Golf holiday insurance

Golfing holidays are becoming increasingly popular. Find travel insurance that protects you and your clubs wherever you are in the world.

Key points

  • Golf holiday insurance can sometimes be covered under a single or annual trip travel insurance policy, or you can buy additional specialist cover
  • Most policies will cover non-refundable green fees if you're taken ill
  • The cover will usually protect loss, theft or damage to your golf clubs and other equipment while you’re on holiday

Which keen British golfer wouldn’t want to launch a drive down the fairways of Valderrama, in Spain, or hit a low iron through the wind of Pebble Beach, California?

According to Your Golf Travel, in 2011, some of the best golfing holidays are to be found in the Portuguese Algarve, Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, Hawaii, France, and, predictably, Scotland.

You can golf anywhere - the world's your oyster! But is your travel insurance on your team when putting on the green? Let's find out.

Standard travel insurance for golfers

Before you say 'aloha' to Hawaii or check into the hotel California, check out your insurance options - standard travel insurance isn’t likely to cover the all specific needs you might have when on a golfing holiday. 

On 19 July, 2017, GoCompare analysed 926 single-trip travel insurance policies and 948 annual insurance policies listed on the matrix of independent financial research, Defaqto.

Good news first - just 3% of policies didn't include baggage cover as standard.

However, choose your policy carefully and chat to the insurer if your golf bag is worth a few bob - only 70% of single-trip policies insured for baggage worth £1,500 or more, and 87% of annual trip policies covered baggage worth £1,000 or more.

You could buy separate golf holiday insurance as an add-on to your travel policy, or go to a specialist golf insurer and buy a bespoke policy.

The latter is likely to cover more, but also be more costly.

An add-on golf plan will usually be sufficient but be sure to check the exclusions before you travel.

Alternatively, double check if you have personal possessions cover outside the home as part of your home insurance.

Hole in one

  • According to leadingcourses.com's official rankings of 2017, the top 10 golf courses were Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Morocco, Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland, Spain, Sweeden, Turkey the United Arab Emirates and Wales

Cover for losing or damaging to golf clubs

Most golf holiday insurance plans will cover the loss, theft or damage to your golf clubs and other equipment while you’re on holiday, covering loss or damage to your clubs and other items of golfing equipment from around £500 to £1,500, with differing levels of excess.

However, some insurers will only cover clubs up to this value if they are less than three years old so be sure to confirm this.

Most policies also offer between £150 and £300 for golf club hire if your personal clubs are lost, stolen or damaged and you need to hire replacement clubs for the duration of the holiday.

Insure your golf game for all 18 holes

So, the golf clubs are safely off the plane, but you still need to be mindful that having all the gear in the caddy doesn't mean a good round is coming your way.

You might be prevented from playing for any number of different reasons, such as illness or travel delay, and if so you could be faced with non-refundable green fees.

Most policies will offer cover for non-refundable green fees, usually for between £100 and £300.

Should you be forced to curtail or cancel your trip entirely some insurers will offer cancellation reimbursement of up to around £5,000 to cover non-refundable flights, hotel rooms and transport to the course.

Golf holiday insurance deals from some providers can be taken as part of a single trip or annual multi-trip travel insurance policy and are available for up to a maximum of 31 days.

If you make, or are likely to take only one golf holiday a year, you can cut down costs by buying a single trip policy.

However, if you make a lot of trips then buying coverage for the whole year makes more financial sense.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you’re skilled - or lucky - enough to hit a hole in one at the 15th at St Andrews it is traditional to buy everyone in the clubhouse a drink upon your triumphant return.

This could get pricey, and some, but by no means all, insurers offer coverage of around £75 to help with that hefty bar bill.

Golf related medical costs

Famous US golfer Lee Trevino was once hit by lightning on a golf course, and later advised all golfers to carry a one iron for protection ‘as not even God can hit a one iron.’

For those players who feel that this perhaps would offer inadequate protection, it’s worth considering different levels of medical insurance, in case accidents happen.

UK passport, EHIC card and driving licenceA normal travel insurance plan may cover emergency medical treatment including hospital fees, but playing golf could entail greater risk of injury than a normal holiday.

You might want to consider extra medical insurance above and beyond what a standard policy would offer, particularly if you are holidaying outside the UK.

Some golf policies offer coverage of up to £10 million for medical emergencies.

Golfing litigation

While the possibility of hitting another player with a ball is unlikely, it’s not impossible and you might want to consider coverage which includes legal costs for any injury you might cause to another player.

This is particularly pertinent if you’re playing golf in the US, where claims for damages are more common than in Europe, but you shouldn’t ignore the possibility in Europe either.

Some policy providers offer coverage of up to £2 million or £3 million.

Shop around for the right travel insurance insurance

There are lots of different options to look at when you’re considering golf holiday insurance and the levels of cover vary considerably.

So you should shop around to find the policy that is best suited to your individual needs.

Don’t be tempted to get a policy simply because it’s the cheapest. You owe it to yourself and your peace of mind to do the necessary research to get the best policy for your personal needs.

By Simon Boughey