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Adventurous sports insurance

If you're looking to do an adventurous sport on holiday you need to consider your travel insurance with care. Find out more...

Key points

  • Never assume a sport is covered by your standard travel insurance - read the terms and conditions with care
  • For appropriate cover for dangerous sports you may need to pay an extra premium, or to take out a specialist, stand-alone policy
  • Ski and winter sports cover is more common and is an add-on option you can choose when you search for a policy through Gocompare.com

Everyone gets a buzz out of going on holiday, perhaps adrenaline junkies more than anyone else.

And with even bungee jumping and ice climbing starting to look a little tame compared to new crazes like extreme ironing, it seems that adventurous sports have reached, er, new heights.

Of course, diving off a bridge attached to nothing but a piece of elastic or snowboarding your way down a mountainside are slightly riskier pastimes than working on your tan poolside.

And 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.

You'll probably need extra cover - and not just for that ironing board - to make sure you get the best possible care should your adventure turn to misadventure.

"Most beach-type activities will be covered as a standard activity on insurance policies, although sea kayaking and scuba diving might not be, unless you're fully qualified," said Gocompare.com's Caroline Lloyd.

"Another thing to look out for includes activities where you would be covered for any medical expenses which might occur in the event of an accident, but the level of personal accident cover might be reduced or removed.International student medical cover

"Personal accident cover typically pays a lump sum to the insured in case of serious permanent injury or death.

"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!"

What is sports travel insurance?

Sports travel insurance is a specialist type of travel insurance for those who want to take part in adventurous or extreme sports.

These could include winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, or daring activities like sky surfing and free running.

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

There may also be distinctions based on the nature of the particular activity; you may, for example, be covered for bicycling, but not covered if you're on a holiday that's a dedicated bicycle tour.

Even gentler activities such as golf can require insurance, in case you're struck by a ball or your expensive clubs are stolen.

"You can find some funny inclusions, such as hole-in-one cover for golf, but bear in mind some policies won't cover you for loss or damage to your clubs whilst they're in use - so it's no good getting too angry when you don't get the hole in one!" said Lloyd.

So to make sure you're fully covered no matter how daring you want to be, you may need to either add extra clauses to your standard policy or take out separate sports holiday cover.

Other things to consider

If you have annual travel cover, you might assume it's more comprehensive than a single-trip policy and that you have added protection for things such as winter or extreme sports.

But this isn't the case and you'll still need to tell your insurer of your plans and buy the right level of sports insurance for you.

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

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

It's also worth noting that some policy providers cap the age of winter sports participants.

You might therefore be able to get standard travel cover regardless of your age, yet the winter sports element might only cover policyholders who are, for example, 45 or younger.

Remember also that an injury from an adventurous sport can have a serious impact on your life, and on that of your family; you may want to think about things such as life insurance, income protection and health insurance.

Safety first

If you're taking part in an activity such as mountain walking or rock climbing abroad, find out the contact details of the local emergency services before you set off.

In many European countries, dialling the number 112 will connect you to the emergency services and it's free from landlines or mobiles.

It's essential to remember that your policy could be at risk if you've drunk alcohol or taken drugs before an accident, so it might be worth going easy on the après-ski if you plan to be out on the slopes again the following day.

Read your policy carefully - it 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 whilst you're on your adventures.

By Rebecca Lees