Best travel insurance for surfers
Sometimes, despite the best of intentions and meticulous planning, things still go wrong when travelling. Sometimes it’s just a quick stomach bug, a missed flight, or missing luggage. Other times it can be a lot worse.
When it comes to travel, surfers need to prepare for the worst possible outcome. Granted, so many surf trips are nothing but perfect waves and good friends, but there are risks involved with surfing in a foreign country.
The most obvious ones are:
- Fin cuts
- Reef cuts
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Eye injuries
- Diseases like:
- Food poisoning
- Various of foreign bugs bites and viruses
- We are also in sea creatures’ territory, which presents a different kind of risk
- Some of the best surf destinations can be found in the earthquake-prone ‘Ring of Fire’ like Chile, Mexico, Indonesia, Philippines, Peru, and Papa New Guinea. So nature can be another risk factor you need to consider
We also tend to go quite hard as travelling surfers and in unknown surroundings and unpredictable circumstances, it’s important to have the right safety measures in place.
Having the right safety measures in place is crucial when things go wrong, but it will also help you to relax and surf more freely, knowing your safety is taken care of.
The most important part of your safety measures while going on a surf trip is to get good surf travel insurance, with the right coverage.
Next up comes things as, knowing where the nearest emergency department is, studying the surf breaks before paddling out, having a medical aid kit with you, etc. The better you prepare, the more likely you are to have a smooth surf trip.
Disclaimer: We are not insurance experts. This article is based on our personal experiences and research as travelling surfers, looking for the right insurance coverage.
Every person’s situation is different – only you can make sure, that you get the right coverage for your needs and circumstances. However, this article will give a good overview of the best options available.
What to look for in a surf travel insurance
If things do go bad, you’re going to need very specific travel insurance. Not having the correct cover can have very fatal consequences. Therefore you need to read all documentation and ask as many questions as needed, to understand what coverage you are getting.
Suppose you are injured, and a very serious medical decision has to be made. In that case, that decision will be based on your insurance cover. If you’re the only person who knows your insurance policy, you need to be able to rattle it off to the person who is trying to help, so take control.
No one can tell you what exact insurance, will be the best for you, because it all depends on things like your home country, your travel destination, the spots you are going to surf at, etc.
Most important surf insurance criteria's
- Medical expenses and cover: If you get hurt, injured, or fall ill during the surf trip.
- Medical Evacuation: The most essential insurance cover you need to have as a surfer. We can’t stress enough, how important this part is, if you are surfing in remote areas, with no big hospital nearby. This is not included in all travel insurances and often needs to be added as an add-on.
- Personal Liability: To cover accidents or damage caused by you. Many things can happen during a surf trip, you might end up in a car accident or drop in on someone during a surf session, resulting in someone else getting hurt.
The most essential insurance cover you need to have as part of a surf travel insurance package is that of a Medical Evacuation. When the helicopters take you to a specific medical facility that can deal with whatever is needed.
Often the smaller hospitals can’t deal with massive trauma and particular injuries. An injury in the Mnetawais will mean that you need to get to Padang. If Padang can’t deal with it, then you will need to get to Singapore. This is what the Medical Evacuation procedure is all about. You would think that all travel insurance for surfers would have such cover, but not all of it does. Even if it does, there are usually several fine points that need to be examined and scrutinized to ensure you have what you need.
An example is a surfer injured at Grajagan (G-land) in Java who had the full insurance bouquet. Still, the medivac component had some exclusion. When the Helicopters were contacted in Bali, they had booked out expensive clients sightseeing over the Bukit. They were not obliged to deal with the injured surfer as his Medevac clause didn’t provide the necessary cover.
Another example is a surfer who went to Mauritius and didn’t bother with medical insurance because who needs medical insurance in a benign destination like Mauritius? A bite to eat at a food truck in the car park by One Eyes surf spot in Le Morne resulted in chronic food poisoning. He was hospitalized, and the bill was more than his 5-star luxury resort bill for him and his wife.
