Sports travel insurance

Make sure you're protected for doing sports and adventure activities abroad.

Going on holiday is all about letting loose. For some that means sitting on the beach reading a book, for others it might be getting active and doing sports and activities. Or perhaps you like a bit of both?

In this guide, we look at which sports you need to get specialist insurance for and explain what this type of policy will cover you for.

From medical expenses to compensating you for damage to your sporting equipment, a sports travel policy will let you enjoy your high octane holiday, safe in the knowledge you’re covered.

What sports does travel insurance typically cover?

There are a variety of sports travel insurance policies out there. Often insurance companies will divide and group sporting activities into risk groups, so it’s vital you scan the policy handbook and make sure it covers your travel plans before signing up.

You don’t want to buy insurance only to realise your provider won’t protect you for your sport. For a general idea though, here is a list of sports that may be covered, depending on the company you choose:

  • Abseiling
  • Athletics
  • American football
  • Archaeological digs
  • Archery
  • Badminton
  • Base jumping
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bicycling
  • BMX
  • Bobsleighing
  • Boxing
  • Bungee jumping
  • Cricket
  • Dancing
  • Diving
  • Expeditions
  • Fishing
  • Flying fox
  • Football
  • Go karting
  • Golf
  • Hockey
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Jet skiing
  • Jogging
  • Kayaking
  • Marathon
  • Martial arts
  • Mountain biking
  • Netball
  • Paintballing
  • Parasailing
  • Polo
  • Rafting
  • Reenactments
  • Riding animals (horses, elephants, ostriches)
  • Rock climbing
  • Rowing
  • Rugby
  • Safari tours
  • Scuba diving
  • Skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Squash
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Tobogganing
  • Triathlons
  • Volleyball
  • Waterskiing
  • Weightlifting
  • Wrestling
  • Zorbing

Is it possible to get travel insurance for sports teams?

Yes. Various different insurance providers will sort out group travel insurance for your sports team, whether you’re going on tour in the UK or overseas.

Typically a representative for the group will have to fill out the application form through the insurer’s website and list each of the group member’s details, including the following:

  • Their full name and title.
  • Their date of birth.
  • Which sports or hazardous activities the group will be participating in.
  • Details of any pre-existing medical conditions that any member of the group has.

After receiving the group’s details, the insurance provider will review the information and provide a quote to cover the group in the days that follow.

Admittedly it will be a major hassle for your anointed admin guru having to sort out everyone’s travel insurance. However, it can save time and potentially money in the end.

How big can the group be?

Some insurance companies can provide cover for up to 30 people under one group policy.

Is it possible to get cover for professional sports teams?

Yes. Not every insurance provider will cover professional sports teams but there are specialist insurers that will give a professional sports team all the cover it needs.

Can I get cover for participation in amateur sports?

Most travel insurance policies will provide cover for you and your group to participate in a wide range of amateur sports while abroad.

From a game of beach cricket to playing for your school football team on tour, you’ll be protected for unexpected expenses. Should you sprain your ankle say, or your team’s kit bag full of expensive gear goes missing for instance.

Should you be getting paid or you’re playing in a professional capacity, you might have to find a specialist policy. If not, then here are some of the amateur sports typically covered by sports travel insurance:

  • Abseiling
  • Athletics
  • Badminton
  • Baseball
  • Boogie boarding
  • Canoeing
  • Cricket
  • Cycling/mountain biking
  • Fishing
  • Football
  • Horse riding
  • Netball
  • Racquet sports
  • Snorkelling
  • Scuba diving

However, it’s vital you look over any policy in detail. Never assume the sport you want to play or do will be automatically covered. Go over the policy handbook and confirm which activities it will or won’t cover before signing up.

The chances are you’ll have to take out a specialist insurance policy if you’re off to do more adventurous or risky sports. Heading off to France for a ski holiday? You’ll need winter sports cover. Or if you’re planning on going surfing you might need Extreme Sports Insurance.

Golf is even deemed as too high risk. Given just how pricey the gear is, you will probably need specialist Golf Cover.

What are the risks of not having sports travel insurance?

Going without insurance could turn your trip into the holiday from hell, one which you’ll be paying off for years. Sports and adventure activities pose a pretty big risk of getting a physical injury.

Should you get hurt without any insurance you’ll have to pay medical bills out of your own pocket, which depending on the country you’re visiting, could be incredibly expensive.

Should you be doing a sport like skiing or rock climbing then you’ve also got to factor in the costs that will be spent on rescue and recovery, which can be astronomically high.

Meanwhile, sports travel insurance will cover your adventure gear if it is damaged.

What do I need to know before buying a sports travel insurance policy?

Each and every sports travel insurance policy is incredibly different from the next. Bear in mind that you need to go over the policy handbook. However, below we look at what a typical policy will protect you for.

  • Emergency Medical Treatment. Any worthwhile policy will cover you for medical treatment. Ideally, you should opt for an insurer that will protect you for any injury you sustain while taking part in a sporting activity that they’ve said is fine for you to play.
  • Emergency Rescue. Depending on what activity you’ll be doing you might need a policy which provides emergency rescue. Should you need to be hoisted to safety from a remote area of mountains for instance.
  • Luggage. Damage or loss of luggage and/or equipment is usually covered by a sports policy, but check what the limits are. Some policies might not cover all the cost of your expensive gear.
  • Winter sports cover. Some policies cover skiers for lost ski passes and for situations when the mountain is closed due to adverse weather or an avalanche. Insurers generally provide cover for a range of winter sports including:
    • Skiing
    • Snowboarding
    • Ice skating
    • Off-piste skiing
    • Ski equipment hire

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, you’ll need to check the small print. Every winter sports policy has exclusions that are specific to that particular deal. Don’t just assume that cover provided by one insurer will be the same as another.

Are there any general exclusions I should know about?

All travel insurance policies have exclusions, which are a set of specific situations when it will refuse to pay out for a claim. The most obvious example is most insurance companies won’t give you any help if your claim came from you drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs.

When it comes to sports travel insurance, a number of policies will not cover professionals who are paid to take part in the sport, those taking part in a race, or people engaging in an activity during their off season.

Other exclusions include if your claim happens as a direct result of:

  • Hunting
  • Sailing
  • Racing (other than on foot)
  • Playing polo
  • Rock climbing or mountaineering
  • Hang gliding or parachuting
  • Your claim is the result of you diving underwater using an artificial breathing apparatus unless you’re licensed or there’s a trained instructor there.
  • Your claim is because you take flight in an aircraft that is not licensed and operated by a charter company or airline.
  • Your claim arises because of your use of a motorcycle and you do not currently hold a British motorcycle licence. Or you take a ride on the back of a motorbike that is being driven by someone who does not hold a current valid licence.

More adventure travel insurance tips

Other factors to consider before you decide on a policy and set off on your trip include:

  • Check whether the Foreign Office has issued any warnings about the country you’re travelling to. Your policy may be deemed void if there.
  • Go over all your insurance documents before you leave and keep a digital copy saved.
  • Find and make a note of your insurance company’s contact details and keep them to hand at all times.
  • Send a copy of your policy to a friend or relative just in case you are seriously hurt and they need to speak to the provider on your behalf.
  • Keep your friends and family in the loop about where you will be going and what you’ll be doing. Plus, let them know when you’ll be checking in with them so they can alert the authorities should anything go wrong.
  • Find out whether your insurer will help you deal with the medical costs upfront, or if you have to pay and claim the fees at a later date.
  • Decide whether you want a policy that will pay for your repatriation back to a British hospital if you don’t want to recover overseas.

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