What is sports equipment insurance?

If you’re an adventurous or athletic traveler, you might be planning to take sports equipment on an upcoming trip or vacation. This can include gear such as golf clubs, skis or snowboards, surfboards, camping/backpacking equipment, and other specialized, sports-related items.

Traveling with such equipment can be necessary if you’re committed to using your own gear while traveling — but it can also be risky. Baggage often gets lost or damaged in transit, and if your sports equipment is customized or specialized, the cost of replacing it can be steep. In addition, any delays in locating your lost baggage can result in the extra costs of having to hire sports equipment so you don’t miss your planned activities.

Fortunately, many travel insurance policies offer coverage for the loss, theft, or damage of sporting equipment that you might want to take on your trip. Read on to find out why you might want to take out insurance that includes coverage for sports equipment, and how to get it.

Do I need sports equipment insurance? 

Coverage for sporting equipment may be included in the standard baggage insurance benefit that comes as part of a typical travel insurance policy. This coverage may allow you to be reimbursed or compensated for in a variety of scenarios including:

  • If your baggage is damaged or lost by an airline or common carrier, or misplaced while being stored in a secure facility, such as a hotel
  • If your baggage is stolen, and you can provide proof in the form of a police report
  • If your baggage is delayed, and you have to buy replacement items while your property is being located and returned back to you

If your travel insurance policy includes coverage for sports equipment as part of its baggage benefit, then you can make a claim for your lost, stolen, or damaged sports equipment in the same way you would for your standard luggage or other personal items. Many sports gear policies may also provide compensation for replacement rental equipment — which means you don’t have to miss your 9:00 AM tee off, or the next morning’s epic swell while you wait for your clubs or surfboard to be located. You can simply rent replacement equipment and potentially receive reimbursement for the unanticipated costs if you subsequently make a claim.

If you’re planning to travel with expensive equipment, then the first thing to do is simply check the exact verbiage of your coverage details to make sure that any given policy includes lost equipment coverage. It’s best to do this at the stage when you’re comparing quotes for travel insurance plans.

What does sports equipment insurance cover? 

As with any and all insurance benefits, there are some restrictions and exclusions when it comes to sports equipment coverage. It’s important to look at the particular terms of your policy to know what is, and isn’t, covered before you set out on your adventure.

The first thing to know is whether or not there is a maximum value amount stipulated by your policy. Some policy limits have a coverage amount of up to $250, whereas others may be much higher than that. However if you have particularly expensive sporting goods — such as top of the line golf clubs you’ve been collecting over the years, or a custom-shaped surfboard — they may well be worth more than the stated coverage limit. In that case, you’ll want to make sure your equipment is covered by a different kind of insurance, such as renters or homeowners insurance.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all sports activities or adventure activities are covered by this kind of travel insurance benefit. Travel insurance companies will often not guarantee coverage for certain high-risk activities or extreme adventure sports such as scuba diving below certain depths or mountain climbing above certain altitudes. So if you’re planning to travel with equipment related to these activities, make sure they are not excluded from your policy before you set out.

As with any kind of travel insurance plan, claim scenario circumstances vary. There may be situations where property damage to your sports equipment is not covered, such as if an item is stolen but you don’t have proof, such as a police report, or if property damage was caused by faulty repairs or normal wear and tear.

And remember, personal items loss benefit — which sports equipment coverage generally falls under — only applies to damage or loss to property or physical items. So bodily injury resulting from such sports would not fall under this type of coverage (for that you’d need trip interruption, emergency medical evacuation, and travel medical insurance). In addition, it is not the same thing as product liability insurance. In other words, if defective sports equipment causes damage or harm, that won’t be covered under this kind of benefit.

Should I insure my sports equipment?

Now that you know a little bit more about how insurance for sports equipment works, you may be wondering if it’s worth it. That will depend on your situation. If the equipment you’re traveling with is replaceable and relatively low-cost, it may not be necessary. For example, while it may be inconvenient to lose a $40 tennis racket, it’s relatively easy to buy or rent one of a similar quality while you’re on your trip — and may well not be worth the effort of making a claim for.

However, if you require specialist or high quality equipment — that which would not only be expensive to replace but also hard to find elsewhere — then such coverage might be well worth it for you. These are all factors you’ll want to take into account when it comes time to buy travel insurance.

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