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Adventure travel is on the rise with more and more people looking to broaden their horizons through new, thrilling experiences. Whereas the lethargic beach holiday is an insurers’ dream – given the minimal risks involved with pool-swimming, cocktail-sipping and book-reading – adventurous, or ‘dangerous’, getaways are now causing more concern as holidaymakers want something riskier.
Recently, the industry supporting extreme sports has grown exponentially and the market for adventure travel is one of the fastest in the UK. As a result, there is a wealth of adventurous opportunities and extreme pursuits on offer which is great news for all, but it also calls for savviness when choosing an insurance policy. Activities such as cycling, horse riding and hiking do not sound as ‘extreme’ as perhaps sky-diving, rock climbing and cave diving but crucially, as far as travel insurers’ are concerned, they can fall into the same category.
It is for this reason that you must familiarise yourself with the small print of your policy. Each policy will vary significantly, and it is dangerous to assume you are covered even for the minor and leisurely activities such as a snorkelling, or a bike ride. If you had planned a heli-skiing holiday in the Canadian Rockies or were venturing to New Zealand for a bungee jump, chances are you would have acknowledged the potential dangers and invested in an additional standalone policy to cover your high-risk activity. Recognising the risk of injury, it is likely that you would take measures to ensure that your bank account would not break, even if your body did!
The holidaymakers who know that their holiday will not involve rapids, plunging dives or sickening heights are potentially most at risk. Every year, thousands of British travellers make the mistake of going abroad with inadequate insurance. If you fail to take out a comprehensive travel insurance policy and know what you are and are not covered for, you may well end up looking back with regret. If you were unfortunate enough to sustain a serious injury from a non-extreme activity – such a leisurely bike-ride – and had to seek medical treatment abroad, you could face large bills.
The very nature of adventure holidays, activities and sports means there will always be a potential danger so it is important to be fully prepared for your trip, even if you do not consider your holiday pursuits as particularly ‘extreme’. Think ahead…what sports might you be taking part in? Are you fit enough for them? What will the landscape be like? What equipment or clothing will you need?
Do your research and check travel information and advice. If you need specialist equipment, check the airline policies for taking such equipment. Inform instructors about pre-existing medical conditions. Be aware of varying health and safety standards which change from country to country. Make sure you know what might invalidate any potential claim, such as being under the influence of drink or drugs. In essence, just be prepared and plan ahead! We promise it will all be worth it when you return home with fantastic stories and a healthy suntan to make your friends envious rather than a broken limb and an extortionate bill to pay.