Sports Insurance for International Students

Students participating in sports are constantly pushing their bodies to the limit and are taking on a greater risk of injury than students who are not. Sports insurance for international students becomes even more critical than ever in these cases, and finding the right insurance plan for your situation is particularly important. Not every insurance policy will cover sports, and in many cases they will include or exclude coverage based on sports categories such as organized sports, extreme/adventure sports, contact sports, or recreational sports.

In this post, we will explore those main sport categories, and how international student insurance plans deal with coverage.

Organized Sports

Organized sports, as defined in insurance terms, usually include intercollegiate, interscholastic, intramural or club sport participation. If your sport requires organized practices or events, if you have a coach, or if you signed up for the sports through your school, it is most likely an organized sport. This definition does not include semi-professional and professional sports, which are usually in their own category, and in general are not covered by most international student or travel medical plans.

Coverage for organized sports is not inherent in most international student plans, and is commonly excluded from coverage. But not to worry! There are a few international student plans that do include coverage for organized sports, usually with a maximum limit per injury. The Student Secure Budget and Select levels both include coverage for up to $3,000 per injury (Budget) or $5,000 per injury (Select) for organized sports and the Student Health Advantage Standard and Platinum plans includes organized sports coverage up to $5,000 per injury.

Extreme/Adventure Sports

Extreme sports, also known as adventure sports, are activities perceived as having a high level of inherent danger. These activities often involve speed, height, a high level of physical exertion, and, in most cases, highly specialized gear. These kinds of activities are often undertaken for thrill seeking, and thus can expose the participant to abnormal risk that exceeds even that of organized sports.

Although most travel medical plans exclude coverage for organized sports, some policies will include limited coverage for extreme/adventure sports, or there may be an additional  rider that can be added to the plan for an additional cost. These plans will often list the exact sports that are covered and/or those that are excluded from coverage.

For example, the Atlas Travel plan includes coverage for all extreme sports that are not excluded specifically in the policy. Excluded sports include aviation, base jumping, parachuting, parasailing, hang-gliding, sky surfing, paragliding, kite-surfing, off-road motorized vehicles, heli-skiing, white water rafting, racing, spelunking, cave diving, diving unless certified, avalanche training, rugby, hunting, running with the bulls, bobsleigh, skeleton, luge, boxing or martial arts, piloting a hot air ballooning, jousting, pentathlon, powerlifting, quad biking, speed trials, speedway, or wrestling. Any extreme sports not listed would therefore be covered the same as any other illness.

The Patriot Travel plan is an example of a plan that offers an Adventure Sports rider. Here’s a summary of the terms of the rider from IMG, the insurance administrator of the Patriot Travel plan.

“The following activities are covered to the lifetime maximum amounts listed below as long as they are engaged solely for leisure, recreation, or entertainment purposes: abseiling, BMX, bobsledding, bungee jumping, canyoning, caving, hang gliding, heli-skiing, high diving, hot air ballooning, inline skating, jet skiing, jungle zip lining, kayaking, mountain biking, parachuting, paragliding, parascending, piloting a non-commercial aircraft, rappelling, rock climbing or mountaineering (ropes and guides to 4500m from ground level), scuba diving (to 50m), sky diving, snorkeling, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snow skiing, spelunking, surfing, trekking, whitewater rafting (to Class V), and wildlife safaris, and windsurfing.  All such activities must be carried out in strict accordance with the rules, regulations and guidelines of the applicable Governing Body or Authority of each such activity.”

There are certain sports,however, that are never covered by the Patriot Travel plan, regardless of whether or not the Adventure Sports rider is purchased. These include contact sports of any kind, racing of any kind, any rodeo activity, BASE jumping, kiteboarding, mountaineering or climbing or trekking above elevation 4500 meters above ground level or without proper ropes or guides; luge, motocross, Moto-X, ski jumping, sub-aquatic activities below 50 meters, whitewater rafting exceeding Class V difficulty, and/or adventure sports activity not expressly covered.

Contact Sports

A contact sport is defined as a sport in which players come into physical contact with each other as part of normal play. Hockey, soccer, football, and martial arts are just a few examples of contact sports. Similar to extreme sports, contact sports increase your risk of injury and like the Patriot Travel example above, many plans specifically exclude contact sports, even if they cover other sports. However, if you’ll be participating in contact sports, make sure your insurance plan includes this. The Student Secure Budget and Select cover all organized sports, even if they are considered contact sports.

Recreational, Leisure, or Fitness Sports

Some sports don’t fit into any of these categories. If you like to jog to keep fit, play tennis for fun on the weekends, or play catch with your friends, these types of sports activities fall into another category called Recreational, Leisure, or Fitness sports. These are activities people engage in during their free time, and are  undertaken purely for recreation, leisure, or fitness purposes. They are therefore not considered organized, extreme, or contact, and are usually covered under the general medical benefits of an international student insurance plan or even a travel medical plan.

