Online reprint from CanPara
August - September 2016
Written by: Ned Ambrus
“The most boring article you will ever read BUT the most relevant: Travel Insurance ROCKS!”
We’ve all heard the story before: skydiver travels to the USA (or international) and gets injured and they are not covered by their insurance policy or didn’t have insurance. Insert horror story here, financial struggles, bankruptcy, emotional stress and insert pledges/gofundme.com for donations. This ALL can be easily avoided. I’m not going to sugar coat this article: Buying insurance and taking the time to ensure you have the correct coverage is a NO-BRAINER and is NOT EXPENSIVE or complicated.
**DISCLAIMER** Please, please confirm all information in this article when purchasing insurance and before departing to your vacation as things can change.
There is a perception that if we are Canadian we are automatically covered by our Provincial Health Care when we travel. We ARE but we are only covered up to the same amount it would cost to fix us in Canada. So for example; a broken arm in Canada for x-rays, casting and seeing the ER Doctor let’s say costs $400. In the USA it can easily cost $4,000 (and I have proof!). So your provincial health care will cover $400 and you have to cover the $3,200 difference. Not great huh? But I don’t have $3,200 I hear you say. So this can easily be solved by purchasing OUT OF COUNTRY MEDICAL TRAVEL INSURANCE.
I capitalized that for a reason: there are many travel insurance companies and many underwriters with different policies. BUT based on my recent research (August 2016) and my 19 years of selling travel insurance there are at least 2 companies travel agencies sell that I know cover skydiving (not including benefit policies), but both of these companies have different types of policies and some of their unique polices do not cover skydiving. However, most Out of Country Medical Insurance Policies are safe for skydivers.
If you walk into a travel agency and purchase Manulife Travel Insurance, Allianz Travel Travel Policy you would be covered for accidents in skydiving. I’ve also been told that Mountain Equipment Co-op has a sports policy that covers as well, so there are options, and apparently the same are available in Quebec. ALL COVER SKYDIVING.
Here is the wording on exclusions from Allianz:
“Coverage is different for each plan; to find out what your coverage is, please read the section titled “Benefits’ under the name of the plan you have purchased.”
EXCLUSIONS: “EMH12: Injury resulting from training for or participating speed contests usually and customarily in excess of 60 kph, professional sports activities, or organized motor sport contests.”
The key word is PROFESSIONAL. Unless you are Airspeed or Jay Moldeski (and bless you, but chances are your not!) then you are covered. Even if you are competing, you are covered. But if you make a living skydiving professionally then you are not covered.
Wording from Manulife:
“Exclusions #12: Your participation as a PROFESSIONAL athlete in a sporting event including training or practice for the same.”
I wanted to show you the 2 different policies that I am aware of (and I know there are more) because there is a chance that swooping may not be covered by Allianz as it states ‘in excess of 60 kph’. So in that case I would recommend Manulife as that is not part of their exclusions, so I do always recommend understanding what you are buying. And remember, Manulife will have different policies for different companies/consortiums so always check that you are covered, it is so worth the 5 minute phone call or ask a travel professional.
Hopefully this helps you to understand that there are a lot of out of country travel insurance policies available to Canadians (I asked a friend in QC and it’s very similar as the rest of Canada) that cover skydiving plus other non-jumping injuries, illness. And it is affordable and worth it’s weight in gold. If you are on vacation, going to a Boogie, going to an event, an Airspeed Camp, a Flight-1 Canopy course etc. please purchase insurance.
And as an FYI, Out of Country Medical Insurance covers you from $5 million dollars to unlimited medical coverage (depending on policy) for yourself. But it also covers emergency dental surgery, covers having a family member fly to you and hotel/food coverage for them if need be, it covers repatriation if needed (bringing your body back if you die), it covers hospital expenses, air ambulance, drugs, changing your return flight to get home (if you are healthy enough to fly commercial) and more. So not just skydiving vacations but any vacation out of country or even out of province I strongly recommend insurance coverage. Most provinces only cover you for the value of what it costs in your home province so if you live in QC and get hurt in Ontario; you are responsible for the difference.
Here is an example of what the costs/rates are as of April 2016 (assuming you are in good health and have no pre-existing illness) with Manulife Travel Insurance for their Out of Country Medical:
Up to 59 years of age: 7 day duration: $28; 14 day duration: $58
So that $5000 skydiving holiday you just booked including air/accommodations/transportation/meals/jumping/repacks/BEER etc. is now going to cost you $5058. Whoopee! You paid a 1% increase in your total holiday for peace of mind, and protection. Let’s face it; no one wants to get hurt; no one thinks we will get hurt. But it happens, whether you are at fault or someone else. Be protected. Be safe, get re-current gently (but that’s another article all together!).
I want my sky brothers and sisters to be safe, to have fun, to enjoy their vacation, and come back with more experience, more knowledge and wonderful memories. I simply hate hearing about people getting hurt, and I hate hearing about people getting hurt and not having the coverage. Check your policy if you have work benefits to see if you are covered. Phone your credit card company to see exactly what is covered. Buy a cheap policy just to be safe, whatever you do Please travel with Medical Insurance. It can save your life, figurative and literally.