Is Your Favourite Water Sport Covered by Travel Insurance?

25 February 2020

Aussies love the water, doubly so when we’re on holiday. But before you pack your flippers, it pays to dive into the detail of what is, and is not covered.

Underwriting a travel insurance policy is a balancing act. One hand, we need to cover travellers for the worst of the worst – which for most people is a serious medical emergency requiring hospitalisation.

We need to be here for you when you have an accident out of the blue, or experience a run of truly unexpected bad luck. The flip side is, we can’t cover you if you’re knowingly putting yourself at risk, and that usually comes down to checking the types of activities that are most dangerous.

When on holiday, a lot of those risky activities tend to revolve around the water. The good news is, we cover way more water sports than we don’t, and, in most cases, we offer cover as an optional extra, which means you pay a little more to be covered for those adventurous items you’re itching to tick off your itinerary. By cover we mean, medical cover, but often times your gear and equipment can be covered too.

Here we’ll look at the water sports that are not covered as standard, the ones where you can get extra cover, and the water sports that are just a straight up nope.

Scuba diving

Diving is one of the water sports that comes with conditions, so listen up. You’re covered to dive with an artificial breathing apparatus IF you hold a valid open water diving licence. You’re also covered if you’re diving with a licensed instructor, like a PADI, ADAS or CMAS instructor -and  even if you don’t have a license. But up to a depth of 30 meters and no  more.

If you’re unlicensed and diving out on your own you and won’t be able to claim for medical bills. But you wouldn’t take that risk anyway, right?

Dive in: What are the Risks of Scuba Diving and Will Travel Insurance Cover You?

Kayaking, canoeing and rafting

As long as you’re being safe and kayaking with a quality, licenced operator you’re covered. Bonus points for wearing a helmet and a life-jacket.

If your kayaking trip is starting to look a little more like white water rafting, we may only be able to cover white water rafting and black water rafting from grades 1 to 3.


Fancy yourself some lazy river action? Few things say ‘holiday’ than tubing down a river. But did you know that there are daredevils amongst us who go tubing in dark underground river systems and caves like Laos’ Tham Nam Water Cave? Or go tubing in rapid and waterfall-laden rivers?

So, this is where the conundrum comes in. Tubing should be pretty harmless, but with the variety of tubing on offer, we can’t be sure exactly what you’re up to.  Take the innocent sounding Ayung River Tubing activity, offered in Bali’s tourism hub of Ubud. On their Tripadvisor page, they make it clear that their tubing is unsafe for visitors with heart problems or other serious medical conditions, and is not recommended for back problems or pregnancy. So in terms of medical benefits, our standard policies do not cover tubing.

Add an Adventure Pack to be covered for Ayung River Tubing in Ubud, Bali – Wandernesia

However, there’s an extra for that! Pay a pinch more of our Adventure Pack, and be covered for tubing – in whichever shape it comes. That means you’re covered if you need to pay for emergency medical assistance, and for emergency hospital care.

Caving, potholing or spelunking

Think you’re a thrill-seeker? If you haven’t lowered yourself into a crevice to explore a cave by headtorch, then you need to stand back.

In this most of daring of pastimes, a standard caving trip may involve climbing, abseiling, crawling, swimming, walking and possibly trying not to freak out. Definitely not for the claustrophobics. So for the fact that caving may include a dip, know that this ‘watersport’ is not covered unless you’ve taken out extra insurance under our Adventure Pack.

Deep sea fishing

Reel in a trip to the emergency room? If you’re really unlucky and find yourself injured during a spot of regular fishing, we got you. However if your accident happens while you’re getting your kicks out at sea, you’ll need our Adventure Pack to cover medical mishaps, and your gear.

So if you’re going deep sea fishing or game fishing on your next holiday, remember to take out extra insurance, and check that you’re running with a licensed commercial charter or operator only. You’ll need both to be able to claim.

Sailing and cruises

You know you’re truly arrived  – on holiday – when you catch a glimpse of yourself boarding a yacht. If sailing sounds like you, just know that you’re not covered unless you’ve taken out extra cover. Travel with Kit’s Adventure Pack will cover you for medical emergencies whilst sailing, provided that you don’t move more than 24 kilometres off land, and that you’re not involved in any kind of race.

Our Cruise Packs covers medical, cancellations, luggage, missed-port and more.

Cruises on the other hand, are a whole other kettle of fish. Described in our view as being on water for more than 2 consecutive days, cruising comes with its own set of very specific risks. The biggest one being your distance from hospital, and likelihood of needing a medi-vac chopper in case of a critical medical emergency. So for cruises, we recommend our specialised cruise cover. Along with medical care, our Cruise Pack also covers you for cancellations, luggage, formal cruise wear, and other cruise-y things.

Keep in mind

Note that it is a condition of cover for all activities that you act in a reasonable way to protect yourself. The best way that you can do this is to enjoy your activities with a properly licensed organisation and to follow their instructions.

You won’t be covered if

  • You’re under the influence of any intoxicating liquor or drugs (prescription medication excluded)
  • You’re taking part in a competition or professional event
  • You don’t follow instructions
  • You don’t wear or use appropriate safety equipment
  • You have a pre-existing medical condition that affects your ability to enjoy your watersports activity safely

Photo by Thilo Lehnert from Pexels

Understand your cover

Conditions and exclusions apply to every cover level and optional pack. View our Combined Product Disclosure Statement and Financial Services Guide for full details. Sub-limits apply. Not sure? Our friendly team are here to help. Get in touch