If you're into extreme sports, you're likely to travel far and wide to partake in them. However, while you put your body on the line on the slopes (that's part of the thrill, after all), one thing you shouldn't take a chance on is travel insurance.
"Do I need insurance for extreme sports", the answer is a resounding yes!
When the risk of becoming injured is increased, it puts an even greater emphasis on protecting yourself financially should something go wrong. Injuries, particularly in a foreign country, can be expensive to say the least, and without travel cover, any accident is likely to become much worse.
There are too many news stories on Australians who go abroad and pay tens of thousands of dollars for medical expenses, when a little bit of travel insurance could have gone a long way in limiting or removing that expense all together. And obviously, the higher level of danger you're putting yourself in, the more important it is to have comprehensive travel insurance.
So, to answer the question that many ask themselves: "Do I need insurance for extreme sports", the answer is a resounding yes!
Let's look at the top end of the scale, with perhaps the riskiest sports in the world.
Skiing and snowboarding
It might be up for debate what the most dangerous sport actually is, but we think there's a strong case for skiing and snow boarding. One only has to look at the tragic injury of Michael Schumacher to see how dangerous it is, and how an accident on the slopes can affect anyone, no matter their skill level.
Around a quarter of all skiers might be uninsured.
The two-time World Sportsman of the Year was used to driving Formula One cars in excess of 200 kilometres an hour during his 21-year career, though a skiing accident in December 2013 left him in a medically induced coma for six months.
What makes the risk worse, around a quarter of all skiers and snowboarders might be uninsured, according to the International Travel and Health Insurance Journal. Research shows that 9 per cent of surveyed slope-seeking sportspeople had insurance that didn't include winter-sports travel, 10 per cent simply didn't know if they were covered for winter sports, another 9 per cent had absolutely no insurance cover.
If you're an Australian thrill-seeker looking to hit the piste, you should certainly tell your travel insurance broker and your insurer first so they can find a policy for you.
Which sport is more dangerous?
Even between skiing and snowboarding, there is a greater chance of injury, according to a four-year study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. The research, which was published in The Guardian, shows that snowboarding potentially edges it as the most dangerous sport – certainly for beginners.
Almost half (49 per cent) of injured snowboarders were at the beginner level, which was much higher than the 18 per cent of inexperienced skiers. What's more, what very well might be the world's riskiest sport might be getting more dangerous, figures show.
Almost half (49 per cent) of injured snowboarders were at the beginner level.
Back in 1991, for every 1,000 snowboarders there were 3.37 injuries. Ten years later, this had more than doubled to 6.97.
What might tilt the danger level back into the realm of skiing is the seriousness of injuries. Around 1 in 6 skiing injuries involved damage to the head – the biggest cause of death and disability in sport. Research shows that, although head injuries are still an obvious risk for snowboarders, wrist and ankle damage is far are more common.
It's a close race, and while we may not be able to answer the question conclusively on which is the most dangerous of the two, we can respond to all your travel and health insurance queries. Contact HICA before you go away and see how we can help you save money and provide a comprehensive extreme sport insurance policy.