If you’re planning on hiking above altitudes of 2,000m or doing high-risk treks, you’ll probably need specialist travel insurance to provide the right cover.
Trips that allow you to explore the outdoors and get back to nature are a popular option. But if you’re planning a walking adventure, it’s important to have the right cover.
While standard travel insurance will cover a number of leisure activities (which will differ between policies), you may only be insured to walk a certain distance or be limited to hiking up to a specific height.
If you want to go further or higher than your policy limit, you’ll either need to buy an add-on or take out separate specialist cover.
Standard travel insurance won’t cover the high-risk activities that are associated with adventure travel, this includes things like hiking and trekking.
Reaching high-altitude views and taking part in hiking challenges usually require you to head to remote areas where urgent medical help or assistance is unlikely to be nearby.
Plus, covering long distances and trekking up mountains is riskier. And if you did need urgent attention, an air ambulance may be needed to take you to hospital.
So if hiking or trekking is the main reason for your trip, it’s likely you’ll need specialist insurance to get the cover you need.
You’ll need to check your policy to see what activities your travel insurance will cover you for, but you’ll usually require specialist cover for:
Specialist trekking insurance can include cover for:
When you take out travel insurance it’s important to read the policy wording to understand what you will and won’t be covered for.
Common exclusions you can expect to find include:
If you have an accident or are injured as a result of drinking an excessive amount of alcohol or taking illegal or recreational drugs, you’re unlikely to be able to make a claim
Gadgets, designer clothes and specialist equipment are usually excluded from standard travel insurance. This is usually due to single-item limits, which is how much your insurer would be willing to pay out for one item. But you can often buy a policy add-on or take out separate cover for these
You won’t be covered if your belongings get stolen, lost or damaged during your trip because you’ve left them unattended or haven’t stored them securely
You’ll usually need to add extra cover or buy a separate specialist policy for potentially dangerous activities, like hiking or mountaineering at altitudes higher than 2,000m
Most standard travel insurance policies won’t provide cover if you travel to destinations that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) have advised against visiting
Events like floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, blizzards and avalanches that may affect your travel plans or cause injury may not be covered, so check your policy wording carefully
When you’re looking at specialist insurance, there are a few different options that can help provide the right level of cover:
This is for taking recognised trekking routes and adventurous treks in places like the Alps, Pyrenees and Mt Kilimanjaro up to an altitude of 5,000m
If your trek or climb is likely to be taking you to locations up to 6,500m you’ll need high-altitude cover
If you’re an extreme trekker or mountaineer, this can cover you for tackling peaks higher than 6,500m, with some policies providing cover without altitude limits. It can also cover you for trekking lower peaks in more remote and inaccessible regions
When you’re deciding which trekking insurance to take out, there are a few things you should consider:
Make sure your policy will cover you for the altitude you plan to reach. As a rule of thumb, choose a policy with a maximum altitude that’s higher than the altitude you’ll be trekking to
Some insurers will only cover you to walk or trek along recognised routes, so check the policy wording carefully as this may be problematic if an unexpected issue means you have to change course
When you’re taking out trekking insurance, check that helicopter rescue is included. It might be classed as a necessary medical expense but may not be covered if a rescue was due to bad weather conditions or you have gotten lost.
Your cover may only be valid if your trek is part of an organised group trek. If you’re making your own trekking arrangements your trip may not be covered, so check your policy
Some treks could take longer to complete than your insurer will cover you for, so you may need to look at long-stay options, or annual multi-trip policies if you’re planning on more than one trek in a year
It’s important to declare any health conditions you have when you’re taking out cover, so you don’t invalidate your policy.
You can usually still get cover, but you may need to pay more and in some cases, you’ll have to use a specialist insurer.
Before setting off, provide a trusted contact with your insurance details, trekking route and itinerary in case they need to organise emergency help for you
Headaches, nausea and extreme tiredness can all be brought on by breathing thinner air at high altitudes
Pack light and invest in good hiking boots and kit. Try to acclimatise by staying in an area at a higher altitude for at least two days before you start your hike
From bad blisters to more serious cuts and injuries, having the right medical kit can help to prevent infections and get you back on the track
If you’ll be doing an organised trek, do your research and use a company with a good reputation