Sports travel insurance

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

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 11 May 2022  | 4 min read

What is sports travel insurance?

If you’ll be doing something more adventurous than relaxing by the pool during your trip - jet skiing or bungee jumping, for example - you’ll need to make sure you get travel insurance that covers you for adventurous sports.

The sports cover available on policies varies. Some insurers cover certain sports as standard and allow you to add others for an extra fee, whereas some sports might not be covered at all.

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

What sports are covered?

Defaqto names 12 sports that it considers extreme or adventurous. Out of the 1,046 annual travel insurance policies listed, we’ve found out the percentage of policies that include the following activities as standard:[1]

Activity Percentage of annual travel insurance policies covering this as standard
Snorkelling 97%
Cycling 97%
Scuba diving 94%
Banana boating 89%
Parasailing 86%
Hot air ballooning 80%
Horse riding 77%
Bungee jumping 63%
Sea kayaking 62%
Jet skiing 49%
White water rafting 23%
Quad biking 8%

This list isn’t exhaustive - there are other adventurous activities that travel insurance policies might (or might not) cover, like watersports, hiking and rock climbing.

Not all extreme sports are covered by travel insurance, and not all travel insurance policies will cover the same sports. Things like cycling, snorkelling and scuba diving are generally included in most policies but more risky activities like white water rafting and canyoning are less commonly covered by travel insurance.
Ceri McMillan - GoCompare Travel Insurance Expert

Which sports are excluded?

Generally, the riskier the sport the less likely an insurer will cover it. But how risky an insurer believes each activity to be varies.

Some might cover snowboarding, but exclude something mundane, like cycling or rollerblading. Even gentle activities like golf could be excluded from your cover.

A few travel insurance policies have an age cap on certain sports, so while you’re eligible for the standard travel insurance cover, you won’t be covered for adventurous activities if you’re over a certain age. 

There might also be specific distinctions based on the nature of the activity. For example, you might be covered for cycling for leisure, but you might not be covered if you’re on a dedicated cycle tour or you’re competing in bike races.

Most insurance policies will state that any claims you make won’t be accepted if:

  • You aren’t wearing the appropriate safety gear for your chosen sport
  • You were behaving recklessly
  • Your judgement was impaired by alcohol or drugs

How to find out if you’re covered

Your policy documents will list exactly what activities are covered by your travel insurance.

“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 Sally Jaques. 

“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.”

How to get cover for extreme sports on holiday

If you’ve read over the policy documents and still aren’t sure, get in touch with the insurer and tell them what activities you’ll be doing.

You might decide to try horse riding or scuba diving while on your holiday - if so, you can give them a quick call to ask whether you’re covered or not.

Cover for skiing and snowboarding holidays

You can also get cover for certain winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding, either as a standard part of your cover or as an optional extra.

It’s easy to find out which insurers include this, as you’ll usually be asked if cover for winter sports is something you want to have on your policy.

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[1]Last checked 11 May 2023