You need to be super-aware of your insurance covers, and you need to look out for the ‘extreme sports’ exclusions. Even when ‘extreme sports’ (Surfing) is included, there might be exceptions where your surf travel insurance will not have the right coverage. Some insurance companies don’t offer coverage to professional athletes and people traveling for competition. Other insurance makes it clear in their fine print that sports such as surfing needs to be performed under supervision or at a beach with observation and official guidelines.
Travel insurance for surfers isn’t going to be worth much, if surfing is classified as an extreme sport and is not covered, or if the activity needs to be performed under some very strict rules.
The additional rule of thumb when it comes to surfing travel insurance is to get maximum coverage. If you’re going to get insurance, which you obviously should, you might as well get the best available.
Additional Insurance criteria’s
Surf travel insurance is not only about medical expenses, though. There are many other relevant avenues of insurance.
- Trip cancellation: It might not be our fault, but a loved one or a travel partner might get sick or injured, bringing your trip to a grinding halt. This sort of cover is available.
- Baggage protection: Have your luggage stolen while in Bali or the Philippines or Hawaii, and surf travel insurance has got you covered. This is over and above your medical insurance and the medivac insurance mentioned earlier.
- Surfboard cover: This might be included in your pre-existing household insurance, but it might not. It is easy enough to add on some insurance for your boards, for breakage during your flights, and sometimes even for breakage while using them.
- Theft: This might include the theft of passports, money, or valuables.
Share with a friend
Best brands to pick from
This is our favourite options to choose from.
A popular travel insurance company, World Nomads have many travel insurance options. World Nomads is one of the leading insurance providers for backpackers and deal with surfers and other board riding disciplines regularly and talk the surf language.
They have made a specific landing page for surf travel, to make the process easier for you. Furthermore, it’s easy to make a claim online as well as extend your policy while traveling.
Besides regular surfing, their coverage includes the sports of Stand Up Paddleboarding, Windsurfing, and Kitesurfing, amongst others.
- Protection of gear in case of loss, theft or damage
- Emergency Medical
- Medical Evacuation
- Trip protection in case of cancellation, Interruption or delays.
- 24-Hour Assistance Service
What’s not covered:
- This insurance does not cover angles like big-wave surfing if you’re a beginner, as well as competition surfing
- Expenses related to any pre-existing medical conditions
- Expenses that can be recovered from another source, such as your life insurance, home insurance for belongings, etc.
- Search and rescue costs
- Competition surfing
- Damage related to the wear and tear of your surf equipment
- And obviously you will not be covered, if you are surfing under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or both.
(For Australian and American residents)
It is the most popular Australian surf travel insurance company. Also, it speaks the language of the surfer on their website and in the documentation.
With their surf-friendly website and unique expert knowledge, they are the right fit, when it comes to understanding the insurance needs of surfers.
Medevac Evacuation plans
Remote destination cover
Moped and motorbike cover
- Credit for unused travel insurance
What’s not covered:
It is a bit of a challenge to see precisely what their exclusions are and what they don’t cover, so this will need to be examined on the actual quote.
Another well–known and popular brand, Seven Corners is also a reputable brand for travel insurance for surfers. While not as expressly surfer-friendly, their coverage is extensive and meticulous.
- Cancellation cover
- Baggage loss
- Medical cover
- Medical evacuation
What’s not covered:
Seven Corners Insurance does have certain destination restrictions, but not really for surf destinations.
Limitations and restrictions regarding surfing, needs to be examined in the actual quote.
This is a great and seemingly understanding surf travel insurance company with a few additions pleasing to the surfer’s ear. The fact that you can choose your extreme sports level and purchase the entire adventure travel plan online is a great start.
They cover all sports like ‘bungee jumping, surfing, scuba diving, skiing, zip-lining, and any other activities on the bucket list. They even cover the most extreme sports, like skydiving and black water rafting, but it needs to be included in your custom offer.
