A Guide to Extreme Sports Insurance for Canadian Travellers

February 25, 2021

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We might not be able to travel right now, but that doesn’t stop us from daydreaming about it and making plans for the future, when it’s safe. We also want to help you turn your lockdown travel daydreams into proper, well-researched plans— so that when the time comes, you’re prepared.

Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know about extreme sports travel insurance so that while you’re stuck at home planning, dreaming up, and researching future adventures to keep your current self safe, you don’t forget to think about safety and protection for your future self, too.

What’s considered an extreme sport?

An extreme sport is any sport that involves a certain amount of inherent risk, or a particularly high rate of injury. They usually involve speed, specialized equipment, stunts, or physical contact. (And, as long as they’re done safely, they’re really fun!)

Extreme Summer Sports

Extreme summer sports are played when the weather is warmer, the days are longer, and all you need to wear is a t-shirt, shorts, and the proper protective gear.

These sports include but are not limited to:

  • Bull riding/fighting
  • Waterfall kayaking
  • Wingsuit flying
  • Rodeo
  • BASE jumping
  • Hanging gliding
  • Bungee jumping
  • Zip-lining

Extreme Winter Sports

Winter sports typically rely on snow, ice, and those bitter-cold, negative temperatures that true Canadians fully embrace!

They can include but are not limited to:

  • High-risk snowmobiling
  • Snow kiting
  • Ice yachting
  • Snow kayaking
  • Scuba diving
  • SnoCross
  • Shovel racing

Extreme Sports and Travel Insurance

Once lockdowns end and it’s safe to travel again, we’re all for spreading the Canadian spirit! Just make sure you’re covered before you do. If, in the future, you plan to travel to another province or country to participate in an extreme sport, we highly recommend that you purchase Extreme Sport Insurance the right coverage to protect yourself.

How does standard Travel Insurance work?

In most scenarios, Travel Insurance reimburses you for any covered financial losses after you file a claim and the claim is approved. In other words, if you get hurt, you pay for any medical expenses, file a claim, then your insurer pays you back (as long as that claim is allowed!).

Note: To file a claim, you’ll need to submit proof of your loss, so be sure you keep all necessary paperwork and evidence related to your accident.

What’s different for extreme sports-related travel?

If your sport or activity is not listed as an option in your standard Sports & Activities Coverage and it’s not listed as an exclusion, then you’re likely already covered under the Emergency Medical Insurance plan.

If it is listed as an exclusion, then it’s considered an extreme sport and you should purchase the Optional Coverage to go along with your emergency medical plan.

Is credit card insurance enough?

It depends on your credit card provider, as every company is different. Contact your provider to check what sport activities are covered and what’s the limit of coverage that’s included.

Are adventure sports covered under Travel Insurance?

Yes, adventure sports are covered under Travel Insurance— but only when Optional Coverage is added-on with an emergency medical plan.

What happens if you’re injured and you don’t have coverage?

If you’re injured out-of-province and you don’t have coverage, you would then have to pay your fees out of your pocket. This means you could be paying for anything from hospitalization to medication to ambulance rides, to treatment fees. This can get very expensive, very fast.

Nothing ruins the fun faster than getting injured and having to pay out of pocket for an expensive hospital bill!

What does Extreme Sports Insurance cover?

Most insurance companies offer enhanced Sport and Activities Coverages as an optional travel insurance add-on.

With this specialized coverage in place, you can rest easy knowing that your insurance company will pay any reasonable and customary charges for medical-related expenses (up to the maximum coverage limit). This can include a critical, sudden, or unexpected emergency medical condition or injury that happens while you are participating in, or training or practicing for, the sport or activity you’re covered for.

Extreme Sport Insurance Considerations

It’s important to remember there may be specific clauses that apply in order for your coverage to be valid.  Some details that could affect your coverage include:

  • Possessing recognized certifications (For scuba diving, a dive certificate is required)
  • An activity’s level of difficulty (For rock climbing, only Class 1–3 climbs in Yosemite Decimal System could be covered)
  • Practicing a sport on marked trails (Skiing and mountain biking coverage only applies if you stay on marked trails)

Travel Sport Insurance for Coaches and Teachers

If you’re coaching or teaching any extreme sports or activities but aren’t actually participating in them, you don’t need to purchase the Sports & Activities Coverage. Your standard travel insurance will be sufficient.

Insurance Options for Specific Extreme and Adventure Sports

Every insurer will have its own list of extreme sports, so it’s important for you to do your research and ask questions when you’re shopping around for insurance. One company could cover your favorite sport, while another might exclude it.

That said, here are some examples of extreme sports that tend to be covered by different insurance companies and policies:

Adventure Sports Insurance

Get coverage up to the policy limit for the following sports:

  • Backcountry skiing/snowboarding
  • Boxing
  • Downhill freestyle skiing/snowboarding in organized competitions
  • Ice climbing
  • Mixed martial arts
  • Mountaineering
  • Rock climbing
  • Downhill mountain biking

Extreme Sports

Get coverage up to $500,000 for the following sports:

  • BASE jumping
  • Hang gliding/paragliding
  • High-risk snowmobiling
  • Motorized speed contests
  • Parachuting/skydiving/tandem skydiving
  • Scuba diving or freediving over 40 metres
  • White water sports – Class VI
  • Wingsuit flying

Have fun and stay safe!

Extreme sports give you a huge adrenaline rush that keeps you coming back again and again. When it’s safe to get back out there again, keep the good times rolling and put your safety first by making sure you have the right insurance coverage in place before you get out and play.