Surfing Travel Insurance for Your Next Surf Camp or Boat Trip
While 2020 hasn’t been the year for epic surf trips far from home, 2021 is shining some light in our direction. With surfboard sales at a all-time high and an increase in surf travel expected, we wanted to cover some basics around travel insurance - what’s covered, what’s not and what other options are out there. Whether you're looking at traveling to a South Pacific surf camp, venturing off on a Baja strike mission or spending some extra dough on Mentawais boat trip, travel insurance is never a bad idea.
The Reasons Why You Should Have Travel Insurance
As surfers that have been on too many surf trips around the globe to count, we can tell you, a lot can go wrong and usually does! Because you’re typically heading to lesser developed countries, things don’t always run on time (or run at all), medical facilities are not at the same quality they are at home and the surf is, fingers-crossed pumping every time you paddle out.
Here is a list of what surfing travel insurance covers in order of importance:
- Emergency Medical: Whether you get hurt on a moped or smashed into the reef, your travel insurance will cover you where your at-home health insurance likely won’t. See the caveats below.
- Emergency Evacuation: If you have a serious injury in a remote location, most insurers will provide pick-up to get you somewhere safe that can provide adequate care.
- Trip Cancellations: Because you can’t plan for everything in the era of COVID, this is an important one. If your flight gets cancelled or you or one of your mates gets pandemic level sick, your travel expenses will likely be reimbursed.
- Luggage Protection: Regardless of whether your board gets smashed or your gear gets stolen while en route to your favorite surf destination your travel insurance should help with getting most, if not all of it replaced. See the caveats below.
- Broken Board Coverage: See below.
What Does Travel Insurance NOT Cover While on a Surf Trip?
With most traditional insurance plans, which travel insurance usually falls into, there’s a LOT of fine print, so you’ll want to make sure and read it before purchasing a plan. Even with all the nuances, we still recommend picking up coverage because you know, “it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
- Extreme Surfing: If you’re planning on getting into larger or more precarious surf you may want to read the details in the terms of service of your insurance policy. Many policies restrict coverage in ‘dangerous’ surf and as we all know, they can argue that just about anything is ‘dangerous’.
- Beginner Surfing: Similarly, if the insurer can prove that you are too novice for the conditions or location you are surfing in, they may also choose not to cover you, always after the fact though.
- Drugs and Alcohol: This ones a given but we had to include it. Whether you’re surfing or simply get injured along the way to and from your surf adventure it will likely render your coverage null and void.
- Competitive or Sponsored Surfers: These surfers fall into a higher risk category and insurance companies don’t want you if you are one of them so make sure to check your policy before it’s too late.
- Pre-Existing Health Conditions: As with any insurance company, any expenses derived as a result of a pre-existing condition will likely not be covered.
- Auto Insurance: if you are planning on driving your own car or truck across the border (Baja specifically), the additional insurance is well worth the little bit of extra money. For last second coverage you can stop at the many drive-up auto insurance windows just before crossing the California San Ysidro border or for easy online coverage check out Baja Bound for the most relevant plans, usually based on the number of days spent in Mexico.
- Wear and Tear Damage: This one is important! Many surf travel insurance companies don’t cover wear and tear of your surfboard. And, as we all know, a little extra wear and tear is usually what causes those catastrophic breaks and buckles. Some insurance companies don’t cover in-use damage at all. Make sure to either confirm coverage of your board for wear and tear or to pick up an in-use protection plan when you purchase your new board in the first place.
Why You Should have a Surfboard Protection Plan in Addition to Travel Insurance
If your surfboard is the primary concern, you’ll want to make sure you have a surfboard protection plan. Protection plans ensure coverage for your board during everyday use, which includes wear and tear, whether you are surfing near home or hundreds of miles away. Surfcare wants your board to be protected all-the-time, in all kinds of conditions at all kinds of breaks. That’s why we created Surfcare Protection Plans in the first place, to make sure you’re never left high and dry without your favorite surfboard. If your board is damaged or breaks we’ll fix or replace it so you don’t miss that next swell.
Besides surfboards, Surfcare also covers:
- Paddle boarding (SUP)
- Foil boarding
- Wake surfing
How do Surfcare Surfboard Protection Plans Work?
Surfcare is straight forward - if the board gets dinged - it gets repaired for free - if you break it, it gets replaced with a 25% deductible. Because the coverage is specific to the board you purchased there is no rise in premium, there are no ‘maximum benefits’ and there is no limit on how much you can use the board. So surf it lots and surf it hard! The only thing you’ll need to decide is whether you want to cover your board for breaks only (the Essential) or cover it for dings and breaks (Premium). Surfcare plans are not impacted by the price of the board. Any shapers boards at any price can be covered and fully protected by the Essential and Premium plans. Simply, purchase Surfcare within 30 days of the new board being purchased and you’re all set. Protection plans are currently available in the U.S. only.