Holidays are the perfect time to try new activities and make memories. But have you remembered to arrange travel insurance for the things you want to do? Data gathered by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) revealed more than 8 million British holidaymakers risk going abroad without suitable cover. Here, we take a look at adventure travel insurance and explore when you might need it, what it covers, and why it’s important.
- What does travel insurance cover?
- What is adventure travel insurance?
- Why should I buy travel insurance?
- What should I look for when buying travel insurance?
- Do I need travel insurance if I’m holidaying in the UK?
Few of us want to anticipate something going wrong on holiday, but accidents and mistakes happen when we least expect them. Travel insurance acts as a safety net, providing financial assistance where it’s needed. With that in mind, good travel insurance packages should at least cover:
- Medical expenses
- Personal belongings (baggage cover)
- Cancellation and curtailment (if your holiday is cut short)
- Delayed or missed departures
- Repatriation (bringing you back home in an emergency)
- Personal liability
Depending on your insurer, you may also be given the option of adding more features for an extra cost. This could include cover for theft of your travel money, any costs you face if you lose your passport or legal expenses, which can help you if you need to go to court.
Adventure travel insurance is a type of travel insurance aimed at anyone taking part in particular activities that would be deemed higher risk. You can usually buy adventure travel insurance as a standalone package, or it might be available as an add-on if you already have an annual policy in place.
If you’re buying adventure travel cover as a standalone package, it should also include all the basic elements of a good standard travel insurance policy.
The types of activities you’ll be covered for will vary by insurer, but they should be clearly set out in the policy. If you know you’re going to be doing a particular activity, it’s worth making sure it’s listed in your insurance documents, if it isn’t, you should speak to your insurer before you go away.
Activities that could fall under adventure travel insurance include:
- Winter sports (for example, skiing, snowboarding, sledging)
- Water sports (for example, surfing, kite surfing, kayaking, scuba diving)
- Extreme sports (for example paragliding or skydiving)
- Horse or pony riding
- Mountain biking
- Climbing, abseiling
- Bungee jumping
- Motorcycles and quad bikes
Why doesn’t standard travel insurance cover adventure activities?
Standard travel insurance policies are chiefly designed for the average holiday. In most cases, these are limited to low risk, low activity holidays where you might sunbathe, swim, sight-see, and wander around markets and shops.
Taking part in higher-risk activities (as considered by insurers) could increase the chances of a claim being made. It can also mean expensive claims – for example, if your ski boots, skis, or snowboard were lost or damaged. This increased risk and cost are reflected in the premium.
Without travel insurance, the cost of rectifying mishaps or dealing with medical emergencies falls to you, potentially leaving you significantly out of pocket. For example, if you become ill and need medical care, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay for it. Even if you have a UK Global Health Insurance Card (UK GHIC) or UK European Health Insurance Card (UK EHIC), there’s no guarantee medical services will be free. UK GHIC and EHIC agreements typically only give you access to healthcare at the same level as locals. So, if you end up needing specialist care or a stay in a private hospital, you may not be covered under these arrangements.
For example, if you became ill or had an accident and needed surgery in Europe, it could cost you anything from £15,000 to £30,000 for treatment and emergency flights back to the UK. In the USA, where medical care is notoriously expensive, a hospital stay and return flights could cost you a staggering £100,000.
First and foremost, the policy you buy should reflect your holiday and the type of activities you’ll be doing. For most of us, standard travel insurance will be adequate.
When you search for policies, it’s well worth factoring in any conditions or exclusions (events not covered by the policy). It’s important to check both as there may be expectations or rules set out by your insurer, and not adhering to them could mean you’re not covered. A good example is alcohol or drugs, where your insurer may not pay out if you make a claim that was caused by drinking too much or taking anything illegal.
Similarly, you’ll be expected to follow local laws. So, if you’re driving through Europe with a caravan or in your motorhome, it’s important to check things like motorhome regulations in Europe and (more importantly) abide by them.
Remember that if you’re doing something specific, you should check you’re covered. If you know you’re going to a beach resort with lots of activities on offer, you should look for holiday insurance with water sports cover.
The disappointment of something going wrong on holiday is no different whether you’re abroad or at home. If your trip is cancelled or cut short, and you don’t have cover, you could lose out on hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds.
To help you avoid losing out financially, you can buy staycation travel insurance. Policies generally cover the same essentials as standard holiday cover but with a few minor differences that reflect travel within the UK. For instance, some policies exclude flights, while medical expenses will usually cover the cost of transporting you to a hospital closer to home should you need a lengthy stay. As with any travel insurance policy, don’t forget to read any terms and conditions, as the details are likely to vary between insurers.
How can Alan Boswell Group help me?
At Alan Boswell Group, we can provide travel cover for a range of activities, including winter and extreme sports. If you want to find out more about travel insurance, you can speak to a member of our team at 01603 649650.
Alternatively, you can start a quote online for standard cover. You can also start an ‘any age, any medical condition’ quote if you’ve got pre-existing medical conditions or are struggling to find cover because of your age.