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Travel insurance for kayaking

Everything Brits need to know about travel insurance for kayaking and rafting

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Travel Insurance for when Kayaking and Rafting

Ready to explore the world from a kayak or go rafting in the great outdoors? Whether you’re planning to paddle lakes, beaches and rivers you may need travel insurance for unexpected accidents if you’re already on the water or working out your next kayaking and rafting adventure.

Rafting and Kayaking activities: What am I covered for?

When you get a travel insurance quote for your kayaking or rafting trip, you need to add your kayaking/rafting adventure activity when prompted to. World Nomads plans for British residents cover the following categories of kayaking and rafting:

  • Kayaking/canoeing: (inland/coastal waters, grades 1-3 only, Sea kayaking/Sea canoeing)
  • White water rafting (grades 1-5): special condition (a)
  • Black water rafting (cave tubing) (grades 1-5): special condition (a) and Special Exclusion (iv)

Travel Insurance Tip: for some activities you must be with a professional, qualified and licensed guide, instructor or operator. If you're not sure if the operator you're planning on kayaking or rafting with is properly licenced ask to see their credentials and if you're still not sure, don't risk it.  Not only can it be dangerous rafting with an operator who isn't properly licensed but it can affect your cover for any claims that you may make.

Travel Insurance for British and International River Grades

Whether you’re white water rafting in Alaska, canoeing in the fjords of Norway or kayaking around Patagonia in Chile you’ll need to be aware of international river grades.

International River Grading

  • Grade 1: Easy
  • Grade 2: Novice
  • Grade 3: Intermediate
  • Grade 4: Advanced
  • Grade 5: Expert
  • Grade 6: Extreme and Exploratory Rapids
    (Note: We can't insure you for this level of kayaking or rafting)

The scale is used for various water sports and activities, such as black and white water rafting, river boarding, white-water canoeing, stand up paddle surfing, and whitewater kayaking. When you are about to head down the river or rapids, make sure you know the rating as you wouldn’t want to be up a certain creek without a paddle! For more information you can always research the ‘International River Grading System’.

Please note that different activities may have different levels of cover. You may have to upgrade the policy and sporting level to make sure you’re covered for the type of activity you plan to do. Please read your policy documentation carefully before you buy it.

What’s covered: kayaking, rafting and canoeing

There are a number of different things our travel insurance cover can protect you from while you’re out on the water, or making your way to that next rafting hotspot.

Baggage protection: Have you had your kayak and gear stolen while travelling? Our gear cover may help with replacing belongings that were swiped from under your nose.

Emergency medical: Have things not gone to plan while white water rafting? Maybe the rapids got the better of you? Our emergency medical cover may come to the rescue in the case of an accident or injury.

Evacuation: You’ve managed to find a hidden hotspot for your next canoeing adventure but it’s nowhere near a hospital or medical centre that can help you if you get ill or injured. We have cover that can get you transported to the closest medical facility which may be best for your care, subject to approval from the 24/7 Emergency Assistance.

Trip cancellation: Has a sick or injured travelling companion put a stop to your kayaking trip?  Your plan may be able to recover the travel expenses.

How to get the most out of your travel insurance

When it comes to any activity, safety should always come first. Your health ─ and your travel insurance cover ─ depends on your responsible behaviour. Follow these tips to stay alert and aware (and to ensure that you won’t invalidate your travel insurance).

  • Know where to go. Don’t frequent bodies of water that are known to be dangerous or go kayaking or canoeing near areas with violent rapids, powerful currents, big drops and steep, congested chutes. Where there are warnings, be careful – and heed them.
  • Stay in your skill level.  It’s not a good idea to hop in a kayak or go white water rafting if you don’t know how to swim. Don’t attempt white water rafting or kayaking at higher difficulty grades if you don’t have the experience.
  • Follow the rules. Check for suitable weather conditions before kayaking, canoeing or rafting.
  • Look after your equipment. Don’t leave your limited-edition kayak and gear unattended out on a beach, camping site or in public areas unattended or declare your wallet stolen when you forgot it on the airplane. Those ’I spaced out’ moments don’t qualify for cover.

Your cover will vary according to whether you choose a Standard or an Explorer plan. Read your policy for details on maximum benefit limits and exclusion and conditions of your cover.

