Which Activities Are Not Covered By Travel Insurance?

A standard travel insurance policy can go a long way in terms of coverage, but it won't cover everything. That's just one of the realities of this business. To make sure you have the protections you need, sometimes you'll have to go a little bit further and spring for extras.

One aspect of travel insurance where that is especially true is for activities. Though many people sign up for a policy believing that it will take care of their medical needs no matter what happens, that won't be the case when the injury has been caused as a result of “extreme” activities not covered under the policy..

Needless to say, finding this out after the fact is a tremendous letdown. The last thing anybody wants is to be lying in a foreign hospital bed, on the phone with their insurer, and come to the jarring realization that it was a prohibited activity that got them there.

The only way to make sure that doesn't happen is to go into your trip fully informed about what's allowed and what's not. Ask your insurer questions and read the fine print on your policy. The list below is a preview of what you can expect to find in there.

Reckless Drinking and Drug Use

Even if it may feel draconian and outdated, insurers will often invalidate claims that involve the traveler being in a state of serious intoxication caused by by drugs or alcohol. From their perspective, it is simply too risky to be left on the hook for whatever damage may occur when a client isn't in a totally stable mental state.

Which isn't to say that you can't indulge in an adult beverage or legal drug at all while you're away. Just be aware that, much as the case is with driving, there are limits to how much you can take in while still maintaining eligibility of coverage. Find out what those are before leaving home, so that you know you are covered.

Illegal Behaviour

This should probably go without saying, but if you commit an illegal act while abroad and it leads to you having to make some sort of claim, your chances of getting it approved are pretty much non-existent. Besides the fact that doing so is inadvisable in just about every way you can imagine, it also increases the likelihood of you needing to make that claim . If you ever get the impulse to do something illegal in a foreign country, just do yourself a favour and nip it in the bud right away.

Extreme Sports and Expeditions

Extreme adventure is what draws a lot of people to travel in the first place. They want to go trekking through the Himalayas, voyaging down the Amazon River, scuba diving in Fiji, etc. All of those things are great; there's just a high likelihood that they—and many of the other extreme pastimes that exist—will require either an add-on to a travel insurance policy or a separate sort of adventure policy altogether. So before you book those outdoor rock climbing excursions and sky diving sessions as part of your vacation, check to see how they will fit in with your insurance policy.

Motor Vehicle Operation

Renting or using a car abroad is fine to do, so long as you take care of the insurance side of things—which is separate from your ordinary policy. As we've discussed before, foreign drivers have several methods of making sure that they are covered, which includes adding onto an existing policy, using a credit card offer, getting an upgraded travel plan, and buying directly from a rental agency.

Another common motor vehicle activity that people enjoy taking part in when they travel is to use motorcycles and scooters. These often fall under the "extreme sports" designation that was examined above, but if the bike's engine has a low enough capacity, it's possible that travelers can get away with riding without extra insurance. As always, make sure to read the fine print!