Trekking insurance is a type of travel insurance specifically designed for adventure travelers should unforeseen circumstances arise. A trekking vacation involves challenging physical activity that holds the possibility — however remote — of accident and injury. Such an active vacation and its potential risks necessitate the need for insurance coverage that protects vacationers from exorbitant medical costs, rescue, evacuation, and repatriation.
Insurance companies offer varying types of trekking insurance, but not all travelers are required to carry it. For trekkers taking part in a group expedition with an adventure tourism company, the hosting company typically requires all participants carry some kind of trekking insurance. For those going solo, insurance is not traditionally mandatory, but it can certainly provide a level of protection and assurance for the journey.
Traditional trekking insurance options cover trip cancellation and trip disruption; emergency medical and dental procedures; and any lost, damaged, or stolen baggage or sporting equipment necessary for the journey. Each person on the expedition must carry proof of insurance, as well as a passport, in case of an emergency. It is widely advised that trekkers obtain insurance in their home country with a reputable company.
In some cases, a traveler may need to be airlifted back to his or her home country for medical intervention. Obtaining trekking insurance with a repatriation option guarantees that the injured traveler can be returned home safely to receive care. This option is not available on all plans and may be available for an additional cost.
Some trekking insurance plans contain elevation restrictions, meaning travelers are not covered for circumstances that occur on trekking routes above a stated elevation. This is a key consideration a traveler should bear in mind when deciding on the right insurance plan as things like helicopter rescue, air ambulances, and medical costs can be particularly expensive. Evacuation coverage is an important aspect to any trekking insurance policy and can save a trekker much time and headache should the need for evacuation present itself.
Certain international trekking hot spots have their own requirements for travelers. In Nepal and Tibet, for example, the laws dictate that all trekking insurance policies purchased by travelers must include emergency helicopter rescue service. Trekkers venturing to this part of the world are advised to choose insurance carriers who are available around the clock with experienced translators, as helicopter rescue service will not be dispatched until approval is given by the insurance company.