Surfing Travel Insurance vs. a Surfboard Protection Plan
Why Purchasing a Surf Travel Insurance Policy Isn’t Enough to Protect Your Surfboard Throughout the Year
Just as the majority of car accidents are likely to happen closer to home, damage to your surfboard is more likely to happen while surfing at your home break.
The three biggest reasons for car accidents occurring a few miles from home are:
- Overconfident Drivers
- Collisions with Parked Vehicles
- Most drivers spend the majority of their time driving
Not surprisingly, the reasons for surfing related accidents are almost the same:
- Overconfident surfers: Overconfidence doesn’t always equal ‘experienced’. Overconfidence comes in two forms. When you are skilled at surfing and feeling more comfortable with a wave you’ve surfed many times you’re willing to take more chances. It might be paddling out on an irregularly large day, skirting a sketchy reef rock passage, surfing the wave further to the inside when you normally would have kicked out or taking off a little deeper and pulling into that seemingly un-makable barrel all put your board at more risk of damage. On the other end of the spectrum, you may be a newer surfer that can make it out and catch your fair-share of waves but may be naive to your own limits and lacking some surfing etiquette. It may lead to duck-diving incorrectly, taking-off at the wrong spot or colliding with another surfer, putting your board and others’ boards at risk of some serious dings or outright breaks.
- Collisions with other surfers: Collisions are sometimes unavoidable. However, most of the time it’s due to a lack of etiquette or knowledge. The two most regular collision experiences occur when one surfer drops in on the other without having right-of-way or the surfer paddling out doesn’t know to paddle to the inside and take one on the head when a surfer is coming down the line.
- Where you spend most of your time surfing: The probability of an accident increases with more time spent surfing in the same location.
Until now, there hasn’t been a way to protect your boards against damage from everyday use. In the past, if a surfer had protection for their board, it’s likely through a surf travel insurance policy, homeowners or renters insurance policy. All of these are limited in their capacity to protect the board against damage for an extended period, at a reasonable price or at all. Now that there’s an additional option - a general Surfboard Protection Plan, the question remains, “is it worth it?”
It is difficult to make a direct comparison of Surfing Travel Insurance and Surfboard Protection Plans but we go ahead and outline what each plan covers, what each plan doesn’t and what you should be aware of when purchasing coverage for yourself and your board. The bottom line is that we believe covering your board against any type of damage (but we may be biased) while surfing is a must and if you’re going on a surf trip, adding the additional travel insurance to protect yourself, your gear and your plans is a good idea - and not that expensive.
Skip ahead to the section that matters most to you:
- What to Consider When Buying a Surf Travel Insurance Policy.
- What Does Surf Travel Insurance Cover?
- What Does Surf Travel Insurance NOT Cover?
- Best Surf Travel Insurance Options.
- What Does a Surfboard Protection Plan Cover?
- What Does a Surfboard Protection Plan NOT Cover?
What to Consider When Buying a Surf Travel Insurance Policy.
- Read ALL of the fine print
- Make sure the policy covers your surfboard damage and surfing related accidents
- There are lots of caveats, be aware of the ones you are likely to face if filing a claim
- Read the reviews from previous purchasers
What Does Surf Travel Insurance Cover?
What items surf travel insurance usually covers:
- Emergency Medical: See the caveats below.
- Emergency Evacuation
- Accidental Death
- Trip Cancellations
- Luggage Protection
- Broken Board Coverage: Sometimes! See below.
What Do Surf Travel Insurance companies NOT Cover?
With most traditional insurance plans, which travel insurance usually falls into, there’s an enormous amount of fine print, so make sure and read it before committing to a plan. Because the surf destinations you are likely traveling to are usually remote and have lesser infrastructure from the place you are coming from we recommend purchasing coverage for your trip. You’ll never regret purchasing that extra coverage when things don’t go according to plan. Here are some of the areas to pay close attention as they may not be covered by your travel insurance carrier:
- Extreme Surfing: If you’re planning on getting into larger or more precarious surf you’ll 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, ‘dangerous’ is a subjective term.
- Beginner Surfing: Similarly, if the insurer can prove that you’re a novice surfer, they may choose not to cover you if they deem the conditions were too dangerous.
- Drugs and Alcohol: Whether you’re surfing or simply get injured on your holiday, the proof of drugs or alcohol in your system will likely render your policy invalid.
- Competitive or Sponsored Surfers: Professional surfers are never covered whether they're competing in a contest or on a personal surf trip.
- Pre-Existing Health Conditions: As with most insurance companies, any pre-existing condition will likely not be covered.
- Auto Insurance: if you are renting a car, your best option is to add insurance through the car rental company. If you are driving your own car into a foriegn country, we recommend adding supplemental insurance through your existing carrier or a specialty provider.
- Natural Disasters: This one is very dependent on who you book your policy with so read the fine print. It’s hard to predict a natural disaster, but if you’re heading South during hurricane season, be aware there’s a chance you will not be covered if damages arrive as a result of mother nature getting kicked into high gear.
- Wear and Tear Damage: It’s often the case that travel insurance companies don’t cover wear and tear of surfboards. 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 to ensure your surfboard has daily protection.
The Best Known (Surf) Travel Insurance Companies
We are not endorsing any of the below but rather sharing what companies most surfer’s decide to go with when buying travel insurance for their surf trips. Out of this list, only World Nomads markets themselves as the “surf insurance” or “adventure travel insurance” option, the rest are your larger named insurance brands. Regardless of how they are marketed, ensure you read the details to make sure the specifics around your surf vacation are covered under their T & C’s.
Additionally, lots of people piecemeal their travel insurance together with a mix of credit card coverage (Amex is known for having the best) and add on airline insurance offering when purchasing your ticket from sites like Expedia or direct from the airline. If you’re board is a already protected under an annual protection plan
What Does a Surfboard Protection Plan Cover?
A surfboard protection plan is exactly what it sounds like, it’s a plan that covers your surfboard (not you) against damage. The protection plan is specifically tailored to ensure that if your board is dinged or broken, you’ll get it repaired or replaced without any hassle. The plans are simple and fairly priced. Whether you have a:
- Or any other epoxy or PU boards. See our FAQ page for details.
...you’re covered. It doesn’t matter the price or shaper of the board, all plans are priced the same. If you surf regularly, a surfboard protection plan makes the most sense. Surfboard protection plans are not surfboard insurance. Meaning, you get all the protection of an insurance plan without the headaches of determining who was at fault, premium increases, and insurance adjuster assessments. You simply get your board fixed or replaced so you can paddle your way back into the line up.
Surfcare Customer Testimonials After Their Surfboards Were Damaged.
What Does a Surfboard Protection Plan NOT Cover?
Surfboard protection plans NEVER cover anything outside of surfboard damage. Basically, most of what Surf Travel Insurance covers, Surfboard Protection Plans do not. If you are going on a surf trip and want to cover all the things that could go wrong, you should seriously consider picking up some travel insurance coverage.