Participating in adventurous activities when you travel often requires special insurance. Standard policies may exclude coverage or limit benefits for dangerous hobbies like scuba diving, extreme sports, and even simple activities like hiking. This leaves thrill-seeking wanderers dangerously exposed.
Specialized high-risk travel insurance fills those coverage gaps so you can fret less and adventure more. But with so many options to choose from, how do you know which provider to trust to properly cover your daring exploits?
This comprehensive guide compares the top 7 companies for hazardous travel insurance side-by-side. We break down what adventure sports each covers, policy limits and exclusions, how to file claims, and extra perks offered. Read on to discover the best high-risk travel insurance to safeguard your next big trip.
Standard travel insurance usually does not provide sufficient coverage for dangerous activities. Policies may specifically exclude claims resulting from anything loosely deemed “hazardous,” from helicopter skiing to zip lining to spelunking. Some don’t allow coverage over a certain elevation point.
- High-risk travel insurance covers emergency accidents and injuries resulting from dangerous sports and adventurous hobbies while travelling domestically or overseas.
- Policies can cover expenses like emergency medical treatment, medical evacuation, lost bags, trip cancellation, etc.
- Premiums are higher than standard insurance but worth it for avid thrill-seekers regularly participating in hazardous activities.
- Some policies allow you to select coverage for specific activities you plan to attempt on your trip.
When comparing providers, look closely at:
- Adventurous activities covered
- Policy benefit maximums
- Exclusions & limitations
- Add-on options like rental car damage or flight accident protection
- Claims process
|Adventurous Activities Covered
|Extreme sports, heli-skiing, BASE jumping, shark diving, more
|$250K – $2 million options
|Online portal to track claims
|High-altitude mountaineering, rafting, skydiving, safaris, more
|$100k – $4 million options
|Dedicated Critical Services Team
|International Medical Group
|Snorkeling, horseback riding, water sports, hiking
|$50k – $8 million options
|Online, phone, fax, email
|Spelunking, trekking, bungee jumping, wildlife safaris
|$50k – $1 million options
|24/7 assistance line
|Surfing, whitewater rafting, skiing, rock climbing, more
|$100k – $1 million options
|Claims app plus dedicated line
|Helicopter skiing, ziplining, shark cage diving, parkour
|$100k – $4 million options
|Phone & online claim initiation
|Paragliding, cave exploration, BASE jumping, parkour
|$100k – $2 million options
|Claims phone line with case managers
Below we dive deeper into what adventure sports and activities each high-risk travel insurance provider covers in their policies, as well as maximum benefit amounts, deductibles, and ease of claims processing.
Extreme Sports Covered: Heli-skiing, wingsuit flying, extreme skiing, hang gliding, BASE jumping, mountain climbing, skydiving, caving/spelunking, shark diving
Benefits: Emergency medical transport ($500k), security extraction ($100k), adventure sports coverage (optional add-on)
Deductible: $0 to $2,500
Perks: Telehealth access via app. Evacuation coordination team planning and on-call 24/7.
Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance specifically covers daring endeavors like heli-skiing in the Himalayas and wingsuit proximity flying. Their Adventure Sports Rider add-on covers emergency medical claims and evacuation resulting from things like mountaineering, motorsports races, and even shark cage diving accidents under their Explorer plan (up to $2 million coverage).
They offer unlimited 24/7 emergency transport services both for medical emergencies and security extractions in response to events like terrorist threats, violent crimes, and political unrest. Their Ripcord app provides travellers with in-depth country profiles, real-time security alerts, and location sharing during excursions.
Extreme Sports Covered: Helicopter and high-altitude mountaineering, rafting/kayaking, skydiving, safaris/wilderness expeditions
Benefits: Emergency medical transport ($100k), security evacuations, search and rescue ($100k)
Deductible: $0 to $2,500
Perks: Signature Travel Risk Intelligence portal for tracking global threats. Available via app on Apple Watch/Android Wear watches.
Global Rescue has paid over $100 million in medical and evacuation claims in some of the most remote, dangerous corners of the world. They offer up to $4 million in coverage tailored specifically for adventure travelers partaking in endeavors like heli-skiing on remote glaciers and climbing the highest summits.
Their travel risk intelligence and tracking tools provide real-time alerts related to health crises, transportation strikes, violent unrest, severe weather, and other trip disruptions. So thrill seekers can travel prepared for and protected from potential dangers.
Extreme Sports Covered: Snorkeling, horseback riding, surfing, water skiing, mountain climbing, snow skiing, spelunking
Benefits: Emergency medical & evacuation ($50k), lost baggage ($500), trip cancellation ($1.5k)
Deductible: $0 to $2,500
Perks: IMG provides 24/7 travel assistance services plus an online services membership tools for finding doctors and healthcare worldwide.
