Does Your Insurance Policy Cover Your Active Lifestyle?

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When adventure sports is your main leisure activity, you and your family know that your life is fraught with dangers. So have you thought about how you would handle the hospitalisation bills, or, how your family members would cope with your loss – God forbid – in an ice climbing accident? Oh, what is that, you have a life insurance and a health insurance? That’s good, but do they cover extreme sports, or whatever adventure activity you are fond of?

Your Insurance Policy May Not be Covering Your Active Lifestyle

Adventure sports such as cycling, bungee jumping, skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, or whitewater rafting, and contact sports such as rugby, soccer, wrestling, fencing, or ice hockey are considered a high risk by insurance providers. This is because adventure sports tend to pose an inherent danger of injury to yourself as well as another person. You could, at times, die from an high-adrenaline sport related accident or, worst case scenario, cause someone else’s death. Additionally, you could lose or damage costly equipment you might be using for your preferred sport.

For these reasons some of the general things excluded from the standard life insurance cover are:

  • Dangerous sports (read: sports more likely to cause injury or death) such as martial arts, boxing, bungee jumping, or maximum-depth scuba diving
  • Expeditions to far-off, remote or unchartered places
  • Sports injuries if you are a professional sportsperson earning income from participating in a contact sport

What to look for in an insurance policy

There are 3 kinds of protection you would need if you are a sports junkie. Look for these benefits in your life insurance before you buy one:

  1. Protection against death or injury to another person: This will protect you against third party damages caused by you while you are engaged in an extreme sport. For example, if you are a mountain biker and you accidentally bump into the rider in front of you and s/he sustains a fall and severe injuries, then your insurance policy should be able to cover the cost of hospitalisation for this person.
  2. Protection against death or injury to self: This will insure you against death or injuries caused to yourself while you are involved in an adventure sport.
  3. Protection against loss or damage to your equipment: If you are a mountain biker and you damage your bike in one of your trips, your insurance should be able to cover the repairs required.

Apart from this, ensure you’re doing these:

  • Read the exclusions list: If your sport is in the exclusions list then there is no point in taking that policy since it won’t cover you anyway.
  • Check the extent of the cover: This does not mean you are looking at what instance will be covered but the geographic extent. If you are traveling abroad when the injury is sustained and your policy does not cover it, you need another policy.

In health insurance, look for the following benefits:

  1. Coverage for both inpatient and outpatient bills: If you suffer a serious injury, you are likely to require long-term care and repeated consultations with doctors. Having coverage for both inpatient and outpatient bills helps mitigate the cost burden on you.
  2. Accidental Medical Reimbursement benefits: If you meet with an accident while engaged in a sport, you should be able to claim insurance benefits for treatments for big and small injuries and hospitalisation.
  3. Hospitalisation Shield Plan: This will cover you for surgeries that may be required in the wake of the injury you’ve suffered. Medical reimbursement may not be sufficient to pay for surgeries.
  4. Weekly Indemnity Benefit: Look for this optional rider in your health insurance plan, as the indemnity benefit will ensure that you have a daily income while you are recovering from the injury or surgery after the injury.

Additional read: What Types of Health Insurance Can Singaporeans Get?

Consider these points before you choose an insurance policy

If adventure sports is a part of your regular activities, you need to keep these things in mind before getting an insurance policy:

  • Higher premium: If you are a regular sports junkie, your insurance company may hike up your premium as you would be considered a high-risk customer. If your basic policy does not offer the required cover, there may be a rider you can add to widen the insurance range, but that will also be an additional cost.
  • How often do you engage in these sports? If you involve yourself in an adventure sport as a regular weekly or monthly activity, you will be considered a high risk by the insurance provider. On the other hand, if your involvement in these sports is once or twice a year, the insurer is not going to be very concerned.
  • Do not hide the truth: If you think you can hide the fact that you engage in dangerous sports, remember that the insurance company can contest and revoke your policy or deny a claim if they find out the truth later. So it’s better to tell them the truth.
  • Does your insurance offer overseas coverage? If you are going outside Singapore for adventure sports, you would need to check if your life or health insurance is valid in that country as well. Otherwise you will end up spending a lot on healthcare abroad. Also check if your travel insurance offers cover for overseas sports injuries and emergency medical evacuation.

Which companies offer sports-friendly policies?

Do not expect every insurance company to add benefits for you if you’re into sports. However, it is good to know which company has policies that will benefit you. So here are a few sports-friendly insurance policies:

  • AXA Personal Accident Cover: The SmartCare Prime, SmartCare Shield, and SmartCare theOne plans offered by AXA under the personal accident segment cover basic activities such as running, walking or jogging.
  • AIA: AIA Personal Accident for Life, AIA Platinum AccidentCare, AIA Prime Assured, and AIA Solitaire Personal Accident cover medical expenses for a period of 1 year from the time of accident, and you can also make a claim for bills of registered chiropractor, acupuncturist or Chinese bonesetter.
  • Great Eastern: The AccidentCare Plus II, Essential Protector Plus, and Prestige PACare policies offer customisable coverage. You can also make claims for treatments from a chiropractor or Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  • Prudential: Its PRUfracture Care covers fractures, burns and dislocations caused while participating in high-risk activities such as rock climbing, scuba diving, wake-boarding and others.
  • American Express: An Optional Winter Sports Benefit can be added to your American Express Travel Insurance to get insurance cover for skiing injuries and equipment.

Do you know of another type of specific insurance that you will be needing, especially if you love travelling? Well, it’s travel insurance. It covers you for personal injury, liabilities and travel inconveniences. Speaking of travel insurance, did you know that your credit cards can also provide travel insurance with almost the same benefits? If you do travel and don’t have a travel credit card, check out these cards.

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