Once-in-a-lifetime adventures can come with some risks (photo: Robas/iStock)

Adventure Tourism: Insuring Yourself Against Risk

By Craig Moy

Each year, Albertans travel near and far with adventure in mind. The vast majority of us have become quite savvy at planning our escapades: We go online to find the top heli-skiing providers in Banff or longest zipline courses in Costa Rica, or even the most grueling mud races around the world; we book in advance and ensure our confirmations are in order; we check—and double check—any equipment we might need to pack.

There’s one other detail, however, that we should pay special attention to: Making certain we’re insured in case of an accident. While adventure tourism presents us with opportunities to test our limits and create amazing memories, it also comes with a certain amount of physical risk.

“In the event of a serious mishap, standard travel-medical coverage may only go so far,” says Pam Murray, AMA Travel’s, manager of travel medical insurance. Consider what would happen if you’re surfing in Australia and happen to be attacked by a shark. You might expect a your travel-medical policy to cover immediate emergency medical costs, but what if the attack caused you to lose a limb? Recovering from that kind of an injury may require much more than a simple hospital stay. For example, you might need long-term physical therapy or require specialized equipment like a wheelchair. Retrofitting your home for accessibility wouldn’t be out of the question.

ADDED PROTECTION
That’s why travel accident insurance is included in Premium travel insurance packages purchased through AMA Travel. It’s a cost-effective way to make certain that you’re covered for accidents while travelling—since the policy is part of a broader package of coverage, which also includes emergency travel medical insurance, trip-interruption and cancellation insurance, and protection against baggage loss and equipment damage.

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Travel accident insurance pays out a lump sum—up to $100,000—in the event of serious accidental injuries, including the loss of a limb, and loss of hearing, sight or the ability to speak, while you’re a passenger on a scheduled commercial flight, and up to $50,000 for other accident situations—like the aforementioned shark attack, a car accident, etc. There’s also a payout in case of death, but it must result directly from a covered accident, so the policy shouldn’t replace your much more comprehensive life insurance plan.

While many riskier circumstances are covered, note that a few activities are not, including hang gliding, parasailing and riding in a hot air balloon. (This allows AMA to keep policy premiums lower for the majority of travellers, who don’t require insurance for these specialized, high-risk pursuits.) And, of course, remember you’re only insured for the scheduled duration of your trip.

“It’s important to read your travel policy before you sign up for that skydiving adventure!” Murray says. “Some companies will cover you and some won’t. Know before you go.”

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SMART RISK MANAGEMENT
Few people engage in even semi-extreme sports and activities without an awareness of the risks involved. Reputable outfitters and operators (and their insurers) make sure of this, typically by requiring participants to read and sign a waiver that places the responsibility of risk—and the cost of any injuries—squarely on your shoulders.

And so it becomes important to protect yourself. The chances that you’ll be involved in a severe accident may be relatively slim, but when peace of mind is both convenient and affordable as an accident insurance policy from AMA, there’s no excuse not to consider it.

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED
First steps
: Get an easy online quote for Premium travel medical insurance from AMA.

Book with us: AMA Travel can help you book all your flights, hotels and adventures in thousands of locales around the globe. And if anything goes awry with your travel arrangements, our travel counsellors are available to help, 24/7.