Cover Up: Triathlon Travel Insurance

You’re asking for trouble if you don’t take out insurance when you travel abroad for training or racing

by Liz King

Join the club

Membership of the British Triathlon Federation (BTF) will provide worldwide public liability insurance up to £5m per case. According to the BTF website this "includes claims arising from club activities while at home or abroad, social functions/meetings, sporting activities of triathlon, duathlon and related multi-sport activities which are formed from a combination of swimming, cycling and running".

You can get cover as standard up to age 75, and apply for cover even if you are over 75 and still travelling to train or compete. If racing in the US or Canada you will need additional cover.

Adam Elliott, the BTF's Performance Age Group Administrator, says, "If you need to make a claim, do so as soon as possible after any incident. You would need to telephone British Triathlon so that your membership details and a brief description of the incident can be taken. A report will then be sent immediately to our appointed solicitors and/or insurers."

Competing in the US

Ironman races in Europe are filling up within hours and more people are heading further afield, with the US becoming increasingly popular. If you are racing an Ironman in America and the event is sanctioned by USA Triathlon, you will have some Participant Excess Accident Medical coverage and general liability coverage.

John Martin, communications and media relations manager, USA Triathlon, says, "If a medical claim has to be made, there is a deductible [excess]. If an athlete has medical coverage, that coverage is in force. Once that coverage is exhausted or the limit has been reached, the USA Triathlon coverage applies. There is a deductible of $250. If an athlete does not have medical coverage, the USA Triathlon coverage applies; the deductible is $1,000."

In short, if you have your own travel insurance, the claim would first be made on that, and the USAT insurance would kick in if you had reached your limit. However, Martin says triathletes must have their own cover.

"Although USA Triathlon sources and provides excellent coverage, there is no insurance policy that covers every possible situation. It is wise to plan ahead and take out private coverage when possible."

Play it safe

Racing overseas is one thing, training is another. The chances are that the training camp you attend will have insurance to protect itself, but not you. So have your insurance in place before you head off.

James Young of Fitness 12 Retreats Ltd says, "We require every person attending our triathlon training camps to prove to Fitness 12 that they have taken out personal, independent travel insurance. We require the name of the insurance provider and the insurance number before allowing the triathlete to train with us. We know it sounds a little heavy-handed, but in the age of litigation that's a precaution that a small company needs to take.

"We ask clients to take full responsibility of their bikes while on retreat and in transit. During the night and on non-riding days and times, we offer secure premises where the clients can safely store their bikes."

The message is clear: don't rely on others to have arrangements in place and don't take chances when it comes to your health and your kit. Find the policy that best suits your needs and head overseas knowing you're well and truly covered. 

Swot up on the travel insurance essentials before you compete or train abroad.

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