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4 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance for an Adventure Vacation

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For some, “adventure travel” may mean a fun ziplining excursion in the Costa Rican cloud forest. For others, it means a rugged, week-long trek through Argentina’s Torres del Paine. Both are right! Adventure vacations are generally divided into two categories. Soft adventure involves low-risk physical activity and/or venturing into less developed destinations. Hard adventure raises the stakes with more physical challenges, more remote destinations, and more risk.

Whatever your adventure style, you definitely need travel insurance. You should know, however, that travel insurance may not cover the more daring or dangerous aspects of an adventure vacation. Here’s an in-depth look at what travel insurance covers.

How Can Travel Insurance Protect an Adventure Vacation?

Travel insurance can help if you suffer a medical emergency.

Even if your adventure vacation is on the softer side — a cycling or hiking trip, for instance — you’re still facing a higher risk of injuring yourself, and thus needing medical attention while you’re on your trip. Many people don’t realize that their domestic health insurance card typically won’t be accepted overseas. Instead, hospitals want payment up front. That’s why it’s so important to have travel insurance with emergency medical/dental benefits.

If you suffer a serious covered injury or illness on your vacation, travel insurance can reimburse the reasonable and customary costs of necessary emergency medical care. We may even guarantee payments, where accepted.

Travel insurance can cover medical evacuation from a remote area.

If you get sick or injured when you’re far from a major city, the cost of a medical evacuation overseas can be staggering. Our estimates for medical evacuation costs for some popular vacation destinations:

  • Mexico: $15,000-$20,000
  • South America: $100,000
  • Germany, France or other developed European nations: $50,000-$100,000
  • Russia: $90,000-$150,000
  • Asia, Australia, and the Middle East: $220,000

If your adventure vacation takes you to a remote area of a developing nation, or if your injuries are particularly severe, these costs can dramatically increase. Emergency transportation benefits, a crucial component of travel insurance, can arrange and pay for transportation to the nearest appropriate hospital or other facility if local medical facilities are unable to provide appropriate treatment for your covered illness or injury. Allianz Travel can also arrange and pay for your transportation home, with a medical escort following a covered illness or injury, if necessary.

Travel insurance can cover your costs if you have to cancel your vacation.

Unless you opt for a camping trip close to home, adventure travel isn’t cheap. For example, a 10-day National Geographic expedition to the Galápagos starts at $7,000.[i] A 16-day journey to Morocco and the Sahara with Overseas Adventure Travel: $3,595.[ii] A 20-day cycling, hiking and rafting adventure in Argentina with G Adventures: $5,899 (without airfare).[iii]

Trip cancellation benefits offer invaluable protection for your vacation investment. If you have to cancel your trip unexpectedly for a covered reason, travel insurance can reimburse you for your non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs, up to the maximum benefit of your plan.

Travel insurance can protect your gear.

GoPros, hiking boots, ski goggles, cycling jerseys, performance clothing…  you might pack a lot of stuff for your adventure vacation. What if that gear is damaged, gets stolen, or just never shows up at the baggage claim?

That’s when your baggage loss/damage benefits can kick in. Travel insurance can reimburse you for the actual price, actual cash value, repair or replacement of your stuff — whichever is less, based on the limits in your insurance policy’s letter of confirmation. Just know that there’s a maximum limit for certain special items: jewelry, watches, gems, furs, cameras and camera equipment, camcorders, sporting equipment, computers, radios and other electronic items. You’ll also need to provide original receipts for these items, or they won’t be covered.

What Travel Insurance Doesn’t Cover on an Adventure Vacation

You should know that travel insurance does not cover certain risky activities. When you read your plan documents, you’ll see that you are not covered for any loss resulting directly or indirectly from activities including — but not limited to — the following:

Extreme, high-risk sports and activities:

  • Skydiving, BASE jumping, hang gliding, or parachuting;
  • Bungee jumping;
  • Caving, rappelling, or spelunking;
  • Skiing or snowboarding outside marked trails or in an area accessed by helicopter;
  • Climbing sports or free climbing;
  • Any high-altitude activity;
  • Personal combat or fighting sports;
  • Racing or practicing to race any motorized vehicle or watercraft;
  • Free diving; or
  • Scuba diving at a depth greater than 60 feet or without a dive master.

Ultra-high-risk sports and activities:

  • Any high-altitude activity, BASE jumping, or free climbing;
  • Rafting/kayaking above Class V rapids or canoeing above Class III rapids;
  • Heli-skiing or skiing or snowboarding in an area designated unsafe by the resort management;
  • Personal combat or fighting sports, Running of the Bulls, or rodeo activities;
  • Racing any motorized vehicle or watercraft other than go-karts; or
  • Free diving at a depth greater than 30 feet (10 meters) or scuba diving at a depth greater than 100 feet (30 meters) or, for uncertified divers, diving without a certified dive master.

Read your plan documents carefully to find out what’s excluded from coverage, and understand that an activity may be excluded even if it’s not specifically named in your plan. Please contact Allianz Global Assistance if you have questions about what’s covered. Travel safely, and enjoy your adventure!

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Nov 12, 2018