For climbers, travel insurance is just as important to pack as any other piece of climbing gear on a big trip.

Like so many outdoorsy Canadians, I love climbing and it’s become the focus of my travels. For us sport climbers, trad climbers and boulderers, vacations are planned around popular climbing destinations. My poor mom knows not to expect me on Thanksgiving or Easter weekend—I’m out of town climbing!

No matter your level, if you’re climbing outside of your home province or travelling abroad on a climbing holiday, you need travel insurance. Whether you’re driving from Alberta for a weekend in Penticton’s Skaha Bluffs or you’re going on a month-long climbing holiday to Railay Beach in Thailand, travel insurance should be a no brainer.

View of Thai Wand Wall Railay Beach Thailand
View of Thai Wand Wall in Railay Beach, Thailand

The good news for travelling climbers:

It’s easier to get insurance coverage for climbing than you think. Whether you’re a recreational climber, a sponsored rock-god or professional Tour de Bloc participant expecting to win big cash, TuGo’s Emergency Medical Plan covers all kinds of climbers in case of unexpected accidents and injuries.

Emergency Medical Insurance

Climbing isn’t as dangerous as everyone thinks, but there’s always room for human error. A climbing-related accident or injury might not be your fault: falling rock, a stove incident at the campsite, or even food poisoning (like the infamous “Tonsai Tummy”) could hit you anytime.

If you’re climbing in a remote area, how will you get to a medical facility? Safety conditions, road access and transportation are often unreliable when you’re climbing abroad.  Even the best re-bolting efforts in world-famous sport climbing areas can’t guarantee your safety. Make sure you’re covered in case you get sick or injured while climbing.

Think you’re covered by your employee group plan? Not so fast! Some group plans actually exclude recreational climbing, or at best, you’ll find it difficult to get confirmation that your group plan covers rock climbing. I recommend asking specifically if your Emergency Travel Medical covers climbing related accidents; when you’re leading a hard route, it’s one less thing to worry about.

View of Fire Wall, Tonsai Beach, Thailand. Photo cred: Leonard Cheong
View of Fire Wall, Tonsai Beach, Thailand. Photo cred: Leonard Chong

Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption:

Injured your pulley tendon bouldering before a big trip? Need to cut a trip short to nurse a sore shoulder? You won’t lose any money if you’ve purchased Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance. Hey, we’ve all seen “that poor guy” hobbling around the crag on crutches, watching his friends with envy as they climb the day away. Don’t be that guy.

Single Trip vs. Annual Multi- trip?

For Canadian climbers who often travel to the States, or even just out of province (Albertans, I’m talking to you!) you should think about annual coverage. Save yourself the hassle of calling your insurance provider every time you drive to your favourite weekend crag.

Me climbing the 'Best Route in Minnesota', Escher Wall, Railay Beach, Thailand. Photo cred: Leonard Chong
Me climbing the ‘Best Route in Minnesota’, Escher Wall, Railay Beach, Thailand. Photo cred: Leonard Chong

Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D):

If you’re new to climbing, you might notice that climbers tend to talk about accidents and death—a lot! It seems morbid, but it’s important to recognize the risks. Not all climbing accidents are due to human error; factors such as falling rock or weather might be out of your control.

Think of Accidental Death & Dismemberment as a life insurance policy; you’d want 100% coverage for accidents. If something happens, you don’t want to be a financial burden to your family or friends.

All in all, there are lots of resources to help rock climbers prepare for epic adventures. As a fellow climber, I sure do love my gear, and I hope you’ll think of travel insurance as important as your harness or your rope on your next climbing holiday.

Happy cragging,



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  • alex

    Merci beaucoup pour ses informations Leah, elles me seront biens utiles pour mon prochains road trip. J’adore l’escalade….

  • Leah

    Chers lecteurs,
    Nous avons reçu d’excellentes rétroactions et de bonnes questions concernant l’Assurance interruption de voyage et une « blessure à l’épaule ». Nous aimerions clarifier que oui, effectivement, vous pouvez annuler un voyage ou le couper court si votre blessure est assez grave pour qu’un médecin à votre lieu de séjour recommande par écrit de rentrer chez vous. Alors, pas besoin de souffrir plus que le nécessaire si vous avez acheté l’Assurance interruption de voyage!

  • Leah

    Hi readers,
    We’ve received some great feedback and questions about Trip Interruption and “sore” shoulders. Just to clarify, you can indeed cancel your trip or cut it short if your injury is significant enough that a doctor at your destination recommends in writing that you return home. So no need to suffer longer than necessary if you’ve purchased Trip Interruption insurance!

  • Leslee

    Hi Leah, I am a former BC resident, but now live in Bellingham WA (just 20 minutes south of the border). My partner and I are still ACC members and regularly go on trips with them. Do you cover non-residents of Canada?

  • Leah

    Hi Leslee,
    Thanks for your question! Yes, we definitely cover non-residents of Canada. In fact, you can get our Visitors to Canada policy through the Alpine Club of Canada- they have everything you need to cover you this side of the border. You can visit their site and click on “get a quote.” Answer the questions for “I am visiting Canada.” You’ll see all the options available to you like emergency medical coverage and even trip cancellation/interruption- a great idea if you’re making plans for a big trip.
    Enjoy Bham (I know the Trader Joe’s well), and happy climbing!

  • Joie

    Does gear theft insurance exist?

    • TuGo

      Hi Joie,

      We do not offer gear theft insurance. You could check with a tour company/operator to see if they know of any insurance providers that specialize in this type of coverage.

      Let us know if you have any other questions related to insurance for climbers.



Travel Insurance For Climbers: an Easy Must-Have

Jul 16 2013