Trekking insurance ..abroad

Discussion in 'Hiking Chat' started by Chiseller, May 20, 2018.

  1. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Looking for trekking insurance to cover us for unguided trekking up to around 8500ft in Europe.
    Looked at BMC and we have to join (Which we should anyway) and it's looking at around 125 for us as a couple....any recommendations ? The wife doesn't fancy piggy backing me down to below 2000ft before we make the dreaded call lol.
    Cheers
    Clare likes this.
  2. Diddi

    Diddi Thru Hiker

    Virgin covered us 3 ( son 13 wife and myself) walking in french Alps including helicoptor if needed.
    About £40 if iirc for 2 weeks.
    I rang them to make doubly sure it covered what i needed it to cover.
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
    Chiseller likes this.
  3. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    I went with BMC because other insurers had bizarre distinctions between walking trekking and hiking that the advisors themselves couldn’t clarify and left me concerned that cover would be declined because I was hiking not trekking or vice versa.
  4. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

    ive always used dogtags for overseas trips
  5. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Eh?
  6. paul

    paul Thru Hiker

  7. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Anyone use the AAC ?
  8. Nick

    Nick Backpacker

    Have to admit to not having insurance on most short trips to Europe, I know?!, but on long trips when the discounts on occasional hut use is an added bonus we use AAC.
    Chiseller likes this.
  9. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    I'm a member of the Austrian Alpine Club (£51.25/ year) - European rescue insurance comes free with the membership fee, never used it but the peace of mind is there for unexpected very large bills....medical bills are covered with the EHIC......gear loss (airline baggage loss, etc) is covered, up to £3000, on my household insurance.
    Not the 5 star BMC insurance but it gives me what I want.
  10. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Joined the AAC
    Cheers all
  11. Daymoth

    Daymoth Ultralighter

    Jumping on this thread to ask if there is any list of SAR costs per country?
    I have worldwide insurance until 3000m but dont think it covers SAR.
  12. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    How long's a piece of string?
    Location, resources, duration, etc all factor into the actual SAR cost, a relatively simple 'pick up' in Scotland can easily run a helicopter bill of £5 - 10K (which the UK tax payer picks up).
    Dave V and Chiseller like this.
  13. Gez

    Gez Hiker

    AAC for discount when hutting. The medivac cover has changed in recent years. In Austria you have to use a specific medivac phone number, anywhere else limited to a payment of 750euros.
    Had to call for medivac when my wife broke her ankle very badly last July and the charge out rate was 90.22euros per minute from the time of engine starting and shutdown back at base. And you will be charged for everything used, drugs, dressings and a SAM splint. Because of the amount of time involved, over an hour the bill was 6700euros plus.

    Lessons learnt for the incident, be accurate with the information given and update mountain rescue with the size of the group if someone stops to help you
  14. Daymoth

    Daymoth Ultralighter

    Yeah thats exactly what I would like to see a comparison between countries.
  15. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Are you saying that AAC insurance didn't cover that ?
  16. Gez

    Gez Hiker

    If it had been me that was injured and phoned the correct helicopter company the AAC insurance would have covered the costs

    Unfortunately my wife is not a member of the AAC, but the travel insurance she had paid for everything and the call centre (Global Response) were 1st class with dealing with everything
    Chiseller likes this.
  17. tom

    tom Thru Hiker

    Last time I looked, the annual travel insurance that comes with my Nationwide account included "hiking holidays" and only excluded "extreme sports". As I discovered then, as long as one is on a hiking trail, which one is mostly anyway in the Alps, Pyrenees etc, accidents are covered. Definition of a trail is that its marked on maps and on the ground which would include trails like HRP or GTA. I wouldn't count on cover for via ferratas however...
    Dave V and Chiseller like this.
  18. Clare

    Clare Thru Hiker

    As I remember there were elevation restrictions on "hiking", no cover if over 2450m or something like that, I can't remember the exact height.
  19. Whiteburn

    Whiteburn Thru Hiker

    A lot of travel insurance policies limit coverage to 2000m.........not really adequate for a lot of long distance routes in the Pyrenees or Alps.
    Dave V likes this.
  20. Daymoth

    Daymoth Ultralighter

    I just checked the one I have with my job: hiking below 5000m is ok as long as I dont need crampons.
    SAR not covered....

