Travel insurance usually covers hiking to an extent, but for high-altitude treks above 2000m, you'll probably need specialist insurance.
Travel insurance will cover some trekking as standard, but there are usually exclusions.
You'll usually be covered for the below, at altitudes up to 2,000m. Anything higher and you’ll need specific trekking cover.
You’ll only be covered if you’re using the correct equipment and right safety gear. You might need extra cover for adventurous activities that are deemed more risky, like ski mountaineering.
If you make the climb anyway, you won’t be covered if something goes wrong. For example, if you were injured and needed medical attention, you couldn’t rely on the insurer to cover repatriation and medical expenses.
You probably won’t be covered for:
Your insurance provider might offer cover for higher altitudes, usually up to 4,000m or 6,000m, at an additional cost.
If you take out the additional cover, your insurer should help with:
Most insurers will have a 24 hour emergency helpline you can call for advice and to make a claim, but check your policy for exclusions.
Anything more ambitious, like trekking to Mt. Everest’s base camp probably won't be covered by standard travel insurance - you’d need to look for mountaineering cover instead.
If you’re going to be travelling to altitudes above 2,000m, it’s usually easier for search teams to reach you by air, so look for a policy that includes emergency helicopter rescue
Most specialist insurers offer single trip or annual insurance. You'll be covered for much higher altitudes (up to 7,000m) and activities that standard travel insurance can't cover. Things like rock climbing, scrambling and fell running.
Expect the same kind of cover as with standard travel insurance - medical cover, personal accident, cancellation and baggage cover. But critically, worldwide search and rescue is usually included as standard, with a high level of cover per person.
Not taking enough care to stay safe could invalidate a claim you make on your travel insurance. Follow the advice of tour guides and read all safety instructions
Use a buddy system, or stick closely with your group. If you need to go off on your own for a bit, tell someone you’re with where you’re going and when you’ll be back
Your tour guide will have a first aid kit, but it doesn’t hurt to have your own. Your medical kit should include first aid basics including pain relief, bandages, scissors, tweezers, hand sanitizer, gauze and anti-histamines
Also, don’t sign up for strenuous trekking excursions if your doctor would advise against it
They can be heard long-distance, take less energy and can be handy if you get separated from your group. The signal for distress is three short blasts, so only use this for real emergencies
While hiking, you should drink a litre every two hours
Dress in a few lightweight layers that can be easily put on or removed. Take some waterproof clothes, and some thicker layers, just in case the weather gets bad