MOST TRAVEL INSURANCE PLANS DO NOT COVER EXTREME SPORTS LEAVING YOU UNPROTECTED!
Many of us enjoy doing sports and the best time to try out something new and exciting or spend time enjoying a favourite sport is during vacation! Travel providers attract with exciting promises: Bungee jumping, rock climbing, scuba diving, sky diving, perfect alpine ski slopes – that all is tons of fun! And potentially a source of future problems. In many of those cases you are not protected through your insurance at all! Let’s dig deeper today into extreme sport insurance!
1. UNDERSTAND HOW RISKY YOUR FAVOURITE SPORT IS
The variety of sports people engage in today is vast: everything from chess to base jumping is considered “sports”. For many insurers, sports fall into four general risk levels (s. list below). Already, sports from Level 2 are often considered as extreme sports. So if you are a passionate skier in Colorado, British Columbia or the Swiss Alps, an amateur rock climber, or adrenalin junkie enjoying skydiving at least once a month – you should consider looking deeper into extreme sport protection.
Insurance classification of sport risks:
- Level 1 – Low risk sports: Aerobics, skating, volleyball, water polo, football, cricket, golf, baseball, basketball, tennis, badminton, archery
- Level 2 – Sports involving more mobility and therefore more risks: Adventure racing, paintball, alpine skiing, canoeing, swimming, rugby, scuba diving, gymnastics, kayaking
- Level 3 – Sports with elements of violence and action: Wrestling, boxing, hockey, martial arts, motor sports, bungee jumping, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, mountaineering, water rafting, water skiing
- Level 4 – Most risky sports: Hang gliding, parachuting, paramotoring, skydiving
2. READ THE FINE PRINT 8 TIMES IF YOU RELY ON STANDARD TRAVEL INSURANCE
Sports-related injuries during vacations can be sometimes covered under Travel Medical insurance policy but more often they are not. So if you want to rely solely on your existing policy, be sure that you read carefully all the conditions or consult the insurance hotline. Often insurance companies offer additional protection for accidents associated with extreme sports. Remember consequences of sport injuries can add up to dozens of thousands dollars while you are treated abroad.
3. BE CLEAR ON HOW “PROFESSIONAL” IS YOUR SPORT ENGAGEMENT
There are also different ways you can engage in sports. And though your insurance might be still covering leisure skiing in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, it will very likely not pay for any medical expenses associated with injuries from Thai boxing fights in Thailand or professional rock climbing competitions in the Rockies. Here the basic rule should be: if you do anything, not for leisure only, but it has any hint of professional activity / competition, get a separate extreme sport protection.
4. ARE YOU AN “EXCLUSION” CASE? BE CAREFUL!
Even if you think you will be fine after getting an extreme sport insurance, have a more detailed look at conditions – typical exclusions in extreme sports insurance policies are: Those above a certain age are NOT covered (age limit varies) Pre-existing medical conditions Injury resulting from drug abuse during sporting activity Performing sports in unauthorized areas for particular activity Think about that while enjoying your extreme sport – ski race competition outside of the authorized slope might result in unpaid bills rejected by your insurer…
5. DEDICATED EXTREME SPORT INSURANCE EXISTS!
There is proper protection for all extreme sport enthusiasts out there! Often you can get an additional piece of protection, so-called rider on your policy that covers your “dangerous” hobby sports. Such insurance can cost you less than $100 for a month but save a lot of headaches in future. Anyway, the objective of this article is not to force you to stay at home but make clear to you what protection you might need to enjoy your favourite sports while covering all your bases!
Alex Saltykov is a Co-Founder and CEO of InsurEye Inc (http://www.insureye.com). Alex spent years advising insurance clients both in North America and Europe while he was working for one of the leading management consulting companies. His areas of expertise are insurance, innovation, IT and operations.
InsurEye Inc. is a Canadian company, located in Toronto, Ontario. Its mission is to offer people transparency and insights around insurance using modern technology.
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