comfortable with, you can also find out from your homeowner’s insurance whether or not they would provide you with any additional coverage for your equipment should anything happen to it.
Depending on your planned activities, you may also need to supplement your travel medical policy with a hazardous sports rider. The purpose of a hazardous sports rider is to provide you with coverage for injuries sustained during activities that would otherwise be listed as exclusions on your travel insurance policy. For example, parasailing may not be covered by every travel insurance provider, and if it’s listed as an exclusion, any injuries you might receive while parasailing would not be covered by the terms of your policy. With the hazardous sports rider, anything listed in that rider as a covered activity would be added to your benefits. It’s still vital to understand the limitations of a hazardous sports rider, however, since not everything will be covered in every circumstance. Scuba diving is one adventurous activity that still carries some well-defined limitations as far as travel insurance coverage is concerned. Even with a hazardous sports rider, you may be limited by your insurance company to diving only to a certain depth, or only to diving with a guide master, if you want your benefits to remain intact.
The last thing to consider in purchasing travel insurance for a sports or adventure trip is the purpose and nature of your travel. Travel insurance policies generally exclude coverage for anything that is undertaken for professional purposes or for competitions. If your adventure activities are part of a formal competition or you’re getting paid for them, it’s more than likely that you will not be able to insure those activities. However, you can still purchase a travel insurance policy for the rest of your itinerary that will extend you the typical benefits for medical care, baggage loss, and other benefits that are of interest to you.