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Extreme sports insurance

Need extreme sports cover for your next trip? Find out what you should consider before your adventure holiday. 

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The basics

Are extreme sports covered by travel insurance?

Which sports are excluded from travel insurance?

What's sports travel insurance?

How to get cover for extreme sports on holiday 


Key points

  • Never assume a sport is covered by your standard travel insurance - check your policy
  • To get cover for dangerous sports you might need to pay an extra premium or take out a specialist stand-alone policy
  • Ski and winter sports cover is more common and is an add-on you can choose when you use GoCompare

The basics

Diving off a bridge attached to a piece of elastic or snowboarding down a mountainside are slightly riskier pastimes than working on your tan poolside. So it's a fair bet that a standard travel insurance policy won't cover you if you have an accident or your expensive equipment gets damaged or stolen.

That doesn't mean you have to go without either adequate insurance or your adrenaline fix- but you might need to spend a bit more on upgrades to your insurance or a specialist policy.

Are extreme sports covered by travel insurance?

If you're not sure if you'll be covered, check your policy documents before you travel - they should list exactly what's covered and what's excluded.

"Most beach-type activities will be covered as a standard activity, although sea kayaking and scuba diving might not be, unless you're fully qualified," said GoCompare's Matt Sanders. 

"Look out for activities where you would be covered for medical expenses that might occur in the event of an accident, but the level of personal accident cover might be reduced or removed.

"Most policies will have a list of what is and isn't covered in the documentation. It sounds boring, but it's always worth a read before you hop on that jet-ski!"

Which sports are excluded from travel insurance?

It depends entirely on your policy so make sure you read the terms and conditions properly before you set off. 

You could be covered for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding or more extreme sports like sky surfing and free running. 

On the other hand, your insurer could exclude activities as mundane as cycling or rollerblading.

It's also worth noting that some policy providers have an age cap for winter sports cover. So you might be able to get standard travel cover regardless of your age, yet the winter sports element only covers policyholders who are, for example, 45 or younger. 

Read your policy carefully - it might be invalidated if you fail to wear a helmet or other protective equipment

Insurers will calculate your premium based on the amount of risk involved so something like skydiving might cost more than abseiling, for example. 

Even gentle activities like golf could be excluded from your general travel insurance policy, which could be a problem if you're struck by a ball or your expensive clubs are stolen. 

There may also be distinctions based on the nature of the particular activity. For example, you might be covered for bicycling for leisure as long as you wear a helmet, but not covered if you're on a holiday that's a dedicated cycle tour or you're competing in bike races. 

What's sports travel insurance?

It's specialist travel insurance for those who want to take part in adventurous or extreme sports.

Standard travel insurance will cover you for a long list of activities, but they tend to be low risk or supervised by an instructor.

If you want to take part in adventure sports while you're away, you're likely to pay more for your travel insurance. 

In these cases it might be worth having specialist activity holiday insurance in place just in case you need to have any medical treatment abroad. 

How to get cover for extreme sports on holiday

If you're in any doubt over cover after reading your insurance documents, tell your insurer what activities you'll be doing, whether you have an annual or a single trip policy. 

If you decide to do a bungee jump or hop on a banana boat while you're there, give your insurer a ring and ask whether you're covered or not. You might be able to add extra cover on to your existing policy. 

Be wary of travel cover included with your bank account, as it could include only basic cover and might not include extreme sports. 

Whichever policy you go for, check the limitations and exclusions. For instance, you might not be covered for certain high-risk activities or discover you'll only be covered for scuba diving up to a certain depth of water. 

It's important - your insurer might not pay out if you were injured while indulging in what it deems reckless behaviour.

This could include being under the influence, so go easy on the apres-ski if you plan to be out on the slopes again the following day. 

Stick to the rules too - your policy might be invalidated if you fail to wear a helmet or other protective equipment.

And take a look at our advice on avoiding a travel insurance claim rejection in case anything does go wrong on your adventures.

Last updated on 03 Apr 2019