There’s no need to up the ante on your travel insurance to try out these adventurous activities on your next vacation.
It’s common for travelers to encounter more intrepid versions of themselves while they’re on vacation, whether that means we’re trying a new dish or finally scratching that itch for adrenaline. Luckily for the latter, there are actually a few travel insurance companies with basic plans that cover some pretty risky activities. This means you’re off the hook for off-chance accidents and injuries from covered activities, leaving adventure seekers with one less thing to worry about while ticking the riskier items off their bucket list.
However, different companies have different coverage conditions for certain activities, and some home states put blanket restrictions on what can and can’t be covered by a plan in general. Be sure to read—and understand—the fine print before you take the proverbial plunge. (Courage not included.)
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Black Water Rafting
Better described as cave tubing, black water rafting involves hopping on an inner tube and riding the rivers that flow through dark cave systems. Rides can be lazy and slow, include roaring rapids, or max out adventure with repelling or being whisked over waterfalls. World Nomads explicitly lists black water rafting as a covered activity under their Standard Plan (though you’ll have to stick to rapid levels 1-5), while coverage details are a bit murkier with other companies, like AIG Travel Guard and Allianz Travel, who don’t explicitly list the activity in their exclusions.
Aerial safaris are an exhilarating way to gain a new perspective over sweeping landscapes and roaming wildlife. These airborne adventures swap out traditional land-roving safari vehicles for high-flying fun in hot air balloons, helicopters, or microlight flyers. Grabbing a bird’s-eye-view of the Grand Canyon at sunset or floating over the African bush are two top aerial safari experiences. Luckily, if something happens to go wrong during a flight, the World Nomads standard plan will cover it.
Jumping from such great heights may require courage, but the riskiest part of bungee jumping is actually the snapback of the cord. The velocity can cause eye hemorrhages, herniated disks, and compression fractures in your spine. The cord can also wrap around a jumper’s neck, but most fatalities from this popular adventure activity are a result of an unfortunate miscalculation in cord length. Companies that cover bungee jumping in their standard plans have fine print, so make sure to read the terms and conditions before you take the leap.
Zip lining allows us land-roamers to soar through the treetops, glide over gorges, and zoom between buildings. While line heights and lengths vary, safety precautions usually include heavy-duty harnesses and clips that secure riders to both the lead and the line. Many plans, like AIG Travel Guard, decline to state whether zip lining is covered, but it’s worth pointing out that this fearless activity is not explicitly listed in the fine print of excluded activities either. If you want to be sure, both World Nomads and Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection include zip lining under covered activities in their basic plans.
Related: World’s Most Amazing Zip Lines
Those looking to add adventure to their fishing game may want to consider ice fishing. Ice anglers trek out onto frozen lakes, cut holes in the ice, and then post up for hours (or even days) waiting for fish to take the bait. Risks are high, especially for folks fishing on just a few thin inches of ice. Some of the dangers include falling through the ice, frostbite, and, believe it or not, burns. Warming huts are often set up with improper heaters, resulting in fires or even carbon monoxide poisoning. Heavy winds can also break off significant sections of ice, marooning fisherman, while fast-moving currents under frozen top layers make for dangerously unstable and inconsistent thickness in the ice. While several insurance companies freeze ice fishing out of their basic coverage, World Nomads and Berkshire Hathaway provide a layer of protection through their basic plans.
Elevation is considered high-altitude at around 8,000 feet (or just over a mile-and-a-half up), though altitude sickness can strike people at several hundred feet lower. High-altitude trekking can be dangerous due to thin air and decreasing oxygen levels, which can cause trouble breathing, muscle weakness, dehydration, and even death. Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection and AIG Travel Guard will cover accidents from treks at heights that don’t require specialized equipment, while World Nomads has your back up to a defined 19,685 feet. That’s enough coverage to help you summit Kilimanjaro.
Outward Bound is the ultimate outdoor adventure, whose programs can include a gamut of activities ranging from ropes courses and mountain climbing to camping, sea kayaking, cross country skiing, and more. In a nutshell, they are designed to intentionally extract you out of your comfort zone and drop you into survivalist situations. Why? It builds character, fosters teamwork, and teaches self-reliance. While World Nomads generally lists Outward Bound programs as being covered, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection specifies that only programs without mountain climbing or airborne activities are covered with their basic ExactCare plan.
Cave diving is a serious and skillful adventure activity, blending elements of scuba diving, free diving, and spelunking. Cave divers explore underwater cave systems that are either partially or only accessible through underwater entrances and pathways. Tides, passageway width, and available oxygen are all risk factors that need to be managed during cave dives. Due to the higher risk of this activity, most insurance companies don’t include it in their basic plan packages—except for Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, who claim to cover cave diving in their basic plan.
Get ready to hold your breath as long as you can because Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection and World Nomads both list free diving as a covered activity under their basic plans. Free diving jettisons oxygen tanks used in regular scuba diving (which is usually covered, with restrictions, in most basic plans) and relies on divers to hold their breath as they swim through the underwater world. It goes without saying that drowning is the biggest risk for this activity, which is why free divers are trained to hold their breath and learn to conserve oxygen. World Nomads will cover up to 60 meters in depth, while Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection has no defined depth limit.
Not for the faint of heart, canyon swings thrust thrill seekers into gaping gorges on little more than a rope swing. Slicing through the deep canyons can feel—and look—almost death-defying, so it’s not surprising that this activity isn’t covered by all basic plans. If you’re itching to get into the swing of things, basic coverage from World Nomads and Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection can provide the push, but don’t expect this risky activity to be covered by AIG’s Travel Guard or Allianz Travel basic plans.