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Surf Travel Insurance – Get It, Period.

Labyrinth Surfing Costa Rica

Surf travel insurance – Should I get it?

If you are like me, you’ve taken plenty of surf and snowboard trips without getting surf travel insurance.  It wasn’t until recently when I began traveling to places like New Zealand and Costa Rica with my kids that I even really considered it.

I’ve been lucky that I never needed travel insurance on any of these trips, but there were certainly plenty of times that it was close, that first inexperienced near disaster on a boat trip to Witch’s Rock, that low-tide session at Little Hawaii in Avellanas, that ledge-traverse on a snowboarding trip to the middle of Chile, that backcountry snowmobiling misadventure in Jackson Hole, and a million other times that you are blissfully ignorant of the fine line between you and a trip to a third-world hospital that happens to be hours away.

And that’s just the case for serious situations, potential medical emergencies that may require expensive evacuations and hospital visits. 

What about the fact that as soon as you get your board bag at baggage claim the first thing you do is make sure you don’t have a bunch of broken surfboards as a result of the trip? 

Surf travel insurance may not help you get new boards in the middle of nowhere, but it will ease the pain of the thousands of dollars you spent on these brand new broken sticks when you get home.

It’s interesting that we can be lining up thousands of dollars in airplane tickets and gear but hesitate to add the insurance which generally costs less than a hundred bucks to protect ourselves in case something bad happens. 

I think this speaks to our optimism, but also just recklessness, when planning these missions – we tend to minimize the potential risks in our minds.

The Case For Surf Travel Insurance

A couple of years ago I stumbled across this video put out by surfer and researcher Cliff Kapono through Surfer Magazine about the ordeal he went through on a surf trip to a remote island in the Western Pacific. 

Fortunately, when he took his fall, Cliff had insurance coverage from a previous Indo trip that lasted for a year instead of just for the trip, a fortunate and very lucky coincidence.

Cliff took this opportunity to speak to us all about what it took to manage this medical emergency, multiple hospital stays, airlifted medivac, things that would have added up to tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket but were covered by a $65 travel insurance policy he had bought previously (the investment now split between two surf trips).

In collaboration with Surfer Magazine, Cliff made a video about his ordeal, highlighting the steps it took to get him from the ocean to safety and some of the costs that were incurred along the way (like the $20,000 medivac flight).

Watch this video. You’ll never travel without trip insurance again.

Of course, things don’t have to be this critical for them to get serious. 

Stomach bugs, infected sting ray stings (this one happened to me), civil unrest, earthquakes, and now the thought of pandemics and quarantines – there are a million ways for things to go wrong.

Traveling with Kids? Get the Surf Trip Insurance.

So now that I travel with kids, I’m even more in tune with the risks and mitigating them to a reasonable degree without being paralyzed to the point of staying at home on the couch. 

I want to travel and surf, and I want my kids to experience the world and all the amazing things it has to offer through this lens as well. 

But unlike me, they will know that trip insurance is just a necessary part of the cost, one I’ll be happy to pick up for them if it’s the difference between having it and not, because if they turn out to be anything like me, they’re going to go on the trip either way.

Of course, when buying travel and trip insurance the devil is in the details, so understand your plan and what it covers. 

Trip insurance generally is coverage for things like canceled plane tickets and hotels if you can’t go for some reason. 

You often see this associated with the plane ticket purchase.  Now whether this covers things like broken surfboards would be a detail to check out. 

There may be some premium attached to this type of coverage.

Travel medical insurance is leaning more towards medical coverage for when you are outside the country. 

Within the US, your personal insurance, assuming you have some, probably has you covered, but it might not be good outside the country. 

So this is where the additional coverage comes in.  

Some credit cards also have additional coverage attached if you use them to book the trip, it just depends and varies based on the card so it’s impossible to generalize here.

Here are some travel insurance providers that come recommended by many surf travel sites:

Remember, watch the Cliff Kapono video above and take his word for it – a few bucks could go a long way to getting you out of a jam in a remote location if something bad happens.  And don’t forget to roll with a tight crew! 

When you’re laid up in some foreign hospital and can’t remember your name or where you’re from, it’s your well-chosen crew and a bit of positive travel karma that’s going to get you through.

Still Not Convinced?

PS:  If you still aren’t convinced, here’s another surf tale from Keoki Saguibo’s trip to Nias that resulted in some serious injury and medical evacuation.

His emergency airlift alone was $27,000 and the hospital bill is already at $51,000.

Surf travel insurance. Get it. Period.

Written by Roam Chronicles

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