Travelers who take adventure trips are a whole different breed of traveler. Adventure travel is typically physically demanding and often fraught with personal danger, rustic accommodations, and unfamiliar foods consumed in remote locations. Adventure travel insurance plans are those that include coverage for adventurous activities like hang gliding, diving, skiing, and mountaineering (to name just a few), so it’s important for adventure travel tourists to purchase a plan that includes coverage for their planned activities.
What are the risks of adventure travel?
- On a trek to Everest’s base camp, you experience severe altitude sickness and have to be airlifted off the mountain – emergency medical evacuations, especially those in remote locations, are highly expensive affairs. Will you have the travel insurance coverage you need or have to pay for it yourself?
- On a kayak adventure in Costa Rica, you encounter a parasite and become extremely ill – even if qualified medical facilities are close by, you’ll still have to pay for your medical care. Will you have the funds or credit available to cover your medical bills?
- You pre-paid for a safari but when you arrive, the business is closed – if the travel supplier you have paid closes up shop and defaults, can you afford to lose that money?
- You’ve long planned a SCUBA trip in the Cayman Islands, but the week before you are schedule to leave, a hurricane wipes out your destination – when a natural disaster strikes, having trip cancellation coverage can ensure you’ll receive a refund of your pre-paid trip costs so you can reschedule your trip for another time.
- You check your bags – including your bike – with the airline, but your bags are stolen before you arrive at baggage claim – when your clothing, personal items, and sporting equipment are lost, stolen, or destroyed, can you afford to purchase everything you will need to continue your trip?
- While heli-skiing in Canada, you miss an important turn and are physically disabled – severe injuries can happen to even the most experienced athletes, and if you are injured to the point of disability, will you have the coverage you need to pay your bills back home?
- You’re on your way to a hiking trip in New Zealand when severe weather causes a temporary shut down of all flights – when you’ve already paid for your trip, having to shell out additional (and unexpected) funds can put a crimp in your travel budget.
What coverage do you need as a adventure travel tourist?
While the following is not an exhaustive list of all the coverages available with travel insurance plans, it describes those that are most useful to adventure travelers.
- Evacuation and repatriation coverage provides the coordination and funds necessary to arrange for a medically necessary evacuation or to return your body home for burial. (Review the details of evacuation and repatriation coverage.)
- Medical coverage provides advance payments or reimbursement for medical and dental care received on your trip – even in a foreign country. (Review the details of medical coverage.)
- Financial default coverage provides reimbursement for your pre-paid non refundable trip costs when a travel supplier ceases operations. (Review the details of financial default coverage.)
- Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement of your pre-paid non refundable trip costs when the trip has to be cancelled for a covered reason. (Review the details of trip cancellation coverage.)
- AD&D coverage provides a lump sum payment to you or to your family if you are disabled or die on your adventure trip. (Review the details of AD&D coverage.)
- Travel delay coverage provides a per-day amount for unexpected lodging, meals and transportation when your travel is delayed a certain number of hours for a covered reason. (Review the details of travel delay coverage.)
Who should buy adventure travel insurance?
Travelers like these should purchase adventure travel insurance:
- Travelers on organized adventure tours – in many cases, tour operators will require proof of travel insurance at the start of the trip and they’ll expel you without it.
- Individual and experienced adventure travelers – no matter how experienced you are at your preferred activity, accidents and illnesses can happen anywhere and without travel insurance coverage for adventure activities, none of the coverages will be available to you on your trip.
- Newbies on a learning adventure – even if you’ve joined a trip so you can learn a new skill, it’s important to have the right coverage for the activity. Without it, all your coverage will be invalidated.
When should you buy your travel insurance?
Purchase your policy just after making your first trip payment. In some situations, this timing is important because some benefits:
- pre-existing medical condition waivers,
- ‘cancel for any reason’, and
- ‘cancel for work reasons’
are only applicable if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days (usually 10-15) from making your initial trip deposit. Plus, you’ll benefit from the longest period of cancellation coverage.
Remember that all travel insurance companies offer a free look period with a refund if you decide the plan is not what you need.
Where should you buy your travel insurance?
We recommend purchasing your travel insurance directly from a third-party company for a number of reasons.
- Buying Travel Insurance from a 3rd party company vs. through a travel agent
- Buying Travel Insurance Directly from the Company vs. Using a Comparison Site
Very briefly, you’ll have more choices and options in your travel insurance plan if you purchase from a third-party company using a comparison tool.
How can you be sure your travel insurance coverage is adequate?
These tips will help you determine whether you have enough coverage.
- Don’t base your purchase on price alone
- 4 Steps to 100% confidence in your travel insurance plan
- Entering $0 Trip Cost is too risky
- Is ‘Cancel for any reason’ worth it?
What are the best adventure travel insurance plans?
We’ve done the research into which plans are best and our recommendations include:
- The important coverages for adventure travelers
- Our analysis of each plan
- Sample quotes