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What Adventure Activities Are Covered?

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 adventurous 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.

Holidays aren’t complete without a few thrills and spills. But it’s important to know that not all adventure activities are covered as standard within a typical policy. Finding yourself injured and unprotected after an accident overseas could easily send your adventure belly-up! So before you go thrill-seeking on your travels, let our handy adventure guide help you avoid any unnecessary holiday hurdles. 

Who covers what adventure sports?

Please note: An additional premium or adventure pack may be required in order to be sufficiently covered. Click on the rows to see more detail. 

General Advice Warning: The contents of this article were accurate at the time of writing. Insurers change their policies from time to time, so some information may have changed. You should always read the Product Disclosure Statement of your chosen insurer to understand what is covered and what isn't. The information provided is of a general nature only and does not take into account any personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your personal circumstances.

General Activities covered by travel insurance

Recreational sports 
If your holiday isn’t complete without a hole in one, a spot on a yacht or a cycling soujurn you can relax knowing that most recreation sports (excluding contact activities) are automatically covered. A standard travel insurance policy will usually include cover for camping, dancing, fishing, horse riding, ice skating, kayaking, swimming, surfing, trekking, and recreational sports such as football, netball and hockey. 

Water activities
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.

Bungee jumping
Ready for an adrenaline fuelled trip? You can leap to your next holiday worry-free as bungee jumping is covered in most travel insurance policies. Yippeeeeee!​

Adventure activities that are sometimes covered

Higher 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. 

Abseiling and rock climbing
We love holidays that get off the beaten track. However, if your rambles turn into scrambles and you need to use ropes or climbing equipment you could find yourself high and dry without cover. Most insurers do not cover for mountaineering or rock climbing if you have to use ropes or any other mountaineering equipment. Climbing at altitudes over 6,000 meters is often restricted too. WorldNomads will cover rock climbing if you pay for level 3 protection.

Taking aim? You can aim for the stars knowing that in most cases, you’d be covered to shoot arrows at a target, but watch that target as a reckless aim may not be covered.

Holidays are best explored on two wheels, but hit the brakes before bringing your new, carbon fibre bike on holidays as bicycles themselves are usually not covered in the case of theft or damage. Get ride ready with extra bike protection.

You won’t find many insurers that cover heli-skiing within a standard policy but InsureandGo covers it in their winter sports policy and 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.

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 Virgin Money and Fast Cover, policies underwritten by Lloyds of London such as 1Cover, 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
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 but depth restrictions may be in place.  Scuba to more info here.

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. See our overseas motorbike riding guide for more information.

Zip lining or flying fox, no matter which way you spin it, it’s important to check that you’re covered before you take off. While the majority of providers will cover zip lining, there’s certainly no harm in asking before you whizzing into the abyss


Risky business no one will cover

Increased adrenaline usually means increased risk and there are some activities that insurers simply will not cover.

Cliff jumping
Travel is all about adventure and exciting experiences, but if you deliberately put your life in danger by taking part in activities such as cliff jumping or balcony hopping, travel insurance probably won’t pick up the pieces.

Professional sports
Standard travel insurance policies rarely cover activities when you are competing in a race or participating professionally. On your marks…get set…no!

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.

Clay pigeon shooting may be the planned activity on the bucks weekend, but shooting the groom before the wedding day isn’t fair play. Travel insurance policies rarely cover for sports that include the use of guns. In some cases additional cover may be purchased. 

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. 

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.

Eugene models adventure activity cover

adventure activities travel insurance

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