Going on a trek isn’t as big an investment as buying a car or a home. However, it is a highly adventurous activity and by nature involves a certain amount of risk.
There are chances of avalanches, floods, or landslides occurring in the mountains due to unpredictable weather. From fractures and sprains to higher forms of AMS, injuries and illnesses are thus highly probable for trekkers.
Here’s where trek insurance comes into play.
Having trek insurance is an essential part of your pre-trek planning. At Indiahikes, we have always strived to make treks safer for our trekkers. We used to offer trek insurance as an option over the past years. We have now made it mandatory for all our treks.
Though you may have your own life insurance and/or a medical insurance policy, chances are these policies do not cover any risks incurred while participating in adventurous activities like trekking. Read the fine print and you’ll know what we’re talking about.
In this article, we explain why trek insurance is important and what our insurance policy covers.
Why we made trek insurance mandatory
Trekking by nature is a high-risk activity. You are at a high altitude (above 8,000 ft), the weather is unpredictable and at most times the terrain is difficult too. Illnesses, accidents, and injuries aren’t uncommon in the mountains. Most of these can be sourced for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, most of our treks are at high altitudes.
In most of your treks with Indiahikes, you’ll be reaching heights of 11,000 ft or higher. The chances of getting hit by AMS are very real.
When we see a trekker consistently display symptoms of AMS, the first thing we do is make him or her descend. In most cases, quick descent coupled with a course of Diamox treatment does the job.
But in some severe cases, the AMS progresses to the more dangerous HAPE or HACE. These require immediate evacuation and medical attention.
The more remote the trek, the more serious the condition. And higher costs of rescue and medical assistance.
To give you an example, we recently had a trekker on our Goechala trek get hit by HAPE on the Goechala trek. This was at Lamuney campsite (13,743 ft). Out Trek Leader immediately brought her down to base camp, hired a car, and transported her to the nearest hospital. The total charges for treatment, evacuation, and stay amounted to approximately Rs. 11,000.
Secondly, accidents happen.
Even though we emphasise on safety, accidents are inevitable in the Himalayas. Unpredictable weather conditions and the nature of the terrain can cause unexpected injuries.
In our experience, these are the possible injuries:
- Ankle sprains
- Ligament tears while climbing steep terrains if your muscles are not warmed up
- Arm or leg fractures due to falls
- Slipping on wet trails causes injuries
- Injuries during playing games at the campsite
Accidents like these always require immediate evacuation and urgent medical expertise.
At Indiahikes, we’ve always put in processes and measures to increase the safety standards on every single trek of ours. All our Trek Leaders are Wilderness First Responder (NOLS) certified. They are equipped with a High Altitude Medication Kit, oxygen cylinders, and two-way radios for constant communication with the base. We have made microspikes mandatory on all our snow treks. And so much more.
In spite of that, the nature of trekking is such that you never know when a mishap could occur.
And in these cases, owing to the remoteness of the region, expenses may shoot up exponentially.
Here’s when the mandatory trek insurance comes to your rescue. It takes care of these emergency expenses which can burn a hole in your pocket.
And since it’s a matter of money, we don’t want to leave things to the fine print.
We’ll explain more about our trek insurance policy.
How much does trek insurance cost
Our trek insurance policy covers health and medical expenses arising out of illnesses and injuries when you are on the trek. It is a group health insurance and costs Rs. 30 per day. Depending on the number of days your trek is the total insurance cost may differ.
For example: If you are booking a 6 days trek, you will be paying Rs. 180.
The insurer we have tied up with is ASC 360.
For what period is trek insurance valid
The insurance is valid from the time we pick you up for the trek, till we drop you off. So for instance, if you’re going on a trek like Phulara Ridge, the actual trek begins on Day 1 when you start from Dehradun and ends on Day 6 when you come back to Dehradun.
What our trek insurance covers
Once you register and make a payment for the trek you’ll be issued a policy document. The document will contain details about what expenses will be covered. Also included with be the contact details for rescue and claims processing and reimbursement.
Our trek insurance is for a total sum of Rs. 3,25,000. Below are all the expenses it covers:
1. Hospitalisation Expenses for Injuries - INR 1,00,000
2. Medical Evacuation (Air or Road) - INR 1,00,000
3. Personal Accident (Death & Disability) - INR 1,00,000
4. Repatriation of Remains Extension - INR 25,000
In case of a severe illness or injury, the trekker will be evacuated to the nearest exit point from where transport shall be arranged to the nearest hospital.
What is not covered
Here are a few cases in which insurance will not be covered under the policy.
1. Suicide, attempt to Suicide or intentionally self-inflicted injury, sexually transmitted conditions, mental disorder, anxiety, stress, or depression.
2. Being under influence of drugs, alcohol, or other intoxication or hallucinogens
3. Participation in actual or attempted felony, riot, civil commotion, crime misdemeanor
4. Committing any breach of law of land with criminal intent.
5. Death or disablement resulting from Pregnancy or childbirth
6. Professional sports team in respect of specific benefit for inability to perform
7. Participation in any kind of motor speed contest.
8. While engaged in aviation, or whilst mounting or dismounting from or traveling in any aircraft. (Not
applicable for fare Paying Passengers)
9. Underground mining & contractor specializing in tunneling
10. Radioactivity, Nuclear risks, ionizing radiation
11. Indemnity It is hereby stated that due to any circumstances such as delay in evacuation, delay in hospital admission, delay in attending by the doctors, etc any loss of life, limb, property, or any other loss accrues then under such circumstances ASC 360 shall not be held liable for the losses suffered. It is further stated that for any loss, damage, mishappening, or any other foreseeable and unforeseeable circumstances that arrive in such conditions ASC 360 shall not be held liable. It is reiterated that ASC 360 liabilities are limited to the terms as mentioned hereinabove and subject to the terms of the Policy.
12. The Policy is valid exclusively for the clients of Indiahikes only
13. This policy is only valid for Indian nationals or expats working in India
14. No Pre-existing diseases shall be covered under the policy whether declared or not declared
15. No related cancellations/ rescheduling/ delays are covered under this policy
16. Pre-approvals are a must for Medical evacuation.
17. Age Limit — minimum 1 year and maximum 70 years
18. Limitation of the Liability: It is understood that ASC360 is acting as an insurance intermediary and shall not be liable for any claims.
How to claim your insurance
If you want to make a claim, follow these steps:
- Fill out the trek insurance claim form that is available at all the base camps.
- Within the next 7 days from the incident date, make sure you consult a doctor and get a medical report.
(Note: Without the doctor consultation, your claim will not be approved)
- Meanwhile, ASC 360 team will send you an email as soon as they receive the report. Make sure you reply to the email with the medical report and all the medical bills.
- Once all the documents are verified, the claim should be approved in no time.
- So there you go! Hopefully, you will have a safe trek and won’t have to use trek insurance at all.
Making insurance mandatory is just one more way in which we’re making your treks safer. And we always believe it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Have any questions? Do drop in your thoughts in the comments.