Goto Chockstone Home

  Tech Tips

      Sponsored By

Chockstone Photography
Australian Landscape Photography by Michael Boniwell
Australian Landscape Prints

Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

Getting Insurance for Climbing in the USA
10:36:39 AM

I plan on traveling to the USA for a year and climbing there.
From my research this is what i have found.

1. Insure4less
2. Diplomat medical insurance
3. AAC

Does anyone have any experience with either of these companies or other recommendations (apart from not traveling to the USA)?

11:39:09 AM
I've used Insure4Less a number of times, mainly Europe. I've never had to claim.

Last year I visited the US and used them again - however the premium to cover rockclimbing was way more than it had ever been, partly because of the destination and partly because I understand premiums had been upped after claims.

After last year's experience I plan to shop around.

12:01:10 PM
Yeah it was $1700 for insure4less trad climbing for a year.

While diplomat quoted me at $120 a month plus they cover way more (snowboarding, skydiving). but i feel like there rescue coverage will not be as good. Thats why i wanted to combine with Austrian Alpine Club S&R. which is $270 a year.

I cant find anything else out there that covers rock climbing. To the extent i can only find top-roping, bouldering, climbing with a guide. Thats all. :-S

8:53:19 PM
On 26/05/2014 jclimber wrote:
>Thats why i wanted to combine with Austrian Alpine Club S&R. which is $270
>a year.

AAC leaflet says SAR is EU25K, but actual medical care?

If I'm reading it right it is "For medically necessary treatment (including medically necessary transportation to a hospital) abroad, up to EUR 10,000,."

If that's it, EU10K won't get you a band-aid in the US hospital system. You'd want separate medical cover of the kind in most general travel insurance - which AAC states it is not - but of course they will not cover injuries due to climbing, so you're back at square one.
9:14:39 PM
I had a claim on insure4less last year for a missed flight. They payed fairly promptly without issue. One of my travel partners with a more expensive company had their claim refused.

So yeah I'm pretty damn happy with them.

On 26/05/2014 jclimber wrote:
>Yeah it was $1700 for insure4less trad climbing for a year.
Wow. That is huge. I paid $350 for 6 months with them. However that was six years ago.
Mike Bee
9:16:32 PM
We used Insure4Less in Canada a couple of years ago.
Didn't have to claim though, so can't really comment other than to say they approved us pretty quickly and were happy to take our money.

10:14:08 PM
Patriot adventure had policies for non Americans for medical and rescue and regular travel insurance options that cover rockclimbing. It was the only company we could find that would cover ski mountaineering in Antarctica for Australians. It was quite pricey for 3 months and it covered the medical side only. It can be extended for regular insurance. However I had an annual policy with insure4less in addition, but as they wouldn't cover Antarctica I didn't extend it to cover rockclimbing, and relied on the patriot one for medical expenses and rescue if needed. Unfortunately I had to use trip cancellation prior to leaving Australia, missed the boat. Trip cancellation had a limit of $7500 with insure 4 less, which came nowhere near the price that I had paid for the Antarctic trip. But they paid up to that limit no problem, promptly. And I never tried the patriot policy, staying well during our Patagonian climbing leg of the trip.

10:49:19 PM
On 26/05/2014 jclimber wrote:
>Yeah it was $1700 for insure4less trad climbing for a year.


Seems a lot at first, but following a dubious back-of-the-envelope calculation based on rubbery figures (how's that to inspire confidence?) I'm not so sure it's necessarily all that outrageous.

It's been guestimated that there are ~50 fractures (ranging from fractured skulls through to broken legs) per year in Yosemite, resulting from 25,000 to 50,000 climbing days ( - old figures, I'm afraid). That would be an average of a fracture for every 500-1000 days spent climbing, which seems ballpark feasible (and excludes the less common but more serious and expensive accidents).

