Traveller trekking in the mountains

Travel Insurance for Trekking

Heading above the clouds? Find travel insurance that covers your hiking and trekking adventures.

Whether you're ascending to the high altitudes of Everest Base Camp or hiking along the picturesque Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, travel insurance is an essential item. Some of the common risks involved on treks include:

  • Altitude sickness
  • Injuries
  • Theft

Will travel insurance cover me if I go trekking?

Trekking is usually covered along with adventure sports like abseiling, kayaking and windsurfing, but insurers will have specific conditions you must adhere to.

General conditions you must stick to

  • Altitude limits. Some policies stipulate that they will only provide cover up to a specific altitude.
  • Organised trek. Some providers will only provide insurance for trekking if it’s organised by a commercial operator.
  • Additional premium. In some cases, trekking can be only covered if it’s added to the Certificate of Insurance for an additional premium.
  • Equipment. Policies will cover basic trekking or hiking holidays, and will stipulate clearly that cover will not be provided if the activity requires the use of equipment like ropes or abseiling gear.
  • Disclosure. Some policies will require you to disclose trekking as an activity you'll be participating in when you purchase the policy.

finder.com.au's best* travel insurance policies for trekking

BrandAltitude limitConditionsApply
1 CoverNo altitude restrictions*
  • No cover if you put yourself at high risk and if your trek requires any climbing equipments.
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AIGNo altitude restrictions*
  • No cover for treks requiring professional mountaineering equipment.
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American Express4,000 metres
  • No cover for treks requiring professional mountaineering equipment.
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Budget Direct5,000 metres
  • No cover for treks requiring professional mountaineering equipment.
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Columbus DirectNo altitude restrictions*
  • If helicopter evacuation to hospital is required then your guide must call the helicopter.
  • Treks must not require mountaineering equipment such as ropes and must be taken through a registered operator.
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Cover-MoreNo altitude restrictions*
  • If helicopter evacuation if required you must contact Cover-More's Customer Care Team to determine if medical repatriation is necessary.
  • No cover for treks requiring professional mountaineering equipment.
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Easy No altitude restrictions*
  • No cover for treks that require mountaineering or mountain-climbing equipment.
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Go Insurance4,000 metres
  • Treks must not require mountaineering equipment and must be taken through a licensed commercial operator.
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InsureandGo5,000 metres
  • Trek must be with a commercial operator and not require extreme skills or a high level of fitness.
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iTrekNo altitude restrictions*
  • The hike must be made on foot without the requirement of professional equipment or ropes and must be taken through an organised group tour.
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SimplyNo altitude restrictions*
  • No cover for treks requiring rock-climbing equipment or ropes.
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Southern CrossNo altitude restrictions*
  • Air evacuation is available but must deemed necessary by the medical practitioner or a licensed tour guide and Southern Cross' emergency assistance team must be contacted it is required.
  • No cover for treks requiring support ropes.
Travel Insurance DirectNo altitude restrictions*
  • No mountaineering or rock climbing if the use of support ropes is required.
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Travel Insurance SaverNo altitude restrictions*
  • Mountaineering that requires support ropes, rock climbs and abseils is excluded
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Travel Insuranz4,000 metres
  • No cover for trek requiring ropes picks or any specialist equipment.
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Virgin6,000 metres
  • No cover for treks requiring specialist equipment.
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Woolworths3,000 metres
  • No cover for treks requiring specialist equipment.
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WorldCareNo altitude restrictions*
  • No cover for treks that require ropes or climbing equipment
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youGoNo altitude restrictions*
  • Emergency medical evacuation is provided if deemed necessary but you are required to contact the Customer Care Team for evaluation.
  • No cover for treks that require mountaineering equipment.
Get quote

*No altitude limits however you must take reasonable care

Highest point of altitude for popular treks

Can I get cover for treks over 4000m in altitude? What about over 6000m?

