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Sports and adventure travel insurance

Most standard policies won’t cover you — you need sports and adventure travel insurance. Compare your options.

Travel Insurance

What you need to know

  • Lots of travel insurers let you add on cover for sports and adventure activities.
  • You can add on this type of cover when you get a quote with the insurer.
  • Some high-risk activities, such as hang gliding, are not typically covered.

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Why do I need adventure travel insurance?

A typical travel insurance policy can cover you for things like medical bills, cancellation costs and lost, damaged or stolen belongings. However, when it comes to extreme sports, a basic policy probably can't give you the protection you need.

An adventure or extreme sports travel insurance policy protects you from a whole lot more. In fact, what distinguishes adventure travel insurance from ordinary travel insurance is how many more sports and adrenaline-filled activities are included.

Adventure policies are tailored to the sports enthusiast, thrill-seeking traveller and adrenaline junkie, which basically means a policy won't exclude all the activities you want to do on your next trip. From hiking trips that involve abseiling, river rafting and camping, to once-in-a-lifetime experiences like skydiving and bungee jumping, an adventure travel insurance policy can give you peace of mind knowing you're protected should anything go wrong. A policy can even cover you for high altitude trekking.

Because most of these activities are far from hospitals and medical facilities, adventure sports travel insurance generally also comes with emergency evacuation cover. Emergency medical evacuation makes sure you're not seriously out of pocket if you require an ambulance, helicopter or medical aircraft to transport you to the nearest hospital.

Which adventure sports are typically covered?

Depending on your policy and provider you will be able to take out cover for activities including:

  • Abseiling
  • Backpacking
  • Biking
  • Black/white water rafting
  • Bungee jumping
  • Camping
  • Caving or potholing
  • Deep sea fishing
  • Hang gliding
  • Horse riding
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Kitesurfing
  • River rafting
  • Sea kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • Skydiving
  • Wakeboarding or water skiing
  • Winter sports

If you plan on riding a moped or motorcycle you may need to take out additional cover as these are considered to be high-risk activities.

Is snowsports included?

Depending on the policy, snowsports is often included in an adventure travel insurance policy. However, if you're going on a trip specifically to ski or snowboard, consider getting ski insurance. Ski travel insurance can cover you for emergency evacuation, extreme weather conditions, lost or stolen equipment and more.

Is it possible to get travel insurance for sports teams?

Yes. There are a number of travel insurance brands that are able to organise group travel insurance for sports teams up to 40 people heading off on a domestic or overseas sports tour.

Usually, a representative of the group will need to fill out a group travel insurance application form from the insurer's website listing each of the group members, including details of any sports or hazardous activities the group will be participating in and any pre-existing medical conditions that different members of the group have.

After receiving the group's details, the insurance provider will review the information and provide you with a quote to cover the group.

Are there exclusions for sports and adventure travel insurance?

Always check your product disclosure statement (PDS) for specific exclusions. Common exclusions on sports and adventure travel insurance policies can include:

  • Base jumping
  • Hang gliding
  • Hunting
  • Mountaineering/abseiling
  • Professional and contact sport
  • Ski acrobatics
  • Wingsuit gliding
  • Parkour
  • Rodeos

By shopping around, you'll be able to find adventure travel insurance policies that cover you for some of these activities.

Keep in mind that even if your policy says you're covered for a specific activity, there are some incidents in which you won't be covered. These include:

  • Failure to take reasonable care. If you're injured in a situation where you weren't taking reasonable care, you won't be covered. For example, if you weren't wearing a helmet when riding a motorcycle, your claim might be rejected.
  • Intoxication. You won't be covered for any injuries sustained while under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs.
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. Insurers might restrict your ability to claim depending on pre-existing medical conditions you have. Before signing up for a policy, check to see if you're covered for specific activities.

More adventure travel insurance tips

Other factors to consider before you choose a policy and go off on your trip include:

  • Use Smartraveller. You can register your trip with Smartraveller so that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) has your travel details and information in case of an emergency.
  • Check the weather forecast. Keep up to date with the weather if your adventure holiday involves a lot of outdoor activities. That way, you can avoid being out in the wilderness during a storm.
  • Scan all of your insurance documents. Do this before you go and keep an electronic copy in a convenient place. Also, make sure you have the contact details for your insurer with you at all times to easily get in contact with it.
  • Let friends and family know your itinerary. It's a good idea to let someone know when you'll be checking in with them so that they will become aware if something goes wrong.
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Editor, Insurance & Innovations

Gary Ross Hunter was an editor at Finder, specialising in insurance. He’s been writing about life, travel, home, car, pet and health insurance for over 6 years and regularly appears as an insurance expert in publications including The Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian and Gary holds a Kaplan Tier 2 General Advice General Insurance certification which meets the requirements of ASIC Regulatory Guide 146 (RG146). See full bio

Gary Ross's expertise
Gary Ross has written 731 Finder guides across topics including:
  • Health, home, life, car, pet and travel insurance
  • Managing the cost of living

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