Travel insurance for Surfing

Keep calm and surf on

One part vacation, one part adrenaline-pumping adventure, there’s nothing quite like a surf trip with your friends.

Whether you’re catching waves at some of Hawaii’s classic surf spots, exploring Mexico’s blue waters, or traveling even further afield—perhaps Australia or South Africa—an epic surf expedition can mean the trip of a lifetime. But as you pack your board, wetsuit, and sunscreen, don’t forget your travel insurance.

Coverage for you and your board: what does Surfing insurance cover?

Look for travel insurance that’s perfectly suited for surf trips. Why? Because it should cover the basics, like trip cancellation, trip delay and trip interruption protection when travel plans take an unexpected turn, plus reimbursement if your bags get lost or damaged (and yes, that includes your board).

Beyond the basics, there are a few key pieces of coverage surfers should definitely include in their travel insurance plan, including:

  • A travel medical package, which provides primary coverage for medical expenses, including injuries sustained during adventure sports. Primary coverage means travel insurance pays first, so you may not need to file an additional claim with your regular health insurance carrier
  • Emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains, in case you have an injury that requires medical evacuation. Worst case, if you have the ultimate wipeout, your coverage will ensure your remains are transported back home
  • Baggage coverage ensures that if your board is lost, stolen, or damaged on your trip, you’ll be reimbursed so you can repair or replace it

Top surfing destinations

United States

Catch some waves at Hawaii’s iconic surf spots and along the shoreline of California, the Golden State.

Costa Rica

Experience Pura Vida in Costa Rica, with pristine beaches and breaks on both coasts.


With 4,500+ miles of Pacific coastline, the Mexico surfing scene is an embarrassment of riches.

South Africa

Head to the Southern Hemisphere for incredible surfing on both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

What is not covered during a surfing vacation

There are a few important exclusions to keep in mind when you’re looking at travel insurance for a surf trip.

  • Competitive surfing — no signing up for that big wave competition!
  • Search and rescue, unless additional coverage is added
  • Normal wear and tear of sporting equipment, such as surfboards or wetsuits

Good to know

What type of travel insurance is best for a surf trip?

Look for a policy that covers you when the unexpected happens. For example, your US health insurance policy may not cover you when you’re out of the country, so you should consider travel medical expense coverage. Also be sure your travel insurance policy includes coverage for sporting gear loss and damage, and depending on your destination, emergency evacuation insurance.

Will my regular health insurance cover me if I get injured on a surf trip?

The short answer is “it depends.” You should check with your health insurer before you depart, as some may cover international travel, but many do not cover adventure sports such as surfing. Even if you are covered, be aware that you generally need to pay out of pocket and then seek reimbursement when you return home. Other considerations include:

  1. An emergency medical evacuation can easily cost $100,000 or more. Travel insurance generally pays this cost up front, and it can protect you against a huge bill later.
  2. For those on US Medicare, be aware that Medicare does not cover you outside the US.
  3. Don’t expect the State Department to come to your rescue. According to their website: “We do not pay medical bills. Payment of hospital and other expenses is the patient’s responsibility.”

Does accidental death coverage apply to surfing trips?

Look to add Accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) to your travel insurance policy for a surfing trip.

Does travel insurance protect my surfing gear?

If you’re worried about losing or damaging your surfboard and other gear while in transit, be sure to include baggage coverage (that also covers sporting equipment) in your insurance policy.

Does travel insurance cover bad weather?

Generally, yes. Travel insurance can cover a variety of circumstances related to extreme weather, such as a hurricane, that could adversely impact your trip, including: a mandatory evacuation is ordered at your destination; damage to your destination making it uninhabitable or inaccessible; damage to your own residence, rendering it uninhabitable; road closures; or cessation of travel services due to adverse weather.

If it simply rains on a day you wanted to hit the surf, travel insurance would not reimburse you for any expenses incurred due to a change in your itinerary or travel plans.

Still have a question?

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