One of G1G Insurance’s advantages is that you can talk to a consultant to make sure that the package you are on has everything needed for the adventure you are planning.
- All types of extreme sport
- Individual cover as well as for the entire family
- Medical cover
- Emergency medical evacuation
What’s not covered:
- Trip protection is not included (needs to be purchased as an extension)
- You get a customized offer for the extreme sport of choice (surfing). Other kinds of extreme sports may not be covered if you haven’t included them
- The insurance packages are pretty specific, however. If you buy the snowboarding package, you are not necessarily covered for surfing. Check the list for the riskiest activity level of the two, and that will see you covered for both.
This travel insurance company has several options that will appeal to the travelling surfer. Their leading offers are for Nomad Insurance and Remote Health Insurance. The biggest advantage of Safety Wing is the flexibility they offer for longer trips and the easy online process.
- Medical cover
- Personal liability
- Travel delay or trip interruption
Lost baggage (flight)
- Political evacuation
Emergency medical evacuation
What’s not covered:
The things that don’t cover are very interesting. You’re good as long as you’re not into sky surfing, snowboarding, or kite surfing,
Safety Wing Travel Insurance has a very long list of what is covered and what is not, and it is one of those situations where you need to check the specific terms in the quote you get.
For instance they will not cover any surfing activities$ related to competition. You are not covered either by the insurance terms if you surf at a beach without any official guidelines or observation.
Insurance providers that stands out
There are so many options for surf travel insurance that it is hard to find which company would offer the best surf travel insurance. The easiest route to choosing the best travel insurance for surfers would be to select the insurance company that seems to best understand the sport of surfing and the actual needs of a surfer.
Surfing is not an extreme sport for most of it, nor is it an endurance sport. There are no required safety equipment essentials that need to be worn. There are no other settings or skill sets that need to be ascertained beforehand. A good travel insurance company would do this research early. To be able to offer surfing travel insurance to surfers, a lucrative market.
Best option for surfing
Two companies stand out because they really seem to know what surfers need and thereby be able to provide the best-suited insurance plan.
These two brands are World Nomads and Surf Travel Insurance (AU & US). Both have a very clear and concise understanding of a surfer’s needs, as well as the nuances and idiosyncrasies of the travelling surfer, with boards, dangers, and most apparent medical needs covered.
Both of these companies, it seems, have surfers working for them, or they are consulting with surfers to ensure that they get the needs of the surfers spot-on.
Best option for any extreme sport
G1G Travel insurance is among our favorites since they have the least exceptions to their policies and are the only provider who can cover all kinds of extreme sports. However you need to know beforehand what activities you are planning on doing, so you get everything included in your custom offer.
We find the G1G Travel insurance most suitable for families since they can provide a package deal with coverage for the entire family.
Our favorite thing about G1G is the fact that you can talk to one of their consultants, who are highly qualified and will know what you need for your personal circumstances.
Best option for flexibility
If you are going on a longer trip, then we would recommend Safety Wing, due to their unique and flexible payment scheme, which can easily be extended or cut short.
We also think they provide the best usability experience in terms of their website and online services.
They are also the only provider on the list with specific health insurance. Health insurance is different from travel insurance and is necessary if you are going to live abroad for a longer period. It could be on a college semester abroad or during an internship.
Make it a top priority
It pays to be indulgent and careful when it comes to surf travel insurance. Don’t skimp. The day that you scrimp on surf travel insurance will be the day that you need it!
While surf travel insurances can be a bit of a jungle to navigate, we hope this article gave you some clarity and knowledge about some of the best providers on the market when it comes to surf travel.
Once you have decided on an insurance provider from the list, the next step is to get a quote from them and go through all the specifics, to make sure the terms and conditions suit your personal needs and circumstances.
Once you have your surf travel insurance in place, all there is left is to relax and enjoy your vacation.