TrekHighest point of altitudeBrands that will cover this altitude
Fitz Roy Trek1,200mAll brands in the table above
The Snowman Trek5280m1Cover, AIG, Columbus Direct, Cover-More, Easy, iTrek, Simply Travel Insurance, Travel Insurance Direct, Virgin, WorldCar, youGo
W Circuit1,100mAll brands in the table above
Pays Dogon500mAll brands in the table above
Everest base camp5364m1Cover, AIG, Columbus Direct, Cover-More, Easy, iTrek, Simply Travel Insurance, Travel Insurance Direct, Virgin, WorldCar, youGo
Kokoda Trail2,190mAll brands in the table above
Inca Trail to Machu Picchu4200m1Cover, AIG, Budget Direct, Columbus Direct, Cover-More, Easy, InsureandGo, iTrek, Simply Travel Insurance, Travel Insurance Direct, Virgin, WorldCar, youGo
Kungsleden (The Kings Trail)1,140mAll brands in the table above
Haute Route2,987mAll brands in the table above
West Highland Way950mAll brands in the table above
Te Araroa1925mAll brands in the table above
K2 Base camp Trek5650m1Cover, AIG, Columbus Direct, Cover-More, Easy, iTrek, Simply Travel Insurance, Travel Insurance Direct, Virgin, WorldCar, youGo
Markha Valley Trek4700m1Cover, AIG, Columbus Direct, Cover-More, Easy, iTrek, Simply Travel Insurance, Travel Insurance Direct, Virgin, WorldCar, youGo

Some of the most thrilling treks in the world are over 4000m above sea level.

Whether or not you can get travel insurance for high altitude treks will depend on the policy you choose. For instance, Woolworths Travel Insurance has a cover limit of 3,000m, while youGo Travel Insurance has no altitude restrictions (provided that you take reasonable care).

Always check the altitude limit

A day before Joseph departed for the Markha Valley Trek, his good friend Kevin decided to join him last minute. Joseph had been told by his travel agent that the Markha Valley Trek was covered by his policy, and he safety assumed all policies would do the same. With this assumption Kevin assured Joseph that the travel insurance on his credit card would cover him.

On the third day of the hike, Kevin sprained his ACL going down a steep set of slippery steps. At this point they had reached over 4,000 metres above sea level and the only method of evacuation was by helicopter.

Kevin was evacuated to the nearest hospital and treated for his injury. After being cleared from hospital, Kevin was confident that his travel insurance policy would cover all expenses. Unfortunately Kevin's travel insurance on his credit card had an altitude limit of 1,000 metres for treks. Kevin was left with a massive hospital bill on top of the cost of the helicopter.

Cost of helicopter evacuation

  • $950

Hospital expenses

  • $500

Insurance cover

  • $0

Out of pocket expenses

  • $1,450

pachu-pano

Crucial hiking risks and why travel insurance is a must

  • Altitude sickness. Your body may not be use to the effects of altitude. This can result in headaches, nausea, shortness of breath and even hospitalisation.
  • Injuries. Many treks go for long distances, and feature steep inclines and declines. The combination of fatigue and difficult walks can increase your chances of injury.
  • Food poisoning. When trekking overseas, the quality of food and hygiene may not be of the best standard. Food poisoning on a 10 day trek would be a nightmare.
  • Theft on camp sites. Camp sites of treks can be filled with tourists, trek workers and the possibility of theft.
  • Poisonous animals and plants. Depending on the terrain of the trek, there may be poisonous animals and plants around. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reported that between 2002 and 2005, over 5,000 hospitalisations in Australia due to contact with poisonous animals and plants.

How can travel insurance protect you as you trek?

Trekking exposes you to the elements for longer periods of time compared to other adventure sports, you run the risk of slips, falls, exposure to adverse weather and even theft. Travel insurance provides you cover while you hike with:

  • Emergency medical expenses. If you're injured and require surgery for instance, travel insurance can cover you.
  • Helicopter and air evacuation. At high altitude, helicopter evacuation may be the only means of assistance.
  • Theft and stolen items. If you're items are stolen, your policy may be able to help you recover some of the cost.
  • Cancellations. If for some reason you're forced to cancel your trek, travel insurance can cover you for non-refundable tour costs.

Am I covered for helicopter evacuations?

If you're injured on your hike, then you can get air evacuation by helicopter under two conditions:

  • It must be medically necessary
  • You must inform your travel insurers emergency assistance team

What is considered medically necessary?

