I recently had a friend and business partner call me to declare: “I am climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro with six of my buddies. Should we buy travel insurance?” Oh boy. My obvious answer was: “Of course.”

No matter how epic (or basic) your adventure travel plans are, Adventure Travel Insurance is a must. It can help protect your health and welfare while minimizing your financial risk. If you’re a bit unsure whether it’s really needed, ask yourself this: “Am I willing to spend thousands of dollars if I or a family member were to be in an accident, get sick, have delayed baggage, be the victim of theft, experience unrest due to political events, deal with a weather issue, or have a family emergency, OR should I invest in an inexpensive policy upfront to cover any of these unexpected events?”

If I still haven’t convinced you the insurance is worth it…let me explain what it covers and how it works.

What does Adventure Travel Insurance cover?

Adventure Travel Insurance offers protection in four main areas:

What are the policy exclusions?

Here’s where I will caution you — read the fine print! Many insurance products will not cover extreme sports or conditions, such as climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro. They will also exclude pre-existing medical conditions. It’s important to consult with your insurance broker about your travel itinerary to ensure you have the right plan and coverage in place for the type of trip you’re taking. 

What about insurance offered with my credit card?

Your credit card company may offer basic travel insurance if you make a purchase with that specific card. The catch is that the coverage offered is usually limited, either by the number of days of travel or the activities you plan to participate in while traveling.

What’s my best advice?

Be realistic about adventure travel. Be proactive about protecting yourself and the people and belongings that are important to you. Most likely you will have a great trip, but you will be happy you have quality insurance protection in place in the event things don’t go as planned. Adventure travel means getting off the beaten path where care and services are limited…so, just be smart.

Remember, when all is said and done, you can’t re-think your risks. So, prepare…and have fun, as adventure awaits!