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A Guide to Extreme Sports Travel Insurance for Manitobans

February 25, 2021
Updated: October 21, 2023


An extreme sport is any sport that involves a certain amount of inherent risk or a particularly high rate of injury. They usually involve speed, specialized equipment, stunts, or physical contact.

And while the word “extreme” might make you think these sports aren’t your thing, you could be wrong! Most of us have tried an extreme sport—like scuba diving and or ziplining—on vacation. Or, at least, we want to!

Within Manitoba, if you practice or play these sports and get hurt, your Manitoba Health Plan will cover you. But when you’re away? You’re vulnerable. Most plans don’t cover these sports without you intentionally seeking out additional coverage. So if you get hurt while participating, even if you have basic travel insurance, you could end up footing the bill.

Whether you’re a true extreme athlete or just a vacation thrill-seeker, it’s worth putting high-risk sport insurance on your radar. In this post, you’ll learn all the most-know info—and have tons of opportunities to get a free quote if you need one. Like right now!

Already know you need Extreme Sport Travel Insurance?

How Extreme Sports Travel Insurance Coverage Works in Canada

Most insurance companies offer enhanced Extreme Sports, Adventure Sports, and Sport and Activities Coverages as an optional travel insurance add-on. With this specialized coverage in place, you can rest easy knowing that your insurance company will pay any reasonable and customary charges for medical-related expenses (up to the maximum coverage limit).

This can include a critical, sudden, or unexpected emergency medical condition or injury that happens while you are participating in, or training or practicing for, the sport or activity you’re covered for.

Considerations When Buying Extreme Sports Insurance

It’s important to remember there may be specific clauses that apply in order for your coverage to be valid.  Some details that could affect your coverage include:

  • Possessing recognized certifications (For scuba diving, a dive certificate is required)
  • An activity’s level of difficulty (For rock climbing, only Class 1–3 climbs in Yosemite Decimal System could be covered)
  • Practicing a sport on marked trails (Skiing and mountain biking coverage only applies if you stay on marked trails)

Which Sports Are Considered “Extreme”

Standard or basic sports are any activities people engage in during regular, daily life. Things like getting a few friends together to play hockey, joining a soccer team, or playing football all count because they don’t involve particularly high levels of risk. Anything above and beyond that could be considered extreme by your insurance company.

Extreme Summer Sports

Extreme summer sports are played when the weather is warmer, the days are longer, and all you need to wear is a t-shirt, shorts, sunscreen, and the proper protective gear.

Think extreme activities and sports like:

  • Waterfall kayaking
  • Wingsuit flying
  • Rodeo
  • Bull riding/fighting
  • BASE jumping
  • Hanging gliding
  • Bungee jumping
  • Zip-lining
  • Scuba diving

Extreme Winter Sports

Winter sports typically rely on snow, ice, and those bitter-cold, negative temperatures that true Manitobans fully embrace!

They’re extreme activities and sports like:

  • High-risk snowmobiling
  • Snow kiting
  • Ice yachting
  • Snow kayaking
  • SnoCross
  • Shovel racing

What Your Extreme Sports Insurance Policy Covers

Because extreme and adventure sports are not always covered by standard health, life, and travel insurance, if they’re part of your life—while you’re at home or on vacation—you’ll want to look into insurance extension options that you can add-on to a more basic plan.

What specifically is covered in extreme sports insurance plans varies by insurance company, but many will offer Adventure Sports Insurance, Extreme Sports Insurance, and Sports and Activities coverage as add-ons.

Related: A Complete Guide to Winter Sports & Ski Holiday Insurance

Make Sure You Have All The Right Coverage

You may be an extreme risk taker when it comes to your activities, but we recommend you play it safe when it comes to your coverage.

If you’re in your 20s or 30s and are just starting to think about insurance beyond what you may have gotten from work/ your province, we recommend downloading our free Guide To Insurance For Manitobans in their 20s and 30s. In this simple, easy-to-read guide, we break down all the insurance policies that we recommend you take advantage of while your young and healthy.

Just like you wouldn’t jump on your bike without your helmet, don’t jump into life without the proper coverage.

Adventure Sports Insurance

Adventure Sports and Extreme Sports Insurance options always cover a predetermined list of high-risk activities and sports, but each insurer will have its own list, so it will be important that you specifically ask if your favourite sports are covered by the insurers you speak to. That said, here are some examples of extreme sports insurance options and the sports they cover!

