What Travel Insurance Do You Need for Mountain Climbing?

man on green mountain summit1

When it comes to travel, we all have different styles. Some like to use their vacation time to relax, others to tour new places, others to explore the world with their families, or some combination of them all. For some people, traveling is all about adventure–spending time in the great outdoors doing activities like hiking, cycling, and extreme sports.

Most general travel insurance policies do not cover medical expenses associated with mountain climbing (with technical gear) or other extreme sports.

Adventure travel is an exciting way to see the world, but there is definitely a greater potential for risks when you’re doing these kinds of activities, which means that you’ll want to make sure that your travel insurance covers you should anything happen. To give you an idea of what we mean, we’ll use mountain climbing as an example of “extreme sports” that require a different kind of adventure travel insurance.

Though the precise definition may vary from provider to provider, generally mountain climbing, or mountaineering, refers to “the sport, hobby or profession of walking, hiking and climbing up mountains either: 1) utilizing harnesses, ropes, crampons, or ice axes; or 2) ascending 4,500 meters [14,500 feet] or above.” Under most travel insurance policies, any activity that falls under this definition is not covered. This means that if you go mountaineering (or participate in a variety of other “extreme sports”, which we’ll get to later) and end up getting injured, your medical coverage won’t extend to any hospital bills that you incur as a result of those injuries.

man climbing cliff beside beach

The good news is, all you have to do to make sure you are covered if you’re planning on mountain climbing is to opt for Hazardous Sports Coverage, or what we in the biz refer to as a “sports rider” when you’re selecting your travel insurance plan. Here’s what you’ll get when you do:

Medical Expenses

Our fingers are crossed that this doesn’t happen, but if you sustain an injury while mountain climbing, you’ll want to make sure you have medical coverage so you can get the care you need no matter where you are. Most general travel insurance policies do not cover medical expenses associated with mountain climbing (with technical gear) or other extreme sports. With the added sports rider, though, your coverage will extend to mountain climbing (and skydiving and parachuting and scuba diving…you get the picture). This way, if you do happen to get hurt while you’re on your climbing expedition, you can focus on getting medical care and not your finances.

Trip Interruption

If you end up getting hurt while mountain climbing and your injury is minor, you may be able to head to a hospital, get patched up, and head back to the trails. If your injury ends up being a little more serious, though, you may want or have to head home after you get immediate care. If this happens, you don’t want to pay an arm and a leg (on top of what might have already been an expensive trip) just to get home early. With the addition of a sports rider, you’ll be covered for trip interruption if you end up needing to cut the trip short. In most cases, this means that you’ll be reimbursed for many of the prepaid expenses that you won’t use and covered to switch your plane ticket home, among other things.

Evacuation Expenses

If at any point during your adventure, you need to leave the country because of extreme weather or political unrest, you’ll want to make sure you have evacuation coverage. The very last thing you want to be worrying about in an emergency situation is the bill you’ll have to foot to get out of it, right? This one doesn’t exclusively apply to extreme sports, but it’s an important piece of additional coverage to have, especially when you’re going on a trip that will be spent mostly outdoors. No matter how well you plan and how much research you do, the weather can change at any minute and you’ll want to make sure you’re safe if it takes a turn for the worse.

Mountain climbing isn’t the only extreme sport that requires a little extra travel insurance in order to make sure you’re fully covered. Here are some of the other activities that typically fall under the same category:

  • Skydiving
  • Parachuting
  • Hang gliding
  • Bungee jumping
  • Scuba diving
  • Spelunking

So if your itinerary includes (or even might include!) one of these activities, we highly recommend that you add Hazardous Sports Coverage to your travel insurance package. You can get started by checking out this information for Adventure travel and then get a free quote here.