We know that relaxing on a beach or sitting pool side at a five star resort sipping cocktails is not everyone’s idea of a fun filled holiday. For the more adventurist among us, when it comes to buying travel insurance, it is important to think about our planned activities and understand what is and isn’t covered.
To make things easier, we have classified popular activities into three groups; activities covered by most travel insurers, adventure activities sometimes covered, and risky activities you will struggle to find cover for.
Activities covered by travel insurance
Typical activities that are automatically covered in a standard travel insurance policy include bike riding, camping, dancing, deep sea fishing, horse riding, ice skating, kayaking, swimming, trekking, and recreational sports such as football, netball and hockey. Water activities are popular with travellers to island and beach destinations. Most insurers will cover you for amateur water sports such as jet skiing, kayaking, paragliding, surfing, white water rafting and windsurfing but there are some slightly more extreme activities that require further explanation and some limitations apply.
Adventure activities sometimes covered
High risk adventure activities such as paragliding and sky diving can be covered, but limitations will usually apply. There are also some high risk activities not automatically insured, but in some cases you’ll be able to pay an additional premium to get cover. Hurrah!
Abseiling and rock climbing
Most insurers do not cover for mountaineering or rock climbing if you have to use ropes or any other mountaineering equipment. WorldNomads will cover rock climbing if you pay for level 3 protection.
Believe it or not bungee jumping is covered by travel insurance which is quite surprising considering it involves you jumping off something very high and very scary! You’re braver than we are!
You won’t find many insurers that cover heli-skiing within a standard policy but InsureandGo covers it in their winter sports policy and Ski-insurance.com.au covers it for an additional premium. Fly me to the Snow!
Cover for sailing and boating varies a lot between providers, so if you’re planning to set sail on your holiday, make sure you understand your policy. Most travel insurance policies sold in Australia exclude sailing unless it is within a short distance of the coastline. For example; Southern Cross travel insurance excludes “ocean yachting 12 nautical miles or more from populated land" or in "any area with limited or no telecommunications or medical services", so you may not be covered even if you stayed close to land. Policies underwritten by Allianz excluded "open water sailing more than 10 nautical miles off any land mass". So dig deep on this one, look for the exclusions. There seems to be a growing demand for policies to cover sailing in international waters, and amateur competitive sailing. Dinghy sailing and dragon boating are usually covered.
Go Insurance offer a sailing extension that can be tailored to include offshore boating, recreational sailing, open water racing and regattas which includes cover for equipment, replacement crew members, boat charter excess waivers and more. Learn more here.
Snowboarding and skiing
This is covered by most insurers in Australia provided you have purchased an insurance policy that includes ski/snow cover. However if you’re planning on racing down the slopes acting recklessly, doing stunts, or skiing off-piste then you might find yourself without cover. InsureandGo cover for off-piste skiing with a professional snow instructor or guide.
Not many providers will cover you for Skydiving if you’re planning to jump alone. If you insist on jumping out of plane, all is not lost; policies underwritten by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited such as 1Cover, Virgin Money and Fast Cover, policies underwritten by Lloyds of London such as Insure4less, WorldNomads and SureSave and some policies underwritten by Great Lakes such as Covermore will cover you for a tandem jump - provided it is with a licenced commercial provider.
Scuba diving is a popular activity for holiday goers so most insurers offer cover but have added in some restrictions to reduce their risk. Experienced divers with an open water diving certificate are generally covered. If you’re a first timer or inexperienced diver, you can usually get cover provided you are diving with a qualified instructor. All dives must be limited to the depth the diver is licenced to dive. 1Cover, itrek and Kango Cover (underwritten by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited), GoodtoGo (underwritten by AIG Insurance Limited), Southern Cross Travel Insurance, TID (underwritten by Lloyds of London) and QBE Insurance Limited all cover it. Yay!
Risky business no one will cover
Increased adrenaline usually means increased risk and there are some activities that insurers simply will not cover.
Base-jumping is a very high risk activity so you will struggle to find cover from any travel insurer in Australia.
Motorsport and racing
Motoring is one of those activities that doesn’t tend to be coved by any insurers. If you’re planning on renting a sports car on holiday you’ll probably have insurance with the company you’re renting from – but always check before you hit the road.
Running with the bulls
Running with the bulls in Spain, is what it says on the tin. It’s a festival where 12 bulls are let loose in the streets of Pamplona Spain and you have to run in front of them! It’s very dangerous and every year, between 200 and 300 people are injured during the run. For this reason it’s too risky for providers to insure this kind of reckless activity. So before you submit your claim for being bucked by a bull in Pamplona, or plan to ‘run with the bulls’, know that you’re not covered if you get injured.
Riding a motorbike
Many insurers will cover you for no additional charge for a bike up to 125cc. However if you’re riding a moped or motorcycle with an engine capacity of more than 200cc, without a helmet, or without a valid licence for the country you are operating in, you won’t be covered.
Expeditions to inaccessible, remote or previously unexplored places
Planning a Bear Grylls style adventure? If you're hankering to be a first ever pioneer of some yet unexplored territory or zone, you may have to dig very deep to find an insurer that will cover you. As far we know, there are no listed travel insurers that will cover you for expeditions to inaccessible areas.
Being the pilot or crewmember of an aircraft
Remember that what each policy does and does not cover varies between insurers so it is important to read the policy document before purchasing or contact your insurer directly if you’re unsure. If you had a sport or activity planned that didn’t get a mention, it may have slipped under our radar or it may not be covered. Be sure to contact your insurer to check if your planned activities are covered.
While it is always good practice to shop around and compare travel insurance policies, your priority should be making sure you are fully covered for your planned adventure activities rather than just snapping up the cheapest quote.
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Is bungee jumping covered?