Can you get cover for extreme sports abroad?

Fact Checked

If you love doing extreme sports on holiday, make sure you have cover in place before you travel. Here is what sports you can get cover for, and how to find the right policy.

Share this guide
Man skiing down mountain slope

Lots of people plan to do sports on holiday, whether that’s skiing or tobogganing or rock climbing. Whatever your plans, it’s important to have the right travel insurance, as you normally won’t be covered on a standard policy. 

It’s also critical to read the terms and conditions carefully, as often you’re only protected within certain parameters. For instance, with ski cover, your policy may only payout if you’re injured on the piste. Here we explain all the different types of insurance available and how to pick the right option for your needs:

What is extreme sports cover?

Extreme sports cover is financial protection against injury when you take part in sports or activities while you are abroad.

Some extreme sports and activities are automatically covered in a normal single trip or annual travel insurance policy. If any are not, you can usually add them.

Travel insurance providers will typically charge you more for extreme sports cover because you have a higher chance of getting injured and making a claim when doing dangerous activities.

What does it cover?

  • Medical expenses: This covers the cost of your medical treatment if you are injured

  • Repatriation: The cost of your journey home will be covered if it is medically necessary, or if your hospital stay means you miss your flights

  • Personal injury: This pays you a lump sum if you suffer a permanent disability following an accident suffered on your trip

  • Personal liability: This covers you if you accidentally injure someone, or lose or damage somebody else's property

This guide explains what else your policy will cover, and how much you can be covered for.

What activities can you get cover for?

This depends on the travel insurance policy you choose. Most cover some activities as standard, while other sports will have to be added as a paid extra. Consider the activities you’re planning and make sure you buy the right level of protection.

Sports that need extra cover

Some activities, sometimes called extreme or adventure sports, carry a higher risk of accident or injury, so you will need to pay extra if you plan to try them on holiday. Typical sports you need to pay more to insure include:

  • Quad biking

  • Rock climbing

  • Scuba diving

  • White water rafting

  • Zorbing

If you are planning a skiing holiday, you will need to look at adding winter sports cover to your policy.

Winter sports cover

Most travel insurers will give you the option of adding a specific winter sports cover package to your policy when you apply.

This will usually cover:

  • Winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, sledging, snowblading and snowmobiling. Activities such as ice hockey and ski jumping are often excluded from winter sports cover

  • Winter sports equipment is usually covered for accidental loss, damage or theft, and can include the cost of hiring replacement equipment during your trip. Check your policy for exclusions – for instance, you may not be covered if you do not report the theft within 24 hours

  • Piste closure cover protects you if you are unable to ski for a continuous period of more than 12 hours due to lack of snow or bad weather. It can also cover transport costs if you have to travel to another resort in order to ski due to piste closures where you’re staying

You can also get cover for your ski pass should you be unable to use it due to illness or injury sustained on your trip, plus avalanche cover for if your trip is disrupted by an avalanche.

Check the exclusions and cover amounts carefully. Some will set an increased medical excess for certain activities, or only cover you if you are accompanied by an instructor.

Activities covered as standard

These tend to be less risky activities like:

  • Leisure cycling

  • Hillwalking (below a certain altitude)

  • Snorkelling

Some insurers exclude personal accident and liability cover for more dangerous activities, including:

  • Abseiling

  • Go-karting

  • Kite surfing

For these activities, you would still have medical expenses cover if you had an accident, but you would not be able to claim for personal injury or liability.

Some policies may place restrictions on the activities you take part in. For example, you may only be covered for abseiling if you are accompanied by a certified instructor.

Every travel insurance policy is different. Always check what activities are covered and if there are any restrictions in place.

How to get the right extreme and winter  sports cover for your trip

You should compare travel insurance to find the most affordable policies that cover the sports you need. To do this:

  • Check each policy to make sure all the sports you want to try are covered

  • If the activities are not included, call the insurer and ask if they can be added individually

  • Alternatively, you could add an extreme or adventure sports package to the policy when you get a quote

  • Compare each policy to find the one that offers the best cover at the best price

You should also make sure the policy you choose has high enough limits to cover things like medical expenses, cancellation and baggage. You can find out what is covered under a travel insurance policy here.

You should compare travel insurance to find the most affordable policies that will cover the sports you need with the right limits and exclusions.

Plan carefully if you get annual cover

Your annual policy will cover any trip you take during the policy term, so make sure you plan ahead and include any activities you might want to try.

If you do not know what sports you will want to do before you take out the policy you can update it at a later date, but this could increase the cost.

This guide explains how to keep your travel insurance up to date.

Compare travel insurance

For all your travel essentials in one place, visit our Travel Hub.

If you have a pre-existing condition, you can still get a quote through These conditions could include cancer, stroke, serious heart, respiratory and terminal conditions.
Some insurers might not cover you if you already have a serious medical condition, or if you have a number of conditions. Others might only offer insurance at a much higher price. If you're unable to find suitable cover, the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has also set up a directory of insurers willing to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions.
You can contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) or you can telephone 0800 138 7777.

Make sure you get the best possible cover when you go away by comparing travel insurance deals. You can find the cover you need at the right price whatever your travel plans.

About Matt Fernell

View Matt Fernell's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.