The Itinerary

Adventure Travel: 7 Things Your Travel Insurance Won't Cover

Posted Jun 5, 2018 11:09:46 AM in by Madelyn Allard

Most travelers who purchase insurance have a general idea as to what is and isn't covered by their plan. Trip cancellation and medical coverage are two popular benefits, and rightfully so. They can be a real life-saver. But what happens when your travel insurance plan doesn't cover a few of those activities you've got on your bucket list?

Sometimes it takes a little digging to find out what your travel insurance company won't cover. In this article, we put together 7 things your travel insurance plan probably won't cover to help you out.

1. DRInking IN excess

If you’re out in a foreign city looking to explore the nightlife, you might head to a local bar for a few drinks. You'll want to be sure to drink responsibly. Not only is alcohol an exclusion for most travel insurance providers, it also puts you at risk in a foreign environment. If you have been drinking in excess and have an accident, you may find yourself without emergency medical coverage. 

This may make you wonder what other activities aren’t covered by travel insurance. When you plan your trip, be sure to plan your travel insurance accordingly so you have coverage for all the activities you plan to do.

2. Driving and Riding in Races

Whether you’re behind the wheel with Dale Earnhardt Jr. or racing your daughter around an amusement park track, these types of races aren’t always covered. Most companies have restrictions when it comes to motor racing. Some completely exclude any sort of motor racing, whether it’s professional or not. Others only exclude professional racing specifically.

dEven if your policy excludes racing, some may allow riding in dune buggies, go karts, and other similar vehicles. Typically, the stipulation is that you may ride, but you may not race.


3. Hiking

It’s good practice to follow your limits while hiking, backpacking, or camping. Fortunately, most travel insurance providers do not have a hiking/backpacking exclusion. This is great if you get hurt or lost while wandering the wilderness. You’ll be able to use that plan you paid for.

Once you hit dangerous territory, this coverage ends. Some policies do not cover the act of mountaineering. This means once you need ropes, picks, and things like ice picks and crampons, you’re no longer a hiker. You’re a mountaineer, which isn’t covered by many basic travel insurance plans. .


4. Extreme Skiing (including Heliskiing)

You’re taking the family on a ski trip and you’re trying to decide between two options: stay on the ski resort and stick to the trails, or go into the backcountry. From a travel insurance perspective, we’re going to have to recommend sticking to the resort. Although some policies don’t have restrictions on where you ski, most only cover skiing in bounds.

If you’re a family of adventure skiers, and those black diamond trails just aren’t doing it, you may be considering heliskiing. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to look into specific adventure travel policies. The most basic travel insurance plans cover high risk sports like heliskiing.


5. Spelunking and Caving

Exploring caves can be magical. The shine of stalactites and stalagmites in the glow of the artificial lighting. The frightening yet curious draw of what’s beyond. The tiny bats clinging to the ceiling as they try to catch some shut-eye. A guided tour of a cave can be exciting for the whole family. And it is covered by most comprehensive travel insurance policies.

If you’re on a hiking trip and you discover a cave, decide to name it after yourself, and start spelunking to see how deep it actually goes, it counts as something totally different. Spelunking isn’t covered by most policies. If you’re doing a high-risk professional activity, you’re better off getting an adventure travel policy, or you might find yourself without coverage.


6. Skydiving

People skydive around 3.2 million times a year according the the US Parachute Association. For every 153,557 who jump, there may be one fatality. This risk of a fatality goes against what travel insurance companies are trying to protect you from. That’s why most travel insurance policies put their foot down on skydiving and add it to their exclusion list.

If flying through the air is your thing, but you want to stay within your policy limits, we recommend zip lining instead. You’re still flying through the sky, but you’re more likely to be covered by your comprehensive travel insurance policy. But make sure your refer to your plan before you book the activity to be sure.


7. Bungee Jumping

With bungee jumping, most accidents are caused not by faulty equipment, but by human oversight. That chance is one you may be willing to take, but most travel insurance companies are not. If you really want to bungee jump while on your trip, either do so at your own risk, or find a policy that covers this specific activity.


8. Hang Gliding

Hang gliding is a higher risk activity, with its fatality rate at 1 in 560. If hang gliding is your sport, you’ll need an adventure policy to cover you abroad. It is a risky activity that not many travel insurers cover.


The last thing any travel insurance company wants to be is a wet blanket – we swear. We just want our travelers to have positive, life-changing trips. Exclusions are there to keep the cost of insurance down while attempting to guide travelers towards safer situations as to reduce claims. So get out there, have fun, but travel smart.

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