Rafting and Kayaking: What’s not covered

Here are some other things we don’t cover:

  • If you refuse to be repatriated or evacuated
  • If you don’t follow your doctor’s instructions or what we or the 24/7 Emergency Assistance team advise you to do
  • Any expenses that relate to a pre-existing medical condition, as explained in the policy wording
  • Expenses that can be recovered from another source
  • The policy excess as shown in the policy wording
What’s coveredWhat’s not covered
Whether you’re kayaking, rafting or canoeing our World Nomads plans may cover:
• Trip cancellation
• Trip interruption
• Medical emergency expenses
• Emergency evacuation/repatriation
• Baggage delay
• Theft of baggage and personal belongings



We want to make sure that you are having fun out on the water but don’t overdo it as we won’t cover any incidents related to:
• If you kayak, canoe or go rafting while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
• No pro sports or athletic competitions. Professional sporting activities aren’t covered by travel insurance
• Search and rescue costs
• Reckless behaviour
• Criminal or illegal acts
• Changing your mind about your trip


This is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions of the plans described. Please refer to the actual plans for complete details of cover and exclusions.

Travel Insurance Benefits: how we can take care of you

Trip Cancellation

Protect your trip from unexpected cancellation.

  • Explorer Plan: £5,000
  • Standard Plan: £3,000
Trip Protection
  • Unexpectedly hospitalised?
  • Travel buddy unfit to travel?
  • Close relative suddenly dies?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Insurance

Take the pain out of medical costs.

  • Explorer Plan: £10 million
  • Standard Plan: £5 million
Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Need meds quick?
  • Accidentally injured?
  • Suddenly sick?

We’ve got your back.

Emergency Medical Transport

We'll get you to hospital pronto.

  • Explorer Plan: £10 million
  • Standard Plan: £5 million
Evacuation and Repatriation
  • Banged up abroad?
  • Need a hospital urgently?
  • Medivac home?

Help starts here.

Protect your gear

Cover your lost, stolen or damaged gear and tech.

  • Explorer Plan: £2,000
  • Standard Plan: £1,000
Protect your gear
  • Passport or tech stolen?
  • Airline lost your gear?
  • Bags delayed?

Help starts here.

  • Emergency Medical Expenses
  • Baggage & Personal Belongings
  • Cancellation
  • Trip Curtailment
  • Personal Accident
  • Loss of Passport or travel documents
  • Personal Liability
  • Legal Expenses
This is a general summary for United Kingdom residents only. Restrictions, exclusions and limitations will apply. Benefit limits may vary depending on the plan chosen. Check the plan documents for full details.
Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

You can still purchase a World Nomads policy if you have a Pre-Existing Medical Condition (PEMC) – whether it is serious or not – but we won’t cover any claim/s made by any traveller under the policy as a result of this condition (this includes if you’re on separate or joint policies). This exclusion can’t be removed from the policy.   

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) has a travel insurance directory on its Money Advice Service website, or you can contact the service on 0800 138 7777. This service provides details on what may be considered a PEMC, and travel insurance providers that may cover serious PEMCs, which may assist travellers wanting cover for these conditions. 

24/7 emergency assistance

If you need medical assistance or emergency medical evacuation our team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year before and during your trip.

Are you in need of emergency assistance right now?

For policies purchased on or after 1 September 2021:
+44 (0) 2030931750 (Call via an operator reverse charges. Not toll free.)

For policies purchased before 1 September 2021:
Phone: +353 21 237 8005 (Call via an operator reverse charges. Not toll free.)
Phone: +61 2 8263 0470 (Call via an operator reverse charges. Not toll free.)

Contact the team
Wherever you are, whatever has happened, our multi-lingual assistance teams are here to help you and your family.
Aurelie's portrait photo
Aurelie Menard,
Emergency Assistance, World Nomads

Travel insurance. Simple & flexible.

Travel insurance for independent travelers and intrepid families. Nobody wants to think about all the things that could go wrong on their trip, but these things can and do happen. So be prepared and get your travel insurance today.

World Nomads Travel Insurance was reviewed on Trust Pilot on 1st August 2017 and rated 4 stars