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In need of a safety net?

So you’re an adrenaline junkie who lives by the rope and the parachute cord. Most life insurance covers exclude adventure sports, but there are still some that you will find useful. Dhamini Ratnam tells us more.

india Updated: May 01, 2008 03:43 IST
Dhamini Ratnam

So you’re an adrenaline junkie who lives by the rope and the parachute cord. Likes to shake up the leisurely pace of a holiday with some parasailing in Goa, skydiving in California, or bungee jumping in Australia. Well, predictable as it may sound, here’s a a question for you (yet again): What if something goes terribly wrong? Do you have the wherewithal to pay the hospital and treatment bills?

Finding cover

Most life insurance covers exclude adventure sports, but there are still some that you will find useful. Take for instance ICICI Lombard, whose insurance cover comes at a very affordable premium as part of their overseas travel plan. They do however make a distinction between adventure sports (those with a guideline in place, like water skiing) and hazardous sports (of the on-the-spot car race variety).

The plan covers personal accident or death caused due to mishaps encountered while participating in adventure sports, apart from other niggles you could encounter during a holiday abroad.

Yes, there’s fine print. Read it

At the same time, reading the fine print on insurance covers carefully is also very important.

For instance, the life insurance cover by ICICI Prudential, called Life Guard, will provide cover for sporting enthusiasts, but only if they declare their hobby at the time of taking the insurance cover. In such a case, the premiums would increase. Life Guard, which is a risk cover plan provides insurance in case of death only.

Citibank General Insurance offers a Mediclaim policy that covers hospitalisation due an accident while participating in an adventure sport (it doesn’t cover death.) The personal accident policy of Rs 20 lakh is also meant for sporting enthusiasts, but professionals are not covered.

Even the experts agree

Adventure sports are mostly safe, since their organisers go to great lengths to ensure that your holiday experience is thrilling and risk-free. Even so, it’s good to have cover for that one time out of 100 when something might go wrong.

“I have been trying to find one for myself too,” says Samson D’Silva, a senior instructor at Space Apple, a company that offers paragliding, para motoring, parasailing and aviation workshops.

Since D’Silva is a professional, finding cover for him is a lot harder than it is for you. Space Apple encourages enthusiasts to take limited insurance cover (upto a week) for a premium of Rs 200. New India Insurance and Birla Sun Life offer such covers of a sum of Rs one lakh.

“We ask our clients to fill an indemnity bond in any case, but we do provide them the option of taking insurance cover,” D’Silva said. “Not many do, however,” he added.

Eric Menezes, a senior flying instructor with Wings and Flight, who has some 25 years of flying experience, has both accident and life insurance covers. He had to declare his profession as a paragliding instructor at the time of taking life insurance cover from Aviva and Reliance and pay riders (an extra sum) on account of the risky nature of his work. He also recommends students who join his institute to take personal accident cover from Mediclaim and United Insurance (they must declare they plan to paraglide).

Vijay Mishrani, sales manager at ICICI Prudential pointed out, “Most companies hesitate to provide these covers as high risk is involved. Ultimately, the decision to give the policy lies with the underwriter who assesses all risks.”