Travel Checklist for Skydivers
- Is it a one-off trip, or am I planning to make others?
- Ask about multi-trip policies – it might work out cheaper
- For medical cover:
- Does it cover skydiving accidents?
- Does it cover non-skydiving medical emergencies?
- Does it include repatriation?
- How much is the premium?
- Is there a discount for British Skydiving members?
- What is the duration of the policy?
- What are the conditions/limitations, for example what type/s of skydiving are covered? Are there limits on the number and type of jumps that you can make? Make sure the policy covers you for the number of jumps you plan to make – and some extra, for good measure, so you do not risk ending up uninsured.
- What is the maximum cover? (£2m+ is advisable)
- Is there any excess (an amount of a claim you have to pay yourself before the policy kicks in)?
- What other cover is included or can be added?
- Travel delay or cancellation; loss of deposit
- Personal accident cover
- Parachute equipment insurance
- Baggage insurance
- Personal liability / legal expenses.
Before you buy, remember to check:
- all the important details of cover and benefits
- any significant or unusual restrictions or exclusions
- any significant conditions or obligations you must meet
- the period of cover
- information on costs.
Carriage of parachuting equipment on commercial flights
You may find it helpful to download and take with you on any international travels a copy of the letter from the CAA about carriage of the Cybernetic Parachute Release System (Cypres) by air. Travelling skydivers may also find it helpful to download the X-Ray information cards from Cypres and Vigil.
Members have reported problems in seeking to carry parachuting equipment on commercial aircraft as hand luggage. The British Skydiving has checked with the Transport Security and Contingencies Directorate of the UK Government’s Department for Transport who advise (August 2009) that:
“The Department has issued legally binding Directions on airports and airlines in the UK requiring them not to allow into an airport’s restricted zone, or onto an aircraft, any item which could be used as a potential weapon or pose a threat to the aircraft or any person traveling on it. However, whilst [we] acknowledge that a sports parachute is not specifically on the list of prohibited articles, the list is not exhaustive and [we] can confirm it is at the airport manager’s discretion to also prohibit any other article which, in the reasonable contemplation of the aerodrome manager or aircraft operator, might be used or adapted for causing injury or incapacitation of a person.”
To reduce the risk of a problem, Tony Butler, British Skydiving Chief Operating Officer, advises:
“I’ve been taking parachutes on flights abroad for 30 years and have never had a problem. I always put my parachute in my main luggage, never hand luggage.”
General travel tips
Buy a guidebook to read up on your destination. Speak to other British skydivers who have visited the country.
Check the travel advice for your destination at the gov.uk website before you go.
Ensure that your passport is valid and that the ‘next of kin’ details are filled in. Take photocopies, keep one with you when you travel and leave the other with family or friends in the UK.
Get the contact details of the nearest British Consulate to where you will be staying. Keep them with you while you are there – they could come in useful if you find yourself in any difficulty.
Check out the medical requirements for travel online or with your GP, for example you may need vaccinations if you are travelling to certain parts of the world.
Travel insurers who may cover skydiving
Insurance premiums for everything have increased over recent years. But a premium is still a small price to pay for the peace of mind that a good insurance policy brings to you and your kin.
Some travel insurance companies are listed below. British Skydiving does not recommend any particular insurance company, but offers the following list of insurance companies as possible options purely for information. There may be other insurance companies offering relevant policies that are not listed below – the list makes no claim to be comprehensive.
If you shop around you can still get comparatively good deals – but watch the small print to make sure you are getting what you need. Read the detailed wording of the policy carefully – there is nothing worse than assuming you have insurance cover, but finding out too late that you have not. You need to be absolutely clear what the policy covers even within skydiving. Is it any number of jumps, or up to a specified maximum number? Or does it cover just one tandem skydive? And, if you are taking part in a competition, does it cover competition jumps? If in doubt, always ask. It’s going to be your insurance policy so you need to be absolutely clear what it covers – and what it doesn’t cover.
And if you are planning to take part in other sports or activities as well as skydiving, make sure that your insurance policy covers these, too.
The responsibility to ensure that you have adequate cover is yours. If a policy on offer is not what you need, try a different insurance company. Shop around, compare and contrast what is available. Not all policies are the same. Not all insurers cover the same things. Ensure that you and your skydiving activities meet all of the conditions for the policy to apply and be valid. Be aware there may be an excess, an amount of a claim you have to pay yourself before the policy will pay out. Check the amount of the excess – it may vary between one policy and another. A policy may have a lower premium if it has a higher excess.
Make sure you know the coverage of the policy you are thinking of buying, and that the coverage is what you need. It is up to you to find out. Make sure you have it in writing, such as in the policy wording. If you need help to find what you are looking for in the wording of the policy document, ask the insurer to help.
In particular, make sure that the policy covers the countires in which you intend to skydive. Some policies may apply only to the UK, the EU, or specified countries. Make sure you find out – always ask, so you are in no doubt about what a particular policy covers – and, just as importantly, what it doesn’t cover. Ask, and always get it in writing. (We’re sorry to labour these points, but they really are so fundamentally important.)
Never be tempted to be lazy and assume something is covered by a policy if you are not sure. It’s better to assume something is NOT covered unless cover is confirmed in writing in the policy wording. A bit of effort and application when you take out insurance can save huge problems – and lots of money – by ensuring that you are fully and properly protected by adequate insurance to cover the risks. Direct costs such as medical treatment overseas and an air ambulance to fly home can cost a fortune, quite apart from convalescence costs and lost earnings if you are not fit and well enough to work when you get home.
Swap notes with other skydivers to find out their experiences of insurance.
Remember, it’s too late to discover you are not covered when you need to make a claim, so do your homework in advance – it can only be to your benefit. It is now, when you are selecting your policy, that you need to take the time to make sure you get it right.
You may need more than one policy to cover everything you want, but check first to see if you can get it on a combined policy from the same insurer, as it may work out cheaper, if available.
Insurers that offer travel insurance for skydivers operate in a competitive market. The cover available to those taking out a new policy may have changed, even with an established product, and new products may be introduced and others withdrawn.
One way to find out about currently available travel insurance products, and about other skydivers’ experiences of buying and using them, is to ask around your local drop zone and/or check the various social media groups dedicated to skydiving where you can search for discussion threads on insurance to get information, news and views. Please note that British Skydiving does not recommend any particular insurance provider and British Skydiving is not responsible for the content of third-party groups or websites.