    Might get the BMC one since im a member anyway.
  21. oreocereus

    oreocereus Section Hiker

    This is by the far the cheapest option (if you already have a Nationwide account). I'm going to give them a call tonight, but curious that the HRP would count - given decent chunks of the route aren't mapped (even if they are cairned). There is a version of the HRP on some maps, but it doesn't generally correspond with what most people's HRP ends up being. I'm also curious about the definition of "marked on map" - if one has to take a diversion (e.g. to avoid a snowy pass or get out of a storm) do you void your insurance, when staying on the mapped route might in fact be more dangerous?
  22. dovidola

    dovidola Thru Hiker

    I suspect you might be going into even more detail than a Claims Assessor would. Unless you can be shown to be doing something demonstrably stupid or unnecessarily risk-taking, you should be covered. I doubt that general travel insurance underwriters have even bothered considering what exactly qualifies as a marked route. However, if you call them and ask the question, the best you're likely to get in reply is a 'definite maybe'. Perhaps. And that's assuming they even understand your question (see @Clare #3).

    This set me thinking. What if you injure yourself in a hiking accident and need to be evacuated by rescue services, but have no insurance and, financially speaking, don't have the proverbial pot to p**s in? Do they leave you there to die? Or do they rescue you, treat you, then throw you in jail until somebody pays your bill? Or do they deny you initial entry unless you can present a sufficiently resilient credit card? Presumably much depends on which country you're in, but I have this sneaking suspicion that the astronomical fees for rescue services might also be intended to cover those callouts for which nobody pays.

    Insurance is a strange beast. I think it's important to remember that insurance companies are not charities, they're profit-making businesses who, in order to succeed, must ensure that premiums greatly exceed payouts. This means that, on average, you, as the punter, will pay out far more than you will receive over your lifetime. To achieve this remarkable feat, insurers have invented a priceless commodity called 'Peace Of Mind' which costs them not a penny and simply exploits our latent anxieties. Sure, some insurances are probably necessary, and others are required by law, but a lot of it is a bit of a con in my humble.
    Nick and oreocereus like this.
  23. oreocereus

    oreocereus Section Hiker

    Yeah, I generally don't have insurance. The first time I had an insurance policy was when I visited Europe last year (I've moved here now). I had top-reviewed policy. In the last week of my trip, a complication with busses led to me losing all my luggage. It took over 6 months and a lot of stress and hassling to get any sort of pay out, because the bus company had simply claimed "not our fault" and the burden of proof lay with me. After this + witnessing insurance companies ruin lives in the wake of natural disasters (the Christchurch earthquakes being a personal example), I have suspected, long term, the average insurance purchaser might be best suited to paying their monthly policy cost into a savings account.

    That said, that was the first time I'd had insurance, and I did get paid out a lot more than I paid for my policy (and more than I'd expected, actually). Whether it was worth the stress and long term headache, it's hard to say (probably not).

    I'd be interested in your hypothetical as well. I don't know how it works. I do know a number of hikers and climbers who've settled outrageous bills for injuries and rescues when out and about in other countries. What would've happened if they didn't have insurance - I have no idea.

    In this case, if my kit were to be lost again, I'd be very upset (especially given recent history), and as someone with... nearly no financial assets... the complications a rescue bill or foreign hospital could ruin me to the point of having to ask family to buy me a flight back to NZ etc. I don't how know they would enforce whatever I would owe?

    The AAC kind of makes sense in terms of getting other benefits - such as huts, if you just want accident cover.

    Nationwide is cheap (£13 a month, and I can just switch my account back to a cheaper option when I am no longer overseas) and has other benefits - cheaper overseas withdrawls, etc. So either of those options do sweeten the "peace of mind" scam.
    Diddi and dovidola like this.
  24. oreocereus

    oreocereus Section Hiker

    Speaking to Nationwide - they don't really define hiking but "ropes and pulleys and all that would be mountaineering and not covered unless you upgrade." So I would suspect for most it'd be fine. The normal cover is up to 3000m (you can pay more to get covered above that), and he was very clear "you can never go above 3000m!" I asked how they would prove that if I had needed to be rescued at 2900m and he said "I don't know." :rolleyes: Again, for lot of us, this is probably sufficient. It's the cheapest and simplest option for me.

    Dogtag would give more definitive cover above 3000m, but they don't seem to cover equipment - and I think losing my tent/bag/etc is probably more likely than me needing rescue above 3000m (having had the former happen twice, and the latter never).

    Or just take the Ned Flanders approach
    tom likes this.
  25. Gadget

    Gadget Thru Hiker

    Is insurance not UL?
    Off Topic?
    Diddi likes this.

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