You don’t need to be bubble-wrapped

Up to 10% of all attendance at hospital Accident and Emergency (A&E) Departments are related to sports, exercise, and pastimes. Last year in the US alone 3.7 million attendances were reported at A&E Departments that were directly related to sports and exercise. Fractures, lacerations, soft-tissue injuries, head injuries, sprains, dislocations, bruises, the list goes on and on. On top of this all these A&E visits there are also many non-emergencies attendances. The niggles and knocks, the pains that persist, the people that limp and hobble into GP clinics. And then there are the subsequent surgeries, follows-ups, medication, and even physiotherapy sessions. Sports, exercise, and people’s pastimes keep a lot of medical providers and practitioners busy and cost billions of US dollars every year.


Popular sports such as football, cricket, rugby, basketball, hockey, and baseball, badminton, and tennis all result in millions of injuries each year, but with so many sports and pastimes to choose from these days, the list can seem almost endless. Due to the frequency and prevalence of such injuries and the potential cost for health insurers many simply do not cover any treatments doctor fees, hospital fees, surgery costs, and medication or health care services like x-rays and scans, ambulances, or supplies like crutches, braces, wheelchairs, casts, and boots. Insured members are simply not covered.

Other health insurers will come up with some seemingly random or even ambiguous list of sports and activities that they consider “dangerous” or “hazardous”, with bewildering and surprising exclusion buried in the small print, so it is important to always check carefully before taking out any health insurance policy. It often comes as a nasty shock to many people to find out they are not covered when at the weekend or evenings they are doing something that they love or enjoy, or ironically that is even healthy and involving physical exercise.

Some of the typical excluded sports and activities are:
Motor Sports – At first this doesn’t sound too unreasonable, but when you learn it could extend to something popular like go-karting, dune buggies, quad biking, trail biking, or off-roading which are very popular weekend pursuits for many in places like the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Oman it can be a concern.

Water Sports – And this doesn’t just mean the faster paced and motorised jet-skiing or water skiing, or kayaking and scuba diving, but it could also extend to windsurfing, kitesurfing, and even the more sedate sailing.

Contact Sports – With many health insurance policies members can just forget about any martial arts or boxing, or even letting you kids take a judo class at school.

Winter Sports – Skiing and snowboarding are of course well known for resulting in a lot of fractures and twisted joints, so many insurers simply exclude all activities on snow or ice, even ice skating in a mall. The other will try to stipulate that you are only covered in certain types of ski-resort or on certain types of slopes, and it’s worth remembering that helicopter ambulances are often used to carry insured people off a mountain and the costs can be very high for the insured party if their insurance doesn’t cover this.

Aerial Flight – Sky diving, paragliding, wingsuit flying, and anything to do with aircraft and flying are often excluded.

Other Hazardous Activities and Extreme Sports – Horse-riding, rock climbing, abseiling, caving, mountaineering, mountain biking, zip lines, freestyle BMX, skateboarding, base-jumping, bungee jumping, the list is almost endless.

Some of these restrictions may seem absurd and unlikely but they are in fact quite common. Essentially if you participate in any sport or activity more dangerous than a game of chess you genuinely would not be covered if it resulted in the need for medical treatment or care and all too often people only find out when they need to rely on their insurance and get a nasty shock.

It is therefore reassuring to know that with all HanseMerkur health insurance plans you don’t need to worry at all as there are no such restrictions and stipulations about what you can and can’t do in your spare time. The only restriction is that your participation cannot be in a professional capacity, so unless you are Lewis Hamilton looking for health insurance that will also cover racing a formula one car as your day job, HanseMerkur Health Insurance means you don’t need to be bubble-wrapped and are free to do whatever you want in life without having to worry or sift through pages of small print to confirm if you are covered or not.