Explore Travel Insurance

What could be better than a surfing holiday, with the sun on your back, sand between your toes and the cool water beneath your board?

No holiday is immune from accidents and mishaps, though, no matter how experienced you might be out on the waves. You can never predict when a freak wave will cause you to wipe out, someone will nick your board or a hurricane will wreak havoc on your destination before you even arrive.

All those reasons and more are why it’s essential to take out adequate travel insurance for your big surf trip, so read on for more about travel insurance for surfers.

How can I get cover for surfing?

Travel insurance for surfing can either be a standard inclusion in regular policies or added to your existing cover as an optional extra. Many insurance providers will automatically cover surfing in their standard policies, although the level of travel insurance that covers surfing may differ between providers. You also need to be aware of any restrictions on this cover; for instance, some providers may only cover you if you go less than two nautical miles out to sea.

Suppose surfing isn’t an automatic inclusion in your travel insurance. In that case, it may be available through an optional extra you can add to your policy, sometimes described as an adventure or water sports pack. Adding these to your policy may cost you a little extra in premiums, but it may be worth it for peace of mind (especially when you consider how quickly medical bills can climb overseas!).

What does travel insurance for surf trips cover?

Depending on your level of travel insurance, you can be covered for things like:

  • overseas emergency medical expenses if, say, you get rag dolled over a reef and need medical treatment for the injuries;
  • medical transfers and evacuations for when the remote island you’re surfing at doesn’t have proper medical facilities, or if your injuries require evacuation to Australia;
  • cancellations if, for example, you fall ill or get injured before you leave for your trip or a family emergency prevents you from going;
  • lost, stolen or damaged luggage and belongings (often including surfboards, but some providers may require you to specify your board as an item for cover or add an optional extra for sports equipment);
  • dental expenses if, for instance, you wipe out and get hit in the mouth by your board
  • accidental death, loss of income and disability resulting from an injury or illness; and
  • personal liability if you cause injury or death to another person.

Make sure you read the policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before purchasing, so you know the terms and conditions of your cover.

What you’re not covered for

Knowing what you’re not covered for is just as important as knowing what you are covered for. Some general exclusions you’ll find in your travel insurance policy can include:

  • being under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • theft of unattended belongings and luggage;
  • pre-existing medical conditions (although many providers now offer included or additional cover for specific conditions. Always check your PDS);
  • breaking the law;
  • competition or professional surfing;
  • deliberate and reckless behaviour;
  • travel to a country with an active warning from Smartraveller; and
  • failing to follow instructions or advice (e.g. disobeying your doctor’s orders not to travel, or not adhering to your surfing instructor’s directions).

You also won’t be covered for any incidents that happened before you took out cover, so don’t try and take out a sneaky policy to claim for your cut foot after it’s already been stitched up, because your claim will likely be rejected.

Exclusions, restrictions and limits can vary between policies and providers, so always read the PDS before taking out cover.

Why should I insure my surfing trip?

It’s a good idea to insure every kind of trip, but perhaps more so for surfing holidays since you run a higher risk of injury.

Ask yourself if you can afford to pay for medical treatment if you suffer an injury overseas, particularly if you’re somewhere like Hawaii in the US where medical bills are infamously expensive. What about the cost of cancelling your whole trip if you’re suddenly unable to go? Or if your prized surfboard is stolen from your hotel room?

Getting travel insurance for surf trips could help you cover all these situations and more.

man surfing on holiday overseas

Frequently asked questions

Is my surfboard covered?

As your personal belonging, surfboards are often covered for theft and damage by travel insurance. Some providers may require you to specify your board as an item for cover or add an optional extra for sports equipment. Furthermore, surfboards can usually be specified as a ‘high-value item’ (if your policy offers this option), and you can sometimes get optional extras that can provide additional cover for your board (e.g. cover to a higher limit than the standard policy) .

There may be some limitations, though; you might find that providers won’t cover any damage to your board while it was in use, or any general wear and tear. Be sure to check your PDS to find out.

I rented my surfing equipment; is that covered?

Generally, any damage or loss you cause to your rented surfboard won’t be covered by your ‘surf travel insurance’ policy; any injuries you sustain while riding a rented surfboard may still be covered, though. Some providers may offer optional extras that can cover replacement costs for the damaged equipment.

How do I claim on my ‘surfing travel insurance’?

The first thing you should do after an incident is call for emergency services if needed or contact your provider’s emergency assistance team (if available). If the incident has been a theft or other crime, contact the relevant authorities.

You can typically submit your claim through your provider’s website, via email, through the post or by calling. Your provider will likely have a time limit on when you can claim (e.g. no later than 30 days after your return to Australia), but it’s a good idea to claim as soon as possible so your provider can help you get back on your feet quicker.

When submitting your claim, you’ll need to provide supporting documentation. This can include:

  • medical certificates, notes or receipts;
  • police reports; and
  • receipts or other proof of ownership.

Insure your surfing trip today

If travel insurance is the one thing you haven’t checked on your packing list yet, get sorted today by comparing your options. It’s a great way to weigh up what’s available and choose the right policy for you, and spares you the hours of searching, reading and searching again for each policy.

Our travel insurance comparison service is a fast, free and easy way to compare the prices and features of a range of policies. Simply enter in a few details about your trip and away you go!

Ready to look for a better deal? It’s easy to compare with us.

Compare travel insurance