Travel Insurance

6 Things About Travel Insurance All Adventurers Need To Know Before Buying

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Peter Lin



If at first you don’t succeed… skydiving isn’t for you! We all know friends who are adrenaline junkies. Heck, we might be the ones ourselves! I’m talking about those of you who get your kicks taking crazy risks and going on wild adventures all around the world. No, window shopping along the Champs-Élysées does not count as a high-risk adventure, no matter how much your wallet is at stake.

We all know how important travel insurance is, but if you’re planning a ski trip, scuba diving trip or something even crazier than that, then you need to know what kind of travel insurance provides the best cover for adventurous activities. Here are 6 things you need to pay attention to when buying your travel insurance.


1. Know which activities are excluded from your travel insurance cover

Not surprisingly, there are activities that no insurance company is willing to cover. Here are a few major examples:

  • Any professional competitions or sports in which you get paid, sponsored or receive any kind of financial reward.
  • Expeditions to inaccessible, remote or previously unexplored places.
  • Being the pilot or a crewmember of an aircraft.

Now, you might say, but I’m probably not going to do any of these things. Let’s just remember that these are the kind of activities that every insurance company is hesitant to cover. However, between companies, there are different standards as to what’s allowed and what’s just not even worth discussing.


2. Find out which activities exclude you from Personal Accident or Personal Liability Cover

AVIVA’s travel insurance coverage seems rather comprehensive at first glance. They claim that you’ll be automatically covered for a whole list of leisure activities, as long as they’re played on a recreational basis. Fair enough.

We’re talking about a list that includes sports like go karting, jet skiing and surfing, if you can believe it. Until you read the fine print. And then you realise that these three activities, along with wind-surfing and water skiing, have no personal accident or personal liability cover.

In other words, if you or someone else gets seriously injured during any of these activities, your travel insurance will not cover any medical costs, or any property loss or damage. The irony? These are exactly the kind of activities where you’re more likely to suffer an accident or cause damage. Don’t forget to check the fine print!


3. Be aware of the special circumstances where activities are not covered

Some activities will be covered by your travel insurance, but only if it’s within a specific circumstance. Again, this is not being unrealistic. But it does mean you have to be careful that your activities don’t exceed the boundaries set by your travel insurance. These are examples of some activities which aren’t covered by your insurance:

  • Canoeing or white water rafting without a qualified guide or Grade 4 and above (of the International Scale of River Difficulty).
  • Off-piste skiing, or skiing outside the officially approved boundaries of a ski resort.
  • Mountaineering beyond the height of 3,000 metres above sea level.
  • Underwater activities involving artificial breathing apparatus for diving deeper than 30 metres.

So while some of these activities are covered by certain travel insurance policies, they do have limits to their coverage, so be careful to stay within the stipulated boundaries.


4. Check if you need to pay more for extra cover for adventurous activities

Depending on the company, some firms require that you upgrade your travel insurance plan to include adventurous activities. Although it might seem unfair to incur a steep increase in the premium price, do note that most of the time, this increases your coverage for other categories within the same plan as well.

For MSIG’s travel insurance plans, for example, the Standard Plan doesn’t include activities like bungee jumping and skydiving, but the Elite Plan, which costs at least $7 or 25% more, does. However, by paying this extra premium, your cover for personal accident and personal liability increases by 50%-100%. When you look at the big picture, that’s not a bad deal.


5. Look out for Sports Equipment Coverage

If you’re a hardcore skier or diver, then this section should not be news for you. If you have your own sporting equipment that you intend to bring on the trip, you have to be aware how much your travel insurance is covering you. When your gear can cost a few hundred dollars, you’ll definitely want to invest in a plan that will insure you don’t lose out if your gear is stolen or damaged.


6. Ensure you have sufficient Emergency Medical Evacuation cover

This is especially important if you’re planning to go scuba diving, hiking or skydiving. Since you’re most likely not going to be near any decent medical facilities should anything happen, you may need to get emergency medical evacuation. Check to make sure your travel insurance policy covers you sufficiently for such an occasion. Where possible, choose policies that can give you at least $500,000 cover for medical evacuation, even if you end up paying a little more.

If you’re having trouble sourcing for and comparing different travel insurance packages, head on over to MoneySmart’s Travel Insurance Comparison Page for quick and accessible information on the best insurance packages available.


Do you have any other suggestions for getting the best travel insurance for adventurers? Share them with us.

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Peter Lin

I am the poster boy for reinventing one's self. I've been a broadcast journalist, technical writer, banking customer service officer and a Catholic friar. My life experiences have made me the most cynical idealist you'll ever meet, which is why I'm also the co-founder of a local pop culture website. I believe ignorance is not bliss, and that money is the root of all evil only if you allow it to be.