Insurance Coverage for Organized, Adventure, and Recreational Sports

For the past two weeks, I’ve been visiting my sister, helping to take care of her after she suffered a season ending knee injury while playing in a high-level club ultimate frisbee tournament. This has been a challenging time for her – she can’t walk on her own and is having to take time off from her job as a physical therapist. As stressful as this has been, one thing she hasn’t had to worry about is the cost of her medical bills. From the initial MRI, outpatient surgery and anesthesia costs, to a wheelchair, follow-up appointments, and bi-weekly physical therapy appointments, she is thankful that she has an insurance plan that will cover these expenses. 

As an international student, it’s important that you have insurance in place to cover you in case the unexpected happens. If you’re someone who participates in sports, you are at a greater risk of getting hurt, so it’s even more important to make sure you have a plan that covers sports-related injuries. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the different categories of sports – from organized sports, adventure sports, and recreational sports – and what insurance options are available to cover each situation! 

Organized Sports 

If you play sports through your high school, college, or university, or if the sport involves organized practices, games, or events, it would be considered an organized sport. Interscholastic, intercollegiate, intramural, and club sports are all considered organized sports. 

Health Insurance Options for Organized Sports 

Some schools may have health insurance coverage in place specifically for athletes that will cover them during practices and games, but this may not always be the case. If you partake in organized sports through your school or are involved in a club sport, you’ll want to make sure to confirm what coverage, if any, will be provided to you. 

Traditional travel insurance plans don’t commonly include coverage for organized sports, but many plans designed specifically for international students will either include this coverage or will allow you to add an optional rider to cover these kinds of sports, normally up to a maximum limit per injury. Below, you’ll see four different plan options that are offered at ISI that either include sports coverage or that allow you to add an optional rider to include coverage for organized sports. 

Student Secure Plan

ISI Protect Plan 

Student Health Advantage Plan 

Patriot Exchange Plan 

Coverage for Interscholastic, Intercollegiate, Intramural, and Club Sports can be added as an Optional Sports RiderIncludes coverage for School Sports Includes coverage for Interscholastic, Intercollegiate, Intramural, and Club Sports Coverage for Interscholastic Athletics, Intramural Sports and Club Sports can be added as an Optional Add-On Rider 
Smart: Not Covered
Budget: $3,000 maximum per injury 
Select and Elite: $5,000 maximum per injury
Economy: Not Covered
Economy Plus, Business Class and First Class: $5,000 per injury 
Standard and Platinum: $5,000 per injuryCovered up to the selected per injury/illness maximum 

It’s important to remember that semi-professional and professional sports, or any activity that is performed in a professional capacity or for any wage, reward, or profit would not be covered by these plans. 

Adventure Sports

Are you an adrenaline junkie who spends your weekends mountain climbing, bungee jumping, or skydiving? If so, you’ll want to make sure that you have a health insurance plan that includes coverage for adventure sports. 

Adventure sports are defined as activities undertaken for the purposes of recreation, an unusual experience, or excitement. These activities are typically undertaken outdoors and involve a medium degree of risk. Activities like bungee jumping, canyoning, zip lining, skydiving, and windsurfing are all considered to be adventure sports.

Health Insurance Options for Adventure Sports 

Generally, health insurance plans will include coverage for recreational sports and activities, but the policy wording will include a list of specific activities, mainly consisting of adventure sports, that won’t be covered by the plan. If you’re someone who likes to partake in adventure sports, you’ll want to make sure your health insurance plan would cover you in case you were to get injured during the activities that you enjoy. 

While some plans will include limited coverage for adventure sports, and others will exclude them all together, there are plan options available that allow you to add an adventure sports rider that will cover certain adventure sports. At ISI, we offer three different plan options that allow you to add a rider to your plan that will cover specific adventure sports. 

Patriot Travel Plan 

Patriot Exchange Plan 

Student Health Advantage Plan 


ISI Protect 

Sports Covered by the Adventure Sports Rider: 
abseiling; BMX; bobsledding; bungee jumping; canyoning; caving; hot air ballooning; jungle zip lining; parachuting; paragliding; parascending; rappelling; skydiving; spelunking; whitewater kayaking or whitewater rafting in water less than Class V difficulty; wildlife safaris; and windsurfing
Sports Covered by the Adventure Sports Rider: 
abseiling, BMX, bob-sledding, bungee jumping, canyoning, caving, hot air ballooning, kitesurfing and kiteboarding, mountaineering below 4,500 meters from ground level, zip lining, parachuting, paragliding, parascending, rappelling, scuba-diving or sub-aqua pursuits to a depth not to exceed 20 meters skydiving, spelunking, whitewater kayaking or whitewater rafting in water less than Class V difficult, wildlife safaris, windsurfing 
Lifetime Maximum
Age 0 to 49: $50,000
Age 50 to 59: $30,000
Age 60 to 64: $15,000
Lifetime Maximum 
Age 15 to 49: $50,000 
Age 50 to 59: $25,000 
Age 60 to 64: $10,000 

Please keep in mind that there are some adventure sports that won’t be covered, even if the adventure sports rider is added, so it’s important to review the plan wording or contact the insurance carrier prior to purchasing the plan to confirm if a specific activity would be covered. 

Recreational, Leisure, and Fitness Sports 

Even if you don’t play a sport for your school, or you’re not into high-risk adventure sports, you’ll still want to make sure you are covered if you like to participate in any recreational, leisure, or fitness sports. These kinds of activities are non-organized, non-contact, non-collision, and are solely for recreational, entertainment or fitness purposes. 

If you like to go for a run to destress, are a member at your local gym or participate in group fitness classes, or if you just like to play tennis with your friends for fun, you will want to have coverage for recreational, leisure, and fitness sports and activities. 

Health Insurance Options for Recreational, Leisure, and Fitness Sports 

The good news is that recreational, leisure, and fitness sports are normally included in the general medical benefits of most international student health insurance plans and travel medical insurance plans. As long as the activity does not involve regularly scheduled practice and/or games, is not considered an intercollegiate, interscholastic, intramural, or club sport, is not performed in a professional capacity or for any wage, reward, or profit, and is not related to any of the sports and activities listed in the general exclusions of the plan wording, recreational, leisure, and fitness sports would be covered the same as any other injury or illness covered by the plan. Most of the plans we offer at ISI include coverage for these activities, and some different options are highlighted below. 

Student Secure Plan

Atlas Travel Plan 

Student Health Advantage Plan 

Patriot Travel Plan 

Coverage for Recreational, Leisure, and Fitness Sports: 
Covered up to the Maximum Limit 

Whether you’re someone who plays for your school’s basketball team, likes to get your blood pumping with adventure sports, or just enjoys staying fit by going to the gym, it’s important to always make sure you are prepared in case the unexpected happens. When considering what health insurance plan is best for you, you will want to make sure you’re covered for whatever activities you participate in, so make sure to review the benefits and exclusions before purchasing a plan. If you have questions on specific activities that may or may not be covered, please contact us for assistance.


Posted by Leah Hammond

Leah's passion for international travel and her background in customer relations brought her to Envisage International. She received her Bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management from Florida State University.

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