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 favorite sport is during vacation! Travel providers attract 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 sports insurance!
1. UNDERSTAND HOW RISKY YOUR FAVOURITE SPORT IS
The variety of sportspeople 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 extreme sports. So if you are a passionate skier in Colorado, British Columbia, or the Swiss Alps, an amateur rock climber, or an adrenalin junkie enjoying skydiving at least once a month – you should consider looking deeper into extreme sport protection.
Insurance classification of sports 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, motorsports, 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 sometimes be covered under the Travel Medical insurance policy, but they are often not. So if you want to rely solely on your existing policy, be sure that you read all the conditions carefully or consult the insurance hotline. Often insurance companies offer additional protection for accidents associated with extreme sports. Remember consequences of sports injuries can add up to dozens of thousands of 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 still cover leisure skiing in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, it will likely not pay for any medical expenses associated with injuries from Thai boxing fights in Thailand or professional rock climbing competitions in the Rockies. So here the basic rule should be: if you do anything, not for leisure only, but it has any hint of professional activity/competition, get separate extreme sport protection.
4. ARE YOU AN “EXCLUSION” CASE? BE CAREFUL!
Even if you think you will be fine after getting extreme sports 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 SPORTS INSURANCE EXISTS!
There is proper protection for all extreme sports enthusiasts out there! Often you can get an additional piece of protection, a 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 many headaches in the 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 favorite sports while covering all your bases!
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Alex Saltykov is a Co-Founder and CEO of InsurEye Inc (http://www.insureye.com). Alex spent years advising insurance clients in North America and Europe while 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. InsurEye offers today two free services to educate consumers, which can be found on our website section Insurance Toolkit: