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Adventure travel insurance

Adventure travel insurance covers you to take part in certain activities when you’re on holiday. Some insurers might include it as standard with their higher level policies, whereas others might only offer it as an optional extra.

When you get a quote, check the policy documents to see what activities you're covered for. If one you’re planning on doing isn’t covered, contact the insurer to see if they’ll offer you an adventure travel insurance add-on.

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How to know when you need adventure travel insurance

Whether you need adventure travel insurance depends on what you’ll be doing on your holiday. Lower-risk activities like snorkelling are often covered by standard travel insurance, but higher-risk ones like skydiving probably aren't.

If you're planning a regular holiday that also includes a couple of activities, you may be fine with standard travel insurance – as long as your chosen insurer covers your planned activities. This means that, ideally, you should plan your activities in advance to make sure they’re covered.

But if the sole purpose of your holiday is an activity – perhaps you’re going mountaineering at high altitude in a remote part of the world – you’ll probably need more specialised insurance.

The important thing is to be honest so you can get accurate quotes for your trip. For example, let's say you were injured while paragliding. If you didn't have adventure travel insurance, any treatment you needed as a result of that injury wouldn’t be covered by your policy.

According to GOV.UK, if you were to break your leg in Spain, hospital treatment and flights back to the UK could cost you £15,000. Adventure travel insurance could help you cover those costs.

Don’t just rely on your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which allows you to get medical treatment in the EU at the same cost as the residents of the country you’re in. Although this could mean completely free medical care, depending on the country, it doesn’t offer the additional cover you get with travel insurance. And if you’re travelling outside Europe, you can’t use your GHIC.

Bear in mind that winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding usually aren’t covered as standard by travel insurance. If you’re going on this type of holiday, make sure you check the box to include winter sports cover when you get a quote.

As soon as you know where you’re travelling to and what activities you’ll be doing, you should buy your travel insurance. This will help make sure your costs are covered if you have to cancel the trip due to reasons outside your control.

What activities does adventure travel insurance cover?

There’s no set list of activities that are covered by travel insurance. We compare a wide range of travel insurers who offer lots of different levels of cover.

The activities covered by adventure travel insurance might include:

  • Paragliding
  • Jet ski
  • Rock climbing
  • Yoga
  • Scuba diving
  • Safari trips
  • Cycling
  • Golf - although golf equipment cover is usually excluded
  • Skydiving
  • Horse riding

The most important thing is that you plan the activities you’ll be doing on your holiday, and make sure you choose a policy that can cover them. The policy wording will explain the activities and sports that are covered, but get in touch with the insurer if you’re unsure.

What activities are excluded?

We’ve already mentioned that the list of activities included in your cover varies depending on the policy you buy. But as a general rule, the more dangerous or risky an activity is, the less likely it is to be covered. If you’re in any doubt, contact the insurer directly.

One thing that’s unlikely to be covered by standard travel insurance is any sport or activity where you’re taking part as a professional, or there’s prize money at stake. These situations almost always require specialist insurance.

It’s also worth bearing in mind certain activities may be covered but only under certain conditions. For example, scuba diving might be covered, but only to a certain depth. And other activities might only be covered if you’re accompanied by a qualified instructor.

Make sure you understand if any additional conditions apply so you don’t accidentally break the terms of your policy.

What you typically get with adventure sport travel insurance

As well as insuring you to take part in certain activities and sports, adventure travel insurance typically covers:

  • Medical expenses: If you’re injured while doing a risky activity covered by your policy, your insurance should cover the cost of any treatment you need.
  • Medical repatriation: Your policy should cover the cost of getting you home if you’ve been injured and are unable to make it home on your own.
  • Cancellation/curtailment: This cover reimburses you if you have to cancel or cut your holiday short. But likely will not cover you for cancelled activities by private organisers.
  • Personal accident: Some policies give you a payout if you suffer a life-changing injury.
  • Personal liability: If you seriously hurt someone else by accident, you may be liable for compensation, legal fees and other costs. Travel insurance could help you cover those costs.
  • Loss of or damage to equipment: Your adventure travel insurance policy might cover some equipment, such as your surfboard, climbing gear or bike. But what is covered can vary between insurers, so check your policy wording.

What affects the price of adventure travel insurance?

The price you pay for your policy depends on:

  • Where you're travelling: If you’re travelling in Europe, the chances are your policy will be cheaper than if you’re travelling worldwide.
  • Your age: The older you are, the more expensive your insurance usually is.
  • The activities you plan on doing: If you have plans to bungee jump or go cage diving on your trip, the cost of your policy could go up. This is because these are usually seen as higher-risk activities by insurers.
  • If you’ve got any medical conditions: The cost of travel insurance usually increases if you have a specific condition or illness, as insurers consider you more likely to need medical attention.
  • What type of cover you need: This depends on how many times you plan on travelling in a year. If the holiday is a one-off, single-trip travel insurance is usually the cheaper option. If you’re going away several times in a year, an annual travel insurance policy could work out cheaper than buying a separate policy for each trip. This could be useful if you regularly do the same activities every time you go away.

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  • We're regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), as are all of the travel insurance companies we work with. This means you can be certain that we do things the right way for you, following strict guidelines.
  • We're 100% independent. We're not owned by any insurance company, so the prices you see are the best available based on your information, not who they're from.

Adventure travel insurance for people with a pre-existing medical condition

If you’re looking for travel insurance to cover adventure activities but you have a medical condition, you can still get a quote through us. Just bear in mind the organiser may not allow you to take part in certain activities if you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition.

A pre-existing medical condition is an illness or condition you know about before you buy your travel insurance policy. These conditions include:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • Serious heart conditions
  • Respiratory conditions
  • Terminal illnesses

Some insurers might not cover you if you already have a serious medical condition, or if you have several conditions. Others might only offer insurance at a much higher price.

If you can’t find suitable cover, MoneyHelper has set up a directory of insurers who cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions. You can find the directory of insurers on the MoneyHelper website or you can phone the Money and Pensions Service for free impartial advice on 0800 138 7777.

What our travel insurance expert says

''When you’re looking for travel insurance that covers adventurous activities and sports, make sure you know exactly what activities you’re planning to do so you can get a policy that covers them. The specific activities covered vary between insurers, so never assume a sport or activity is covered without checking first.''

Alvaro Iturmendi - Confused.com travel insurance expert
Travel insurance expert Confused.com logo

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