Last winter, I spent my New Year’s in Japan and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to ski.
When talking about dangers, each activity and sport, no matter how low risk they might be, can become potentially dangerous if you don’t follow the basic precautions.
On New Year’s Day in Japan this year, I had a tragic fall on the ski slopes. I lost control skiing down a really steep slope, and twisted both knees on my fall when the skis didn’t dislodge from my boots.
I couldn’t move my legs for a good week from that fall, had to go through injections and MRI, and was only able to get around with a wheelchair and later on, crutches.
I’m not trying to scare you out of doing any extreme sports overseas. That’s where the fun is! Some sports cannot be done in your home country, such as skiing or diving, and that’s why we do it overseas.
What I’m saying is, you only need to be sure you’re covered by a special sports travel insurance so you can still do your favourite sports without any worries.
I’ve claimed more than USD2000 from a single annual travel insurance policy alone because of this fall.
That is why I never ever travel out of my home country, Singapore, without getting myself equipped with travel insurance.
What you need to know about Sports Travel Insurance and Extreme Sports
Most standard travel insurance policies do not cover some sports, especially extreme sports.
Extreme sports are not covered by a standard travel insurance policy, so you need a special sports travel insurance cover. Be aware, though, that each insurance company has different definitions of what they consider extreme sports so be sure to check first which sport is covered before purchasing a policy.
Some insurers consider some activities, such as horse riding and inflatable banana boat rides as extreme.
In general, extreme sports include:
When looking for a sports travel insurance policy, read each carefully to make sure that the sport or activity you’ll engage in when you travel is covered. If not, you will have to find an insurer who specialises in extreme sports and be prepared to pay higher premiums as well.
If, on the other hand, you are going skiing or snowboarding, you have to get a separate cover for that, called winter sports cover.
Moreover, some insurance companies also have separate covers for water sports and activities as well as for golf.
Other considerations you need to keep in mind when purchasing a sports travel insurance include any pre-existing medical conditions, how long you’re going to be travelling, and whether you want a single trip or multi-trip policy. All these conditions will affect the type of cover you have as well as the cost of the policy you’re going to buy.
In some cases, an insurer would like more specific information if you’re going to engage in extreme sports.
For example, if your chosen activity is scuba diving, they might ask how deep you’ll be going down when you dive. Or if your sport is rock climbing, they might want to know how high the climb is and what safety equipments you’re going to use.
There are different kinds of sports travel insurance policies offered by various insurers. These are not just for solo travelers but also available for families.
If you already have an insurance provider, you could ask what sports and activities are covered under the current policy you have. If not, you can just pay additional premium for an insurance extension.
Other precautions to take when engaging in adventure activities
When doing adventure activities, some of the basic guidelines to follow to avoid dangers are:
- Always check the weather condition before heading out
- Always tell someone where you’re heading and what time are you expected to return
- Bring a first aid kit
- Wear the proper clothes for that particular activity
- If you’re driving, always fasten your seatbelts