Helicopter evacuation can be considered medically necessary by a licensed medical practitioner or by a licensed tour guide.

Why do I need to contact my travel insurer?

Contacting your insurer as soon as possible allows them to confirm cover with you so that you don't end up liable for a bill that you can't pay. Travel insurance medical assistance teams can also help organise medical evacuation and guarantee payment with the appropriate hospital for you.


Am I covered if I get lost?

According to finder.com.au's research, Insure4Less offers search and rescue cover.

Travel insurance brands typically cover evacuations for medical emergencies, but not for search and rescue operations. This means that any evacuation costs that you pick up as a result of being lost will need to be covered out of your own pocket. The best thing you can do is to organise your trek through an organised tour. If a situation arises where you're lost, the organised tour will have means of rescue.


Do I need to tell my insurer about my plans to go trekking?

Your policy will either:

  • Automatically cover trekking
  • Require you to add it as an additional item
  • Require you to add an additional sports or adventure pack

While most policies do automatically include trekking and hiking, it's a good idea to double check with your policy before planning a trek overseas.

If you need to claim

Duty of disclosure is applicable if you need to make a claim. For instance if you're injured but are not honest with the activity that led to the claim (e.g. trekking with ropes), your won’t be honoured and you’ll be liable for all expenses.

Will I pay more for trekking cover?

This will depend on the travel insurance brand you go with. For example, if you have a policy with Travel Insurance Direct you are automatically covered for trekking cover. On the other hand, if you take out a policy with World Nomad's then you are automatically covered for treks up to 2,000m in altitude. For treks over this height, you will need to upgrade your plan for an additional price.


Tips for staying safe when trekking overseas

  • Equipment. If you aren’t already familiar with maps and GPS units, you should learn how to use them before setting off on your trip. This is especially true if you’re planning to trek alone or as a duo. Be sure that you know how to use all your equipment.
  • Plot your course. Selecting a trekking course starts with being realistic about your fitness levels, safety and accessibility in case of an emergency. If you’re considering a course overseas, it might be a good idea to join a group tour. Group operators always insist that your policy makes provision for medical emergencies and evacuation.
  • Check the weather. Be sure to check the weather forecast for the dates and location you’re planning to visit.
  • Go with a guide. A guide will accommodate to your pace and most likely will know the ins and outs of the trail.
  • Know your limits. Go at your own pace, and don't be afraid to take a rest. Fatigue on tricky walking surfaces can easily result in injuries.
  • Pack light. Take only the essentials and you'll thank yourself over a 5 day hike.

What to do if you injure yourself on your hike

Here’s what to do if you find yourself in a medical emergency overseas.

  • Contact your insurer. You must let your insurer know as soon as possible. A good policy will provide for immediate assistance in a medical emergency and arrange for hospital expenses to be covered. You’ll also have to download, complete and send a claims form to the insurer, along with all the required documentation.
  • Provide supporting information to make the claim. You’ll be asked to provide information to help the insurer better process your claim. This can include medical and police reports, statements from travel providers, original receipts and proof of ownership. Foreign-language documents must be translated into English.
  • Cooperate. Be as honest and forthcoming as possible when providing information and evidence. You must not admit liability or offer to pay for damage without first consulting your insurer.

Review trekking cover policies and conditions

* The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms "Cheapest", 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.
Picture: Shutterstock

Maurice Thach

Maurice is a publisher for finder.com.au. Daily research of Australia's insurance offerings allows him to breakthrough the noise of the many policies out there to uncover what can (and can't) be covered. Maurice hopes to make finding the right insurance easier for all.

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2 Responses to Travel Insurance for Trekking

  1. Default Gravatar
    Caroline | July 29, 2016

    Good Evening,
    I will be doing the Three Capes Track in Tasmania in August – it is a 4 day/3night hike.
    What type of travel insurance will I need and how much will it cost?
    Thank you Caroline

    • Staff
      Richard | August 1, 2016

      Hi Caroline,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice. To compare costs for travel insurance policies, please enter your travel details into the quote comparison tool on the domestic travel insurance page.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

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