If you climb every second day during a year-long trip that gives you about a 1:4 chance of needing to hit the hospital at some point. Given likely US hospital fees without cover and potential SAR costs if you plan on doing anything big/remote, the $1,700 is sounding like a pretty good investment to me at that point, assuming insure4less have a reputation of paying up.

Off my soap box now - hope you have a blast, whatever option you chose. Where are you planning on climbing?
9:22:41 AM
On 26/05/2014 Ben_E wrote:
>On 26/05/2014 jclimber wrote:
>>Yeah it was $1700 for insure4less trad climbing for a year.
>Seems a lot at first, but following a dubious back-of-the-envelope calculation
>based on rubbery figures (how's that to inspire confidence?) I'm not so
>sure it's necessarily all that outrageous.
... Given likely
>US hospital fees without cover and potential SAR costs if you plan on doing
>anything big/remote, the $1,700 is sounding like a pretty good investment
>to me at that point, assuming insure4less have a reputation of paying up.

Agreed, mainly given US hospital costs.

When I was regularly organising Antarctic trips, and IHI insured both climbing and Antarctic expeditions, I used to pay around $400 for 90 days insurance that mostly just covered SAR/medevac (to $300K!) and repatriation - not general travel stuff.

So extrapolate that to a year and it's $1600, more than five years ago.
4:55:38 PM
Hi All,

Ive pretty much decided to get Diplmat Insurance. They were able to cover me for rockclimbing. They also are covering me for skydiving and snowboarding. This is just medical insurance. also they cover the normal medical as well.
I think ill be using the Austrian Alpine Club for search and rescue.
And ill use a insurance company ( not yet found) for general travel insurance.

I consider this a win.
1. Its the same price for insurance for less minus the cost for winter sports. So i save 300 bucks or something
2. skydiving is also covered. (ihi, covermore, qvb) only cover this, while insure for less does not. Im starting to get into this sport
3. I am not locked into insure4less and their general travel insurance policy.

The bad:
Im only covered to a million US. and im only getting $25k EURO for search and rescue.

Also on a side note. Patriot insurance only covers upto $50k for rockclimbing so dont go with them.


PS ill probably start out in Yosemite and see what happens from there.

5:10:16 PM
Thanks for the info/update, enjoy your trip.
12:44:33 PM
Bit of an update on this, as I'm sorting out insurance for a trip to the USA for climbing this year. Seems the market changes quite fast, so people might find this useful.

My requirements - trad climbing trip for 3 weeks to USA, nothing higher than 14000ft / 4250m. Want to get emergency evacuation and at least $250k medical treatment cover in case of climbing accident requiring hospitalisation. I'm 49, no preexisting conditions. These are the options I found:

1) Global Underwriters Diplomat America with Athletic Sports & Hazardous Activity Rider (middle option - Mountain Climbing 14,000 ft. & below - Ropes & proper safety equipment required). Cover: Medical $500k, Evacuation & Repatriation $500k, Corpse repatriation $50k, Family attendance $50k, Death & Disability $25k, some very limited other benefits. Deductible $250. Premium $125. (All prices in USD) Comments - seems to be very decent cover for medical emergency from rock climbing - would need to have normal travel insurance as well, but might be good enough for some people together with travel insurance that comes free with credit card bookings.

2) Austrian Alpine Club insurance - looks good for covering emergency repatriation and some hospital costs - cheap for long term coverage - would be excellent for someone wanting annual coverage for global climbing disaster insurance - but does not cover the massive bills you can incur in USA medical system, so not appropriate for me.

3) Insure4less - lots of recommendations for this on Chocky, with the proviso that it has been getting very expensive recently. On checking it out I read that "There is no cover for Mountaineering, trekking or trad climbing in the USA or Canada." So they no longer offer trad / alpine climbing cover for the USA - no use to me.