For travellers looking for protection for less risky adventures, IMG offers affordable coverage for vacation mishaps resulting from activities like horseback trail rides, snorkeling excursions, and beginner surfing lessons. Their Patriot Travel Insurance plan covers emergency medical expenses up to $50,000.
They also offer add-on coverage like the Adventure Sports Rider to cover amateur athletics like mountain biking, bungee jumping, or ziplining accidents. Their plans are flexible and customizable to cater to all levels of daring exploration.
Extreme Sports Covered: Spelunking/caving, rock climbing, BASE jumping, trekking, bungee jumping, parkour/free running
Benefits: Emergency medical & evacuation ($1 million), trip cancellation ($2.5k), travel delay ($2k), lost luggage ($3k)
Deductible: $0 to $1,000
Perks: Coverage for losses due to travel supplier financial default. Quotes available via Amazon Alexa or Google Home with their AskTravelex skill.
In addition to typical trip cancellation and interruption coverage, Travelex offers specialty Dangerous Activities and Extreme Sports coverage for vacation risks resulting from spelunking, bungee jumping, BASE jumping, parkour, and similar daring stunts and exploration.
They also offer the Travelex Wander Frequent Traveler plan that provides protection across an unlimited number of trips over the course of a year, ideal for professional adventurers and travel bloggers journeying to daring destinations.
Extreme Sports Covered: Surfing, whitewater rafting, mountain climbing, skiing, snowboarding, rock climbing, mixed martial arts
Benefits: Emergency medical & evacuation ($1 million), trip cancellation ($2k), lost luggage ($3k)
Deductible: $0 to $2,500
Perks: Ability to extend your policy while already overseas. World Nomads Aid Hub provides resources and assistance tools for global adventures.
World Nomads specializes in coverage for adventure-seeking wanderers looking to explore and go off the beaten path. They offer convenient mobile claims via their smartphone app allowing travellers to quickly file for reimbursement of unexpected medical expenses or trip disruptions.
The included 24-hour emergency assistance line connects you with immediate help coordinating hospital admission, doctor recommendations, ground ambulance transfer, air evacuation to a home hospital, travel arrangements for friends/family to join at bedside, and more.
Extreme Sports Covered: Heli-skiing/boarding, ziplining, shark cage diving, motocross/BMX biking
Benefits: Emergency transport/evac services ($100k), security extraction (additional), trip protection
Deductible: $0 to $1,000
Perks: Horus lost luggage tracking device to monitor checked bag location via an iOS/Android app.
Medjet provides air medical transport specifically for travelers engaging in adventures like heli-skiing in remote areas far from adequate medical care. They arrange emergency evacuation, repatriation of mortal remains, and transport to join a hospitalized family member.
Their Horizon plan also provides trip cancellation/interruption coverage plus compensation for travel delays, lost baggage, and emergency medical treatment resulting from unexpected injuries mid-vacation. Riders offer rental vehicle damage reimbursement and even coverage in the event of a flight accident.
Extreme Sports Covered: Paragliding/parasailing, hot air ballooning, cave tubing/rafting, parkour, BASE jumping
Benefits: Emergency medical & evacuation ($2 million), 24/7 travel assistance services, search and rescue ($25k)
Deductible: $0 to $2,500
Perks: Optional riders for extreme sports gear loss/damage, rental vehicle collision damage waiver.
This specialty line from Berkshire Hathaway provides prompt emergency medical transport and covers costs resulting from terrorism, natural disasters, politically motivated events, and other unexpected troubles abroad.
Their Explorer plan specifically covers dangerous activities like BASE jumping, cave tubing, motocross, trekking above 10,000 feet, and even parkour. They offer personalized 24/7 travel assistance plus access to emergency cash advances and multi-lingual critical care managers while hospitalized away from home.
Standard travel insurance policies may limit or exclude medical coverage related to injuries sustained while skydiving in New Zealand, spelunking through an Argentine cave, or ziplining over a Costa Rican rainforest. They definitely won’t cover search and rescue efforts if you get stranded while summiting remote peaks in the Himalayas.
But high-risk travel insurance includes coverage for:
- Emergency Medical Expenses: Transport to a hospital, surgery, doctor fees, prescription drugs, etc.
- Emergency Medical Evacuation: Transport from remote locations to advanced medical care
- Repatriation of Remains: Returning mortal remains home for burial
- 24/7 Travel Assistance Services: Advising on finding nearby quality care options, translations help, lost travel document replacement, etc.
- Search and Rescue Services: Dispatching emergency transport and supplies to extract injured travelers from remote locations
- Security Evacuation Services: Safely extracting travelers from areas experiencing civil unrest, violent crimes, terrorist attacks, etc.
