If you don't want to spend the rest of your life paying off an overseas injury, insurance is a good idea. Photo: Shutterstock

If you don’t want to spend the rest of your life paying off an overseas injury, insurance is a good idea. Photo: Shutterstock

The Inertia

It’s finally that time. You’ve got everything ready. You’ve ordered new boards, booked the flights, arranged the accommodations. As you look at your board bag packed to the brim with freshies, your favorite board shorts, extra leashes and an assortment of fins, you ask yourself one final question: “am I forgetting something?”

That something most surfers forget about is buying travel insurance. Anything can happen on a surf trip, and when you’re traveling to faraway places chasing down a glassy, warm point-break, you’re going to want to be prepared for more than just surfing.

I’ve seen it happen, and I’m sure everyone out there has a horror story to tell about someone tragically getting hurt, having their vacation ruined by an injury, or worse. Dropping into a wave is a calculated risk, but if one little thing goes wrong, all hell breaks loose. It’s so simple to dig a rail, lose your balance and you go head first into the reef. So many things can happen when you’re traveling abroad–that’s why it’s better to be safe than sorry with investing in travel insurance.

Travel Insurance vs Trip Insurance


Travel Medical Insurance:
Don’t rely on your current medical plan before leaving the country. Make sure you look into a travel medical insurance policy, because there might be limitations to your coverage overseas. Many regular insurance companies will assure you that you are covered, but when it comes to filing a claim, getting reimbursed can be a nightmare. There are also limits on what they will cover: an ambulance ride in the States would be covered, but life flight usually isn’t, especially when in a foreign country. International travel medical insurance will cover your medical costs, evacuation, and even repatriation of remains. The bottom line is this type of insurance is cheap: a plan can be had for as little as $30.00 a month. Bump up in price to around $100.00 a month and there are even plans that will cover the cost of stolen or broken surfboards, provided it was the airline that broke them and not you dropping in on a giant wave at Pavones!

Trip Insurance:
Trip insurance is used to cover the cost of not going on your amazing surf adventure. If you have booked hotels, hired guides and bought the plane tickets, trip insurance will reimburse you if you have to cancel your trip.  In addition, it will cover cancellation and interruption, illness, evacuation, baggage and missed flights. The price of trip insurance ranges from 5 percent to 12 percent of the total cost of the trip, and varies according to the length of the trip and often your age. It’s better to buy trip insurance sooner rather than later, as some companies are less likely to cover your trip if you purchase the coverage too far after you paid for the trip. Travel medical insurance can even be bought the day after you leave.

Expatriate Insurance:
If you don’t plan on coming back for a while, you might want to look into a long-term annually renewable international health insurance plan. For US citizens, it can be hard to find quality healthcare and insurance coverage overseas, so to get the right coverage you’ll want to look into a long-term expatriate plan. Many times expatriates get their routine medical care in the country where the reside, but want the option of coming home for medical care if something big crops up, like cancer or heart disease. And if you do find yourself as an expatriate with your dream job, running a surf adventure school, make sure visiting clients have international insurance when they come to cover your liabilities and protect your assets.


International health insurance is much more affordable than you think. Buying a policy for your next surf trip, be it two days or two years, will give you peace of mind and allow you to enjoy your trip stress free. Yew!



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