Do your research, planning and safety checks first
Thinking about time away from your everyday life? Are you planning to simply relax by the pool or maybe try some new, more adventurous activities? If it’s the latter, you’re not alone. Are you curious about how incredible it must be to explore sunken ships, skydive in a foreign country or zipline over mountains? Well, times are changing. Some of the top 25 recreational activities for first-time participants1 (listed in no particular order) include:
- Scuba diving
- Skydiving and paragliding
- White water rafting
- Rock climbing and mountaineering
- Surfing and stand up paddle boarding
As exciting and liberating as this all sounds, whether your adventure is on the ground, in the water or in the air – make sure you do a little homework first.
6 safety tips for maximizing adventure sports activities
- Do your research: Check the Internet, references from friends and even chat with experts about the activity you want to do on your escape.
- Know your environment: Learn about the terrain, weather challenges or other risks you have to monitor before and during your excursion.
- The right gear: Most everything has some safety requirements, protocols and gear. Even if you have a guide, make sure you fundamentally understand how to use and wear everything they say you need.
- Buddy system: Regardless of your experience, having a partner on your excursion can make it more fun and increase the potential for safety (having an extra set of eyes to avoid issues or make that 911 call).
- Training or certification: Based on the type and frequency of the activity, you might want to explore some preliminary training or – if you’re really passionate about it – certification. If it’s more of a one-time event, make sure you choose businesses or individuals with high safety records.
- Health check: As ambitious as you might be, should you even be doing this activity? Could you be unfit to participate (e.g. health condition, fatigue, drinking the night before, etc.)? This is a real wild card that IS within your control. If you question this at all, don’t do it. Wait until you’re ready.
Oddly enough, here’s our last tip: don’t forget about checking on life insurance. Why? Because whether you are looking to get coverage or already have a policy, some have exclusions specifically focused on certain activities. So just be your own advocate and find out what you need to know.
Balancing adventure sports and life insurance
- All causes life insurance: Many term life insurance policies cover all possible causes of death – including an unfortunate outcome from your spelunking event should you not – um – return home. However, if you do certain activities regularly, it could affect what you pay.
- Accidental death insurance: Some adventure activities may not be covered under an accidental death policy because those circumstances could be viewed as preventable – not accidental in most cases. Typical activities that may not be covered include:
- Rock or mountain climbing
- Bungee Jumping
- Honesty is your best option: Full disclosure at the time you apply is your best option to ensure the greatest potential for life insurance coverage at the most reasonable rates (given your high-spirited activities). If you are applying for life insurance and participate in (or are certified in) a sport, make sure to mention those activities when you apply. Any false information you provide to get your coverage could invalidate it, compromise your policy status and eliminate the release of funds to your beneficiaries at the worst possible time.
Quite simply, all you really need to know is that every policy is unique – and may or may not have exclusions for specialty or adventure activities. However, if there are some exclusions you didn’t anticipate, just know there are probably alternative coverages available in the life insurance universe.
In the big picture though, if you’re lucky enough to have some of these types of life experiences, then celebrate them now. As author William Mather Lewis said, “The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.”
1 25 Most Popular Recreational Activities for First-Time Participants, List25.com – April 28, 2014