Got Paragliding Insurance?


Got Paragliding Insurance?

A few years ago I was traveling to Turkey for an SIV. I knew my primary insurance might not cover paragliding so I opted to find and purchase secondary insurance. My research led me to HCC, which, for Americans, seemed like a good bet; in fact, it was one of the only companies I could find to insure against paragliding accidents.

Lucky for you, I did have an accident in Turkey and can speak to HCC’s service. It was, in one word, horrible. Basically I had to fight them for every penny and when they did pay, it took about 6 months to collect. Well, 6 months is better than never and to be honest, if HCC were the only choice I would still sign up again.

Recently I traveled to Brazil and knew I’d be need insurance again. I contacted HCC, but found they no longer cover Paragliding. Ultimately I ended up with WorldNomads insurance, which was easy to purchase and easy to extend when I decided to stay down in Brazil a bit longer, but I also never had to make a claim so I can’t speak to their service.

To make several long stories short, what I quickly realized is that for us paragliders, finding secondary (or for some of us, primary) insurance is not easy. So, to make things easier for us I thought I’d collect all the current data I could and do my best to present my findings in as simple and useful a manner as possible.

What follows is a list of all the insurance companies I could find that do (or did) cover paragliding. Many of these came from scouring the paragliding forums and several apply only to those living in or from Western Europe/UK.

Please feel free to comment on your favorite company or experiences in this area – I’ll happily update the list as comments come in. I hope this helps someone ☺

Airsports IBL
Airsports offers paragliding insurance as broker, so they’ll likely hook you up with the most applicable insurance depending on where you’re traveling. Specific details are unknown so one must phone Airsports for a quote.

Atlas/HCC
Updated April 1, 2014
Description of Coverage
“Pre-Certification” is required for some of the expensive stuff like surgery and MRI’s. This consists of contacting the plan administrator.
Under “Other Exclusions” (page 11, 27(d)), Altas lists Paragliding as an exclusion and is therefore not a viable insurance for paragliders.

AXA
AXA covers only EU and Swiss citizens
Details of Coverage
Coverage limits, like IMG are a bit on the low side, but I couldn’t find any exclusion for competing pilots.
AXA also carries third party liability insurance, which is a requirement in order to fly legally in most EU countries.

Globelink
Globelink lists Paragliding under “CATEGORY 3 HAZARDOUS PURSUITS” and states that you must be flying under a professional guide.

In addition, Globelink will not cover the following: Death, Loss of Limb or Loss of Sight & Permanent total disablement (Section C – Personal Accident).

Maybe Globelink will cover you, but I’m writing them off based on their fine print.

IMG
Updated April 1, 2014
IMG offers many types of insurance, but only their “Adventure” insurance covers paragliding.
The maximum coverage is limited to $50,000. Exceeding $50,000 won’t be difficult with a typical paragliding accident, but I hear that this is a favorite insurance among pilots flying in competitions.

JS Insurance
JS Insurance only covers those in and close to the UK. They have a good reputation and should be contacted if you’re from the UK.

QBE
This looks like a good insurance company, but they only cover Australians.

WorldNomads
Updated April 1, 2014
World Nomads offers 2 types of insurance: Standard and Explorer. Standard does not cover extreme sports, while Explorer does.
Policy wording depends on your country of residence.

As a US resident of California under their “Explorer” plan no limitations or exclusions are listed for any sports related activities. World Nomads should cover you for Paragliding, competition or otherwise.

Under the Description of Coverage for French, German & Swiss customers (and possibly all countries outside the US) Section 6(aa) lists:

  1. Paragliding, mountaineering and base jumping are excluded from all plans.

Now, you probably know all this, but please keep in mind:

All the insurance in the world isn’t going to help you if you’re lying in a ditch. Fly with friends. Make sure someone knows where you are at all times. Use a GPS tracker if you need. Remember my 15 Items That May Save Your Life.

When and if you require assistance, remember that some of these insurance companies aren’t going to pay out fast enough for the hospital or clinic that you land in. The hospital or clinic folks in that foreign company may want cash or charge your credit card and you may need to contact your insurance company later for reimbursement. This may not be the case for you, but be prepared.

Be prepared for an accident. List your full name, date of birth, all your medications (if any) and your emergency contact(s). Make sure this information is easy to find in case you are unconscious or worse.

It’s a small amount of time and effort to prepare the above and it just may help save your life.

If you have knowledge of other companies that offer coverage, please feel free to email me or comment below and I will add their details to this list.

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5 comments

  1. Good post! But AFAIK nomads do not cover paragliding for a few years now.

    Got this for both of their standard and explorer plans:
    “You’re not covered to participate in paragliding, mountaineering, base jumping, professional sports, races, competitions or motorsports on any plan.”

  2. Nice one Mateo! I’m working on this too… Here are a couple of others I know about but don’t have much experience:
    True Traveller (used this for our Guatemala/Colombia trip this year. I believe this is available for any nationality. It was very easy to get and update and very helpful when I had questions. But no experience of making a claim.

    Dog tag, Harrison Beaumont and MAPFRE -all offer paragliding insurance for UK residents at least. No personal experience.

    Club Alpin Francais – underwritten by AXA -very good value and includes kit cover and trips of 180 days in the extended policy. No experience of claiming though…

  3. There are a couple of web sites in the US that offer different selections, but you have to make sure that they have a “Hazardous Sport and Adventure Sport” option. One is http://www.squaremouth.com. (This one is good in that it gives you the option to specify PRIMARY insurance.) Another one is InsureMyTrip.com. From there, I used to use Seven Corners -Liaison International, but calls and emails to the insurance agent there have indicated that they DO NOT cover paragliding. Yet another good one is. http://www.eglobalhealth.com/patriot_extreme_insurance.html (Patriot Extreme) which covers up to age 50 for a “hazardous sports rider.: For those over 50 and 60, it gets harder to find hazardous sports medical insurance that covers those age groups.

    The last I checked, World Nomads does cover paragliding, but they are secondary insurance.

    Always call the agent/company to double check paragliding is covered and read the fine print. Some don’t cover much as an “Adventure Sport,” so be sure to click on the details button and/or call.

    Also, I had a friend who got hurt in Mexico, and he had some insurance through TravelGuard that was secondary. Travelguard would not pay for his bill, and would not pay to have him sent to a hospital in the US. He had to get a note from his Primary Insurance company in the US that they would cover his large hospital bills before releasing him from the hospital.

    He now recommends getting MEDJET which is an excellent evacuation insurance. They will evacuate you to any hospital of YOUR CHOICE including back to your home country. This is very important as you could get hurt in a country with poor medical services/hospitals. Others who travel frequently also highly recommend this insurance. If you are a United States Hang gliding and Paragliding Association (USHPA) member, you can get a discount on MEDJET insurance.

    For those on Facebook, UHGPGA (UTAH Hang gliding and PG Association….which is different than USHPA, or national orjganization) has had a long discussion on paragliding medical insurance. Just scroll down to find it.

    Susan Kent

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