Some high-risk policies also include additional features like:
- Trip cancellation/interruption reimbursement
- Baggage loss and flight accident coverage
- Rental car damage reimbursement
Most hazardous activity travel insurance covers injuries resulting from mainstream adventures like:
- Scuba diving
- Whitewater rafting
- Zip lining
- Bungee jumping
- Mountain climbing
- Skiing and snowboarding
But more extreme providers cater to niche explorers partaking in death-defying stunts like:
- BASE jumping
- Wingsuit flying
- Heli-skiing on remote glaciers
- Shark cage diving
- Cave diving
- Motocross/BMX biking
- High-altitude mountaineering above 20,000 ft
Some insurers allow you to select specific activities you plan to attempt, while others provide a general hazardous sports rider covering anything adventure related. Read each provider’s policy documents closely to ensure needed coverage for planned potentially dangerous excursions.
While robust, even daring activity insurance policies do come with notable exclusions. Standard omissions include:
- Pre-Existing Medical Conditions: Injuries/illnesses diagnosed or treated within a timeframe before your policy’s effective date, usually around 6 months. These require separate Travel Medical Insurance with an existing conditions rider.
- Self-Inflicted Injuries: Deliberate self-harm, suicide attempts, criminal acts, riots, intoxication, drug use.
- Dangerous Jobs: Injuries sustained while piloting an aircraft, commercial fishing, mining, handling explosives.
- High-Risk Pregnancy: Complications from pregnancy when expecting mothers have been advised not to travel by a doctor.
- Adventure Racing: Competitive teams enduring wilderness challenges requiring survival skills.
- Professional Athletics: Amateur policies usually exclude coverage when prepping for/competing in athletic events for cash prizes over a certain dollar amount.
Carefully review insurance providers’ policy documents to be aware of exclusions before purchasing coverage. Look for Terrorism/Political Evacuation coverage and high policy maximums for emergency medical expenses since costs can quickly skyrocket with air ambulance transport and unfamiliar hospitals.
In an emergency medical situation abroad where time is critical, high-risk travel insurance offers fast claims processing to quickly coordinate med-evac transport or security extraction:
1. Immediately notify your insurer’s 24/7 travel assistance team
Many top providers have dedicated assistance personnel that can directly pay overseas hospitals/doctors and advise on logistics like ground transport and flights.
2. Formally submit a claim
Once the crisis has passed, formally submit your claim via phone, an online portal, email, fax or mail including supporting documents like receipts and medical reports.
3. Receive claim decision
Wait to receive confirmation of claim approval or requests for additional details from the insurer. Most process emergency medical transport claims rapidly since pre-approval is required before coordinating evacuation flights.
4. Claim payment issued
Finally you’ll be issued your claim reimbursement check or direct deposit once all details and supporting documents have been verified.
For non-emergency claims like trip cancellation, the process of filing paperwork and awaiting decisions may take 4-8 weeks. But emergency medical evacuation claims are often pre-approved and paid directly to hospitals within hours to urgently transport policyholders home for ongoing treatment.
Highly active adventure seekers regularly engaging in “hazardous” activities while travelling domestically or overseas should secure specialty dangerous sports coverage for ultimate peace of mind.
You’ll want big emergency transport and trip cancellation policy maximums in case of serious accident or injury in a remote area. This is especially critical for destinations with poor healthcare systems where immediate air evacuation could be life-saving.
Also consider extras like airline flight accident coverage in case tragedy strikes upon take-off or landing on a small charter plane en route to a jungle eco-lodge or mountaineering base camp.
Some examples where high-risk travel insurance is wise include:
- Heli-Skiers and Extreme Athletes: Insufficient coverage could leave you with crippling debt from emergency high-altitude mountain rescue.
- Backcountry Campers and Trekkers: Those hiking remote wilderness trails where medical access is very limited need med-evac transport coverage in case of injury, landslides, floods or other environmental hazards.
- Scuba Divers and Water Sports Enthusiasts: Decompression sickness diving or paralyzing aquatic accidents far from shore require maritime emergency transport and hyperbaric chamber treatment covered by specialty policies.
- Adventure Honeymooners: Don’t let a life-flight helicopter ride ruin your budget. Protect yourself from financial catastrophe.
- Long-term Travelers and Digital Nomads: Extend specialty protection across all your global journeys without gaps in coverage hopping borders.
Don’t let worrying about accidents, injuries or disasters ruin your globe-trekking adventures. Comprehensive hazardous sports travel insurance coverage gives daring vagabonds license to venture off the beaten track with confidence.
Choose an extreme policy providing extensive benefits for emergency medical evacuation, emergency dental care, search and rescue efforts, emergency medical treatment, and even 24/7 travel assistance. Select optional add-ons like rental vehicle damage reimbursement or flight accident protection if desired.