Is adventure something you seek in life? If you answered yes, then you probably find yourself seeking out adventure-filled activities to quench that burning desire. When it comes to adventure, trekking or hiking is one of the most sought after activities. This is a daring adventure that consists of exploring unknown grounds and overcoming rough terrains (oftentimes, dangerous ones) to be rewarded with great views, wildlife encounters, and the satisfaction of fulfilling that adventure you seek. When it comes to hiking, the reason becomes pointless and all you focus on is the reward and the experience. The most rewarding aspect of it is the climb, and the view from the summit is only a bonus, so to speak!
But while this is a very common active pursuit, especially those who consider themselves outdoor lovers, it does not change the fact that there are lots of inherent dangers with hiking. Trekkers insurance, which is a specific type of insurance that is catered towards avid hikers, is your protection when you crave that special taste for adventure. As thrilling and rewarding as this experience might be, it is also laden with dangers and risks. From the dangers of the high altitude to the steep terrains and the dangerous wildlife, all of these can contribute to the possible dangers that lurk around when you embark on that hiking adventure.
It, therefore, goes without saying that to secure a hiking and trekking travel insurance is a must before you start off your adventure. Only then can you truly enjoy the experience knowing that you are covered and protected at all times.
Guide to Choosing Hiking and Trekking Insurance
Insurance companies evaluate a number of factors to determine the quote for your insurance. When you choose a hiking or trekking insurance, there are a few factors that you need to consider, such as the following:
1. High Altitude
When trekking in mountainous regions, you will often find yourself conquering high altitudes. The different terrains will offer different altitudes and types of terrains, along with varying difficulty levels. Most travel insurance companies will cover insurance for up to 3,000 meters above sea level only. However, there might be a few travel insurance companies who will offer more coverage, so make sure you compare thoroughly.
The main reason why insurance companies limit the altitude at which they can cover insurance is due to the risk of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). This is a severe case of pulmonary and cerebral edema, which happens to the body when you scale up altitudes over 2,800 meters. When you are affected by AMS, the medical and evacuation costs involved are going to be more expensive. The risk is so prevalent and the associated medical costs are too high that insurance packages do not cover it.
When shopping around for insurance, make sure to check out the limits on the altitude. If you are scaling major summits such as the Himalayas, Andes, or Kilimanjaro, it is important to check if the insurance provider can cover those altitudes.
2. Hiking Accidents
Accidents are very common during any hiking or trekking adventure. Thus, it is only practical to anticipate and prepare for it to minimize the medical and emergency costs. Scaling mountains and rough terrains at high altitudes are very dangerous. From accidental falls, rock slides, and many other health complications can arise due to the challenges of the high altitude. If you have pre-existing medical condition, it is important to know the possible complications that could arise when hiking in high altitudes.
It pays to know the challenges in the terrain beforehand so you can prepare for it. Most insurance policies can cover hiking accidents from minor cases such as ankle sprains or wounds, or major cases such as high altitude sickness or injuries that would require evacuation and/or hospitalization.
3. Off-Hiking Accidents
Travel insurance for hiking and trekking can also cover accidents that occur outside of the terrain. Illnesses are very common among hikers, particularly in certain areas of the world wherein the quality of water or hygiene standards is not so great. Make sure you take this factor into consideration by knowing beforehand about the country you are going to visit.
4. Stolen or Damaged Personal Items
Lost baggage is a common occurrence during travel, not just for hiking. Thus, it is important to book your travel insurance for protection against your personal items (from being stolen or damaged during your trip).
When it comes to your hiking and trekking equipment, these are not inexpensive equipment and you spend a lot of money investing on the good ones, too. It only makes sense to protect your investment in the event of theft or damage. This is true when you are carrying expensive hiking gear and special equipment such as cameras or shoes. Most insurance companies will raise your insurance coverage premium in order to raise your coverage, too. This is a small cost in comparison to the savings that you may end up making.
5. General Insurance Coverage
While it is important to get insurance coverage for special cases such as accidents or lost hiking gear/equipment, you need to protect yourself from general travel hassles or interruptions, too. If your hiking tour got cancelled for unexplained reasons or your flight got delayed, general travel insurance will be your best protection against that. Most travel insurance packages now include protection from flight delays or cancellations, but make it a habit to read the fine print so you know what’s covered (and what’s not).
