There are two kinds of holidays: one where you relax by the beach reading a book while waiting for your spa appointment or the other kind, where you hike up the second highest peak in South America with nothing but a backpack that has some energy bars and a first aid kit.

It’s for the second type of holiday that you need adventure sport insurance. But why, you ask. I already have travel insurance that covers any incidences during my vacation. This may come as a surprise because most travel insurance policies don’t cover injuries sustained while doing any activities that they consider to be “extreme” or “adventurous”.

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What is extreme and adventure sport insurance?

Depending on the insurance provider, extreme and adventure sports can include a whole array of activities. Bungee jumping, skydiving, parachuting, or mountain biking may seem to be the obvious extreme sports. However, even relatively less strenuous activities such as horseback riding, kayaking, hiking and riding a hot air balloon are often classified as adventure sports.
These policies have multiple names such as extreme sports insurance, sports travel insurance, adventure travel insurance etc. Policies can last anywhere between a few days up to six months. For example, in the UAE, HSBC bank offers an adventure sport extension on regular travel insurance. Other international providers such as World Nomads and Sports Direct Cover offer competitive rates that can be purchased online.

How does it differ from the usual travel insurance?

Regular travel insurance covers incidences such as loss of baggage, loss of passport, change of flight ticket and medical emergencies that were not incurred while doing any extreme sports or athletic activity. This is precisely why extreme sports insurance exists. To cover medical emergencies, injuries and other accidents incurred while undertaking such activities.

What to watch out for

As with all insurance policies, reading the fine print is extremely important in avoiding any unpleasant surprises. For example:

  • The definition of what constitutes adventure activities are often vague. Make sure that your activity or sport is specifically mentioned as being covered under the policy.
  • Whether you’re an amateur or professional has no bearing on the insurance.
  • Even extreme sports insurance will have a number of excluded activities such as athletic activities sponsored by athletes associations or Olympic committees, sports beyond a certain level of difficulty etc.

So, next time you decide to go deep sea diving with the sharks, make sure you are properly covered and you can be at peace. Except for the part where you are swimming with sharks, that is.