If the mountain won't come to...
The hills are alive with the sounds of people gasping for breath as the great and the good take to the UK hills at weekends in Day-Glo-coloured fleeces for a gentle ramble or some serious rock climbing.
The more adventurous are heading abroad to conquer more challenging peaks.
Previously something of a minority sport, hill climbing/mountaineering has really taken off and no wonder, what with previously unthinkable destinations now within reach.
Thrills and spills . . . and medical bills
You may think you're Superman or Superwoman but if you're going mountaineering then you need a tailor-made policy to suit.
Run-of-the-mill travel insurance may cover you for loss of luggage or holiday cancellation.
But it won't cover you for the thrills and spills of adventure activities, or meet any of the associated rescue/medical bills.
If your destination happens to be in a developing country, then you need to take extra precautions with your health and pay even more attention to travel insurance.
- According to MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad) between 30-80% of travellers visiting developing countries will experience travellers' diarrhoea.
- Plus, if you're visiting the high mountains, any sort of infection can increase your risk of altitude illness.
Mountaineering & Rock Climbing Insurance Companies
The British Mountaineering Council (thebmc.co.uk) claims to offer the best range of travel insurance policies available for hill walkers, climbers and mountaineers.
Whether you're sitting on the beach or climbing K2, they've got a policy to suit.
Policies available range from 3 days to annual, UK, Europe, Worldwide, including cover for most sports.
There are 5 policies to choose from. Between them they provide cover for a range of leisure, hill walking, trekking, climbing, skiing, and mountaineering activities.
For couch potatoes who are not taking part in any sports, but want basic leisure, medical, travel and baggage cover (3-day Travel cover for the UK - £6; Europe for 10 days - £21; worldwide for 31 days £58).
Trekking & walking
All Travel activities are covered plus: hill walking, trekking, backpacking and easy scrambles including via ferrata and trekking routes (3-day Trek cover for the UK - £10; 10-day cover for Europe £28; 31-day cover worldwide £74).
All Trek activities are covered plus: abseiling, sport climbing, bouldering and climbing with leader placed protection (3-day Rock cover for the UK £10; 10-day cover for Europe £28; 31-day cover worldwide £70).
Alpine & Ski
All Rock activities are covered plus: winter sports including all forms of skiing and snow and ice climbing in alpine mountains and on non-Expedition peaks up to 6,500m (3-day Alpine & Ski cover for the UK £14; 10-day cover for Europe £42; 31-day cover worldwide £93).
All Alpine & Ski activities are covered plus: climbs and expeditions to remote, difficult and high-altitude peaks anywhere in the world.
This includes all expeditions attempting new routes or exploratory mountaineering in the Greater Ranges - the high mountains of Asia and South America and the mountains of the Arctic and Antarctic.
Unlike other insurers BMC don't limit this policy with height or route restrictions. Where?
British Mountaineering Council Areas Covered
Examples of areas covered under BMC travel and activity insurance policies include -
- European Alps
- Southern Alps of New Zealand
- Mount Kenya
- Canadian Rockies
- Greater Ranges below 6,500m.
If you want to ascend Mont Blanc or climb in the Bugaboos, Colorado or Wind Rivers and/or go skiing anywhere then Alpine & Ski provides the cover that you need.
But if you want to make an ascent of a new route in the Greater Ranges or climb in a remote or inaccessible region or climb a peak above 6,500m then you need Expedition cover.
You have to be a member to buy any of the BMC's travel insurance policies -
- Individuals - £25 (£14 if you're unemployed, under 18 or a student).
- Family membership - £42.50 for up to 2 adults and 3 children.
Children under 2 years old are covered free with an insured adult.
Premiums for children
Premiums for children aged 2 to 15 (inclusive) at time of travel and travelling with the insured adult can be covered for the following rates:
- Travel 50% premium discount
- Trek 33% premium discount
- Rock Full premium
- Alpine & Ski Full premium
- Expedition Full premium
Travellers aged 66 and over
There is no age limit on BMC insurance. But premiums for people aged 66 and over are 70% higher than standard rates.
Membership comes with a wide range of benefits, and helps support climbing, hillwalking, and mountaineering in the UK.
Benefits include -
- Free worldwide Personal Accident and Civil Liability Insurance cover - up to £10,000 personal accident disability insurance and up to £5m personal liability insurance. Handy to have if, say, you're climbing and drop a piece of rock or equipment on another climber who then decides to sue you. The cover doesn't apply to people who are acting as professional instructors, guides etc.
- Online services and discounts from MASTA (Medical Advisory Services for Travellers Abroad), one of the leading authorities on worldwide travel health, providing all the information you need on immunisations, minimising risk and the latest news on any outbreaks.
On this site you can obtain a health brief for your journey containing up-to-date advice on the recommended vaccines, malaria tablets, any recent disease outbreak information plus a summary of the safety advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
You can also access MASTA'S health library full of information and tips on staying healthy abroad plus details of its network of travel clinics throughout the UK.
10% off Insurance Premiums
BMC members are eligible for 10% off all items in the MASTA Travel Shop including the Health Brief.
Plus BMC members can tap into to retail discounts - usually 10% - from a range of suppliers of top-of-the-range outdoor clothing and equipment, including leading retailers Field and Trek and Cotswold Outdoor.