Adventure Sports Insurance gives you coverage to the policy limit for sports like:

  • Backcountry ski/snowboarding
  • Boxing
  • Downhill freestyle ski/snowboarding in organized competitions
  • Ice climbing
  • Mixed martial arts
  • Mountaineering
  • Rock climbing
  • Downhill mountain biking

Extreme Sports Insurance

This plan will cover you for up to $500,000 for the following extreme sports:

  • BASE jumping
  • Hang gliding/paragliding
  • High-risk snowmobiling
  • Motorized speed contests
  • Parachuting/skydiving/tandem skydiving
  • Scuba diving or freediving (over 40 metres)
  • White water sports – Class VI
  • Wingsuit flying

Sports & Activities Insurance

This plan will cover any “reasonable and customary expenses” for medical and related expenses up to your coverage limits for an emergency, sports-related medical condition. (As long as the sport is included on their list of covered activities!)

Activities that are typically included are:

  • Backcountry skiing and snowboarding
  • Ice climbing
  • Mountaineering
  • Rock climbing
  • Downhill freestyle skiing and snowboarding in organized competitions
  • Downhill mountain biking 
  • High-risk snowmobiling
  • Motorized speed contests
  • Skydiving

Just know that the charges they pay for must be the result of an emergency that happens after your coverage begins—not an existing or chronic condition—and must happen outside of your home province or country.

Finding The Right Insurance Coverage

Not all extreme sports insurance options are the same. Sometimes one insurance company covers your sport, while another does not! And, sometimes the right coverage depends on where you’ll be playing your sport. Before you buy a policy, explain your specific extreme sport plans and circumstances to an Insurance Consultant, so they can make sure you have the exact coverage you need.

Extreme Sports Insurance Within Manitoba & Canada

The right extreme sports coverage within Canada all depends on what kind of insurance protection you have, and what you’re looking to protect. Typically, when accidents happen in Canada and you require medical attention, you’ll be covered under the Manitoba Health Plan. If you have employee benefits through work or your own individual health plan, you’re also likely to get enhanced coverage. Just keep in mind that there may be exclusions in these policies that would negate coverage in these instances. It’s best to always look into all the insurance coverage you have in place before you play, so you can fill any gaps.

Canadian Travel Insurance & Extreme Sports Activity Coverage

If you have a group plan with your employer or an individual health plan, you’ll likely have coverage for out-of-country travel, but remember that there will likely be exclusions if you’re traveling to play extreme sports! Again, it’s best to look into your coverage in-detail before going. And, since there will likely be gaps, we highly recommend purchasing an extreme sports travel insurance policy that goes over-and-above your baseline health plan coverage. This way, you’ll have options to add coverage for activities that would normally be excluded under a group policy.

To find the coverage that’s right for you and the extreme sports you love to play, talk to our expert Insurance Consultants. We’re licensed to sell insurance and because we represent you (not the insurance companies), we’ll make sure you get the advice and protection you really need.

Frequently Asked Questions About Extreme Sports Travel Insurance

In most scenarios, basic travel medical insurance reimburses you for any covered financial losses after you file a claim and that claim is approved. In other words, if you get hurt or sick while traveling, you pay for any medical bills upfront, file a claim when you get back, and then your insurer pays you back. (As long as your claim is allowed!)

Note: To file a claim, you’ll need to submit proof of your loss, so be sure you keep all necessary paperwork and evidence related to your accident.

If you have travel insurance and your sport or activity is not listed as an exclusion on your policy, you’ll be covered under the Emergency Medical Insurance plan. However, if your sport is listed as an exclusion, then it’s considered an extreme sport and won’t be covered. In that case, you’ll need to purchase additional coverage to enhance your emergency medical plan.

It depends on your credit card provider, as every company is different, but it’s very likely that extreme sports will be excluded from your credit card company’s policy.  Contact your provider to learn which sport activities are covered and the limit of coverage you have access to.

Adventure sports are only covered by travel insurance when you purchase optional coverage that gets added-on to your emergency medical plan.

If you’re injured outside of Canada and you don’t have specific extreme or adventure sport insurance in place, you would have to cover any medical fees and expenses you incur out of your pocket. This means paying for everything from hospitalization to medication to ambulance transportation to treatment fees, which can get very expensive, very fast.

If you’re coaching or teaching any extreme sports or activities but aren’t actually participating in them, you don’t need to purchase additional insurance. Your standard travel insurance will be sufficient.

Let’s Get You Covered!

As insurance brokers, we work with a variety of different insurance companies that each offer unique adventure and extreme sports insurance options. To secure the best one for you, get in touch with us. We’ll assign an Insurance Consultant to review your unique needs, and match you up with the best protection for your situation!