4) Patriot Adventure America - looks quite decent at first - one month insurance for medical, covers adventure sports including rock climbing, $149 premium for max $50,000 cover. But with a bit of research, $50k cover doesn't look anywhere near enough for the USA - and fine print of the climbing section repeatedly refers to exclusions if "proper ropes and guides" are not used - so not suited to self-guided climbers.

5) Virgin Money Travel Insurance with Adventure Pack (includes "Outdoor rock climbing (with ropes and appropriate safety gear)". General travel insurance for this period costs $110 for unlimited medical and emergency assistance, and when the Adventure Pack is added, costs $140, so not much of a bump. It does not include rescue costs - but as we are climbing in Yosemite National Park, YOSAR provide free rescue services if required. Virgin is underwritten by Allianz Global, who are a huge global insurance company. Their AU office offers similar insurance, but their front end process was more difficult and I couldn't find / select the Adventure Pack to compare pricing. As this insurance combines general travel & medical insurance and includes rock climbing as a permitted activity, it is the best insurance for my purposes.

Given all these options, the Virgin pack works for me. Please read the various PDS and consider your own needs, this is not advice but just some notes on my own research. Hopefully it is helpful in updating this thread.

1:53:20 PM
When Stephen and I climbed in Yosemite in October last year we had a similar result to you during our own pre-trip investigations, Technogeekery... we also got to have the fun of testing our chosen Insurance company as a result of a moderately serious accident.

We ended up using Virgin Money (which was recommended to me by Neil Monteith, and upon all my investigations seemed to be the most legit). The costs weren't too bad (compared to other trips I've done elsewhere), and after the aforementioned accident, we had no dramas whatsoever with them paying up (even while Stephen was still being worked upon, they were co-ordinating successfully and efficiently to get everything processed).

I've used Insure4Less on EVERY other trip overseas (including climbing 7000m peaks in Kyrgyzstan... of which I was only covered for the first 6000m), yet climbing in the USA and Canada seems to be the only thing they don't cover anymore.

Upon my own investigation of the Austrian Alpine Club, I came to the same conclusion as you regarding what they will and won't cover. I also had concerns with the ease of securing a claim in the event of an accident, and even the notion of filling out insurance on a website that's not in English... Stephen and I went looking for our answers elsewhere.

I've never looked at Option 1 and Option 4 in your list.

One of the ones that comes up from time to time (especially on chockstone) is the NZ Alpine Club... However, in their fine print, even though they will insure Australians, that insurance doesn't cover non-NZ residents in the US, so steer clear, friends.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents. I basically am saying I agree with technogeekery


- Paul T
8:46:12 AM
HI Paul - thanks for that, good to hear confirmation from lived experience. Also good to hear that getting support and payout from Allianz (Virgin's underwriter and provider) worked well. Not so good that you needed to use it - sorry to hear Stephen got hurt. Can you share more on that (or is it on your blog somewhere?)



There are 14 messages in this topic.


Home | Guide | Gallery | Tech Tips | Articles | Reviews | Dictionary | Forum | Links | About | Search
Chockstone Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography | Landscape Photos Australia

Please read the full disclaimer before using any information contained on these pages.

Australian Panoramic | Australian Coast | Australian Mountains | Australian Countryside | Australian Waterfalls | Australian Lakes | Australian Cities | Australian Macro | Australian Wildlife
Landscape Photo | Landscape Photography | Landscape Photography Australia | Fine Art Photography | Wilderness Photography | Nature Photo | Australian Landscape Photo | Stock Photography Australia | Landscape Photos | Panoramic Photos | Panoramic Photography Australia | Australian Landscape Photography | High Country Mountain Huts | Mothers Day Gifts | Gifts for Mothers Day | Mothers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Mothers Day | Wedding Gift Ideas | Christmas Gift Ideas | Fathers Day Gifts | Gifts for Fathers Day | Fathers Day Gift Ideas | Ideas for Fathers Day | Landscape Prints | Landscape Poster | Limited Edition Prints | Panoramic Photo | Buy Posters | Poster Prints