Not All Insurance Is Equal

Carefully consider your sports participation when shopping for an insurance plan. Using the guidance above, determine which categories of sport you’ll be participating in and find an insurance policy that will protect you in case of any resulting injuries. Every insurance plan will specifically define which types of sports are included or excluded from that particular plan. Check the master policy to be sure that the sports you partake in are covered.

For help, feel free to email, chat or call our licensed insurance agents at any time.

Posted by Victoria Troupe

Victoria is currently a marketing specialist with Envisage International. She has had the opportunity to live and study around the world, including Germany, Poland, and China. A native of Wyoming, Victoria received her Bachelor's degree from the University of Wyoming, her MBA from the University of North Florida and her Master's of Intercultural Communication from Fachhochschule Köln, in Cologne, Germany.

14 thoughts on “Sports Insurance for International Students”

Egeonu princess chidinma says:

hello sir/ma is there any requirements to register?

Hello. You can sign up for our Student Secure plan as long as you are a full-time international student studying outside your home country. Here is the link:

The Atlas Travel plan is available to anyone traveling outside of their home country. You can sign up here:

Just let us know if you have any additional questions! You can call us at 904-758-4391 or email us at

Chris says:

How do I get medical cover with greater than $5000 per injury please ? My son is playing rugby for US university and we need a higher cap for potential claims.

Chris, we unfortunately don’t offer any plans coverage of more than $5,000 per injury at this time. His school may offer a plan with more coverage for sports.

Kim says:

Hi my daughter has an athletics scholarship starting in August at a Texas university. They provide insurance but only for when she is involved in college activities. What sort of delta insurance should I get to provide 100% coverage?

Hi Kim,

Your daughter is eligible for the International Student Insurance plan. You can choose from four levels of coverage – Smart, Budget, Select, or Elite, and all will cover her anywhere outside of her home country, during school activities and outside of school. She just needs to be a full time international student to be eligible.

While no plan will provide 100% coverage, I would recommend the Elite level, which has a deductible of only $25 and covers 100% of eligible expenses after that. It also includes coverage for organized sports.

Here is the link:

Send us an email or give us a call if you have further questions:


Ellen says:

My son is doing Ice skating in Germany for 6 months he needs to get insurance to cover 12 months for his German visa what would be the best option.

Bryanna Davis says:

Hi Ellen,

Thanks for your message. We have a number of plans that might work well for your son, such as our Student Secure plan. However, I’ve sent you an email to first gather further details. We look forward to helping you further.

Michelle hogan says:

My son is going to university in Houston Victoria on a football scholarship. I have been told by the uni that I have to have a domestic policy from USAand have provided 2 American companies., They said I can’t use a foreign company because their physician won’t use them. Is this true?

Hi Michelle,

Thanks for your blog comment. It’s up to any provider (doctor, hospital, clinic, etc) how they wish to charge for their services and whether they would accept an insurance. Some providers may make your son pay upfront and then he would file a claim for reimbursement with the insurance company. Other providers may bill the insurance company directly if they are part of a network of providers.

We would recommend checking with your insurance company to see where they have providers available. Our Student Secure plan, levels Budget, Select, and Elite offer sports coverage for intercollegiate, interscholastic, intramural, or club sports. This plan works with the First Health network which has providers all across the US.

Please send us an email or give us a call if you have further questions:


Maddison Brackenreg says:

Hi Victoria,

I am a full-time international student-athlete at a university in Texas and my university requires me to have a minimum coverage of $20,000. I am currently on the “Select” plan but I plan to change to “Budget.” Can you please advise me on the best plan to take which will also save me some money? If possible, you can also email me to the email I’ve provided.

Thank you!

Leah Hammond says:

Hi Maddison,

Thank you for visiting our blog.

The Budget, Select, and Elite levels of the plan include coverage for intercollegiate, interscholastic, intramural, and club sports. The Budget level will cover up to $3,000 per eligible injury or illness, while the Select and Elite levels will cover up to $5,000 per eligible sports-related injury or illness. We, unfortunately, do not offer any plans that will cover up to $20,000 for intercollegiate sports.

I’ve also sent you an email with this information, but please feel free to contact us if you have any questions!

Tom says:

How much is this plan

Hi Tom,

Thanks for your message. The plan’s price will be based on the length of coverage and your age. If you’d like a quote, please email us with your date of birth and exact coverage dates at Also, please indicate in the message if you are an international student or just need travel insurance.


Leave a Reply

Compare plans fitting your coverage needs

Get updates via email: