Limited insurance options for adventure sports

Adventure sports like river rafting, long-distance biking, para-gliding, skiing, etc are becoming popular with Indian tourists. For instance, biking in the mountain ranges is a popular holiday activity for many travellers. Similarly, Hrishikesh is as well known for water sports like river rafting as it is for its temples.

But if you meet with an accident while on an adventure-sport holiday, chances are that your regular travel insurance will not cover your hospitalisation expenses. In fact, if you look at the websites of general insurance companies, sporting activities are part of the exclusions for most of them. But some companies offer it as an add-on cover or as group policies.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance offers cover for any injury that occurs during adventure sports under a professional trainer/assistance. It is covered under medical sum insured limit of the comprehensive travel insurance, says Renuka Kanvinde, Associate Vice-President. “This is the normal cover under all travel policies. However, claim under any professional sport will be excluded,” she says.

The duration for the policy is 180 days and can be extended for further 180 days. It covers the participation of the insured under supervision of a trained professional in winter sports, mountaineering (where ropes or guides are customarily used), caving or pot-holing, hunting or equestrian, sky diving or other underwater activity, rafting or canoeing involving white water rapids, sailing yachts or boating outside coastal waters (two miles).
The premiums depend on the age of the policyholder, geographical coverage, duration of travel and plan opted, Kanvinde adds. For instance, for a travel policy having sum assured of $50,000 to USA and Canada for 180 days, the premium works out to Rs 9,830 for those up to 60 years. While the same policy for any other country excluding USA and Canada, the premium works out to Rs 5,060.  

According to Naveen Kukreja, Group CMO,, “Usually, as a part of the base policy, adventure sports aren’t covered, these are part of add-on covers only. The issue is that all such add-on’s can only be opted in offline policies.” The additional cover for such policies can vary from 20-23% of the base policy premium.

ICICI Lombard General Insurance’s website says that sporting activities are not covered under travel insurance. But Sanjay Datta, Chief Underwriting & Claims, says the company offers it as an add-on cover. “Insurance options for those who take part in adventure sports are limited. We offer it only as an add-on cover. Here, we insist that tour operators or organisers should be recognised and should follow all safety precautions,” he says.

Since policies for adventure sports are customised, it is not feasible for insurance companies to offer it for small ticket individual policies, says Deepak Yohanan, CEO, “Since it is not part of the standard travel policy, the pricing is higher. But it is easier to get such a policy for a group, since premiums can be lower,” he says.

The benefits for such policies are similar to those under a regular travel policy and include medical expenses inclusive of repatriation and emergency medical evacuation, personal accident-death, permanent total disability, permanent partial disability and others.
One reason why insurance companies shy away from offering insurance for adventure sports is because the under-writing is different in case of each sport. For instance, the risk in case of para-gliding is different from say river rafting or biking. This makes it difficult to structure the product.

In some cases, the organiser may offer insurance at the spot. For instance, if you sign up for para-gliding, the organiser may offer you a policy at the spot, which will cover hospitalisation in case of fractures or injuries. These are group policies customised for the particular organiser and buyers don’t have much choice, Yohanan adds.

1 Comment on "Limited insurance options for adventure sports"

  1. I had no idea that these events could be covered under your traveling policy. It might be worth it to check with my travel agent on this. I do a lot of extreme sports and I’ve always taken out extra policies just in case and it made my vacations a little more expensive. I’m all about saving a buck and still having fun! Thanks for this great info!

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