6. Limitations and Specifications
Not all travel insurance policies are the same. This is most evident when it comes to buying hiking insurance, especially for the whole family. Aside from the specifications on the altitude limits and the types of gear or equipment that are covered, some insurance providers will require you to disclose your hiking travel plans. This will enable them to assess the risk of your hiking trip and for them to assess the level of protection you need.
It is also important to note that many insurance companies will require you to book your hiking trip via licensed tour operators only. Make it a habit to check if a tour operator you are trying to book is licensed and certified.
Sapa, Vietnam is one of the most incredible hiking places to hike in Asia
Insurance Coverage for the Whole Family
Do you like to go hiking as a family? Even if your hiking adventures are not as extreme as other trekking enthusiasts might be, it is still important to secure travel insurance, particularly when going on this adventure with your whole family.
Without travel insurance, you put your family at risk and make them feel vulnerable. The coverage for children might be free if you purchase a family policy, but it varies from one insurance provider to another. Make sure you look into the specific details of the insurance policy, though, to guarantee that there is enough protection for your kids. If there is not, it might be a good idea to purchase individual policies for every single member of the family who will join you in the hiking adventure (and yes, that will include the kids!).
Hiking is a great bonding experience for the whole family, especially ones who consider themselves outdoor lovers or on the pursuit of active holidays. By buying insurance for every member of the family, you can enjoy your hiking adventure free of worries about the unexpected dangers that await you as you explore various hiking trails.
Insurance Coverage in Asia
Asia is emerging as one of the top destinations for hiking enthusiasts. But apart from being the home of the world’s highest summit – Mt. Everest – there are many other hiking trails to explore, particularly for those who want a leisurely hike. Taking your family on a hiking trip in Asia is an activity that is growing in popularity, with many of them heading to Southeast Asia for easy hikes with great views and a diverse wildlife.
When you buy insurance coverage for your hiking trip in Asia, it is important to specify your hiking destination. There are different risks with every destination, such as the dangerous wildlife in Thailand and Indonesia, or the risk of acquiring gastrointestinal diseases (from drinking water on tap) in Vietnam, etc. There is an imminent danger with each of these destinations and the more you know beforehand, the better able you can find an insurance coverage that will give the protection you need.
Comparing Insurance Cost
To get the most bang for your buck, it pays to do your research and a thorough comparison of various hiking insurance packages. It can cost you time and effort but it will be worthwhile if you are protected and you can get the best value out of your chosen insurance package.
First and foremost, choose your insurance based on the company. There are many insurance providers out there but it would be to your best interest to choose an insurance from trusted providers. Why, you might ask? Because this is how you can ensure that you will get the benefits from the money you invested on that insurance. There is no point in getting a cheap insurance and then find out later on that you have no means of getting the insurance claim when you need it. Choose only trusted insurance providers to guarantee that they will be professional and honest in doing business with you.
The next thing to consider when comparing insurance costs is to look at the specific coverage for each insurance package. If you can find insurance providers who would be willing to customize your insurance plans based on your needs (depending on what type of hiking you do and which hiking destinations you normally go for), that would be great so you will only be paying for the protection you need.
Finally, don’t fall into the idea that a more comprehensive and more expensive policy is better. Again, refer to the tip above – you need to know exactly what type of protection and coverage you need. A comprehensive policy isn’t always better because you might not need all of the inclusions so you are paying for services you won’t need or use. On the flip side, cheap travel insurance does not always mean they would suck. There are many travel insurance companies that have focused on offering insurance for a specific niche; in this case, for hikers and trekkers. They are able to provide cheaper insurance policies because the benefits they provide their clients are more specialized. If you are looking at hiking insurance specifically, rather than comprehensive travel insurance, this would seem to be a more beneficial and budget-friendly option.
Take the time to read the fine print of your policies before you purchase. This is how you can get the best value for the cost of your hiking or trekking travel insurance. When all else fails, you can always turn to price comparison sites. There are many of them available to compare different travel insurance quotes so you can determine the best coverage with the best price.