Sport and activity holidays are hugely popular nowadays, as people look to practice their skills in a new environment or even learn an entirely new sport as part of their holiday. Many sports and activities, like skydiving and scuba diving, can be much cheaper to do abroad than in the UK. But despite all the dangers associated with extreme sports, insurance for dangerous activities abroad usually isn’t researched as carefully as it should be. Many people assume that their cheap travel insurance covers any and every sport or activity that they may decide to try while on holiday. This is not so – you have to read the small print!
The sports and activities covered by your insurance will vary from policy to policy, but specialised sports travel insurance will undoubtedly be necessary to cover the higher risk activities. For these more dangerous activities, you are likely to face higher costs for the insurance itself and larger premiums if you do make a claim. For many of the riskier activities, Personal Accident and Personal Liability cover is not included.
Every sports travel insurance provider will have a different way of grading various activities; I’ve always split sports into two main categories…
Moderate risk activities include many common sports, such as basketball, football, baseball, squash, tennis and cricket. It also includes activities like mountain biking, amateur marathon running, cycling and low altitude trekking.
Obviously enough, this kind of sports insurance covers activities that present a much higher risk of injury. This includes contact sports like American Football and Rugby, as well as horse riding, motorcycling, bungee jumping, kite surfing, and other risky activities.
Be aware that activities may change categories depending on the conditions. For example, inland kayaking is often classed as moderate risk, whereas coastal kayaking can be considered high risk. Many sports insurance policies will only cover scuba diving down to a certain depth, for example, or trekking up to a certain altitude. Even if your activity of choice is mentioned in your insurance, make sure you double check the details of what you are doing to be certain that you will be covered.
Of course, there are plenty of activities that companies like mine won’t cover at all. For very high risk sports and activities, such as BASE jumping or high altitude mountaineering, you’ll have contact a specialist insurance provider to sort you out with some extreme sports insurance! Additionally, any normal sports travel insurance policy isn’t likely to cover the playing of professional sports or competitions – you’ll need to contact a specialist in order to be covered for these kinds of activities. Amateur level is covered by most standard insurers, but if you intend to compete you’ll need something a little more comprehensive.
Whatever sport or activity you intend to try while on holiday, the best thing to do is to talk to make sure you talk to your travel insurance company to be certain of getting the right kind of sports insurance. It’ll only take a few minutes of your time, and could save you a lot of money in the long run. Uninsured sporting accidents abroad will probably hurt your wallet even more than they hurt you!