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Hiking Insurance

Experiencing the most beautiful parts of the world on foot as part of a walking or hiking holiday is surely one of life’s greatest pleasures. What’s more, it provides a healthy dose of exercise to nourish the body as well as the soul. If you have yet to discover the delights of discovering those off-the-beaten-track corners of the world, we would urge you to give it a try as, once tasted, it can prove to be a life-long and treasured addiction.

There’s no special equipment required but investing in a pair of good quality walking boots and suitable all-weather clothing will repay dividends. Walking all day can be tough on the feet, especially if you are unused to this degree of exercise, so well-made boots, with all the right areas of support and rugged soles can spare you blisters and keep your feet warm, dry and comfortable throughout your journey. You’ll need to be prepared for all types of weather from blazing sun to raging blizzards, so carrying the right type of clothing for every eventuality is essential.

This is especially so if you a walking in mountains where the weather can change dramatically in a matter of minutes. Fortunately modern technology has produced sophisticated lightweight clothing which is ideal for walkers to carry in a rucksack to pull out or stow away as the weather dictates.

Hiking InsuranceThe importance of hiking insurance

Whether you chose to walk by yourself or as part of a walking group, you need to have the right hiking insurance in place to give you peace of mind and to cover any mishaps along the way. Hiking is often undertaken in remote areas where medical or other assistance is not always close at hand. What could be a minor complication in normal circumstances, such as a sprained ankle or fractured bone, could necessitate a helicopter rescue if such an accident occurs in mountainous or distant terrain. Add the costs of any hospital treatment or if repatriation to the UK is medically necessary, makes it essential that you have suitable insurance to cover all of these eventualities.

Big Cat Hiking Insurance offers three levels of cover suited to the level of activity you wish to undertake:

The Standard Pack covers you for walking , hiking or trekking up to 2,500 metres or 8,200 feet. For British people this is serious mountain altitude as our highest peak, Ben Nevis, is just 1,344 metres. Up to 2,500 metres will include the majority of serious walking trails most walkers are likely to undertake.

But if you want to go higher, then our Activity Pack covers you up to 4,600 metres, which would just include reaching the peak of the Matterhorn at 4,478 metres or the highest part of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu at 4,430 metres.

If you wish to go even higher, then our Extreme Activity Pack covers any altitude above 4,600 metres, and is suited to the most challenging of mountain treks such as Mt Kilimanjaro, Aconcagua and Mont Blanc.

Please note for trekking in Nepal the Nepal Trekking Pack add-on will need to be included. A 7,000m altitude limit is applied to this.

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Some FAQ's:

Yes, if trekking outside of Nepal, but there’s no cover if trekking on unrecognised routes.

If you are trekking within Nepal you must have our Nepal Trekking Activity Pack add-on included and there is no cover for trekking without a guide.

We do recommend going with a qualified guide or group of no less than 3 people, as search costs and non-medical rescue costs aren’t covered, only rescue from a known and agreed location is. The search aspect is usually cut out completely, or minimised, when trekking with a guide as they may carry some sort of GPS tracking with them and have an in-depth knowledge of the area. Whereas if you’re injured without a guide you may have a hard time describing your location to the helicopter rescue services, if you can contact them at all.

Altogether it’s a lot safer going with a guide, which is why we recommend it, but going without one doesn’t invalidate cover (outside of Nepal) provided you use recognised routes and take all necessary precautions.

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We class mountaineering as any section of a climb that you can’t walk or scramble up, or that requires more than standard additional trekking safety equipment (Ice axes, crampons and ropes to tie the party together are classed as standard equipment). Using ropes to ascend a vertical rock face would be considered mountaineering and therefore only covered with the Extreme Activity Pack Plus add-on included.

You must be able to trek to the summit of the mountain or other specific destination to be covered with our trekking cover. So, even if you are ascending a mountain that requires climbing or mountaineering for only a very short time we can't cover injuries sustained anywhere along the route, even if you were trekking at the time, unless the Extreme Activity Pack Plus add-on has been included.

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Yes, Helicopter Rescue is covered.

Helicopter rescue is classed as a necessary Medical Expense, so is covered by the Medical & Repatriation expenses section of cover (limit of either £2m, £5m or £10m depending on the policy)

To get a quote, please visit our Trekking Insurance page by following this link.

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We have no upper altitude limit with our Extreme Activity Pack Add-on. Otherwise, with the Activity Pack you can trek up to 4,600m. And if you're only trekking up to 2,500m, there's no need to add anything on - Trekking up to 2,500m is one of the 64 activities we cover for free.

Please note for trekking in Nepal the Nepal Trekking Pack add-on will need to be included. A 7,000m altitude limit is applied to this.

How do you include these Add-ons? See question below.

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To add any of our Activity Packs, just follow the Quote form - to stage 3 - there you will find all of the optional extras.

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It is recommended that when travelling to any remote areas, you go in a group of at least 3 people with a 2 way working communications device, a navigation device, you let someone(s) know your route and when you should arrive, as Search and Rescue costs are not covered.

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The Additional Mountain Rescue section of cover is a specific level of cover that takes effect when helicopter rescue is deemed necessary by the local Rescue Authorities due to a non-medical emergency such as natural disasters or adverse weather conditions.

This section of cover does not apply to Medically Necessary helicopter evacuations - these costs are covered under the Medical & Repatriation section of cover.

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There is an excess of £1500 applied to all Helicopter Rescue claims in Nepal.

Why is the Excess so high?

Trekking in Nepal has never been more popular. But recently there has been a massive surge in the number of helicopter rescues. Most rescues arise where a climber either has a serious accident or needs urgent hospitalisation through acute mountain sickness (AMS) due to a too rapid an exposure to low oxygen at high elevation. The simplest remedy is to descend 500m and remain there until the symptoms disappear. This should happen in most cases and should certainly not require a helicopter rescue. Recently, however, around 70% of helicopter rescues are down to AMS.

It appears that widescale fraud in the Nepalese trekking industry has seen helicopter operators, hospitals, guides, trekking companies and even trekkers themselves colluding to extort large sums of money from insurers through unnecessary claims for helicopter rescues and hospital treatment. If substantial kick-backs can be earned should a client need a rescue then there is an incentive for unscrupulous guides/trekking company to deliberately incur AMS by taking clients up too high too fast, or by adding baking soda to meals to induce vomiting and diarrhoea. Sometimes clients can be offered a bribe or a free helicopter ride if they don’t fancy trekking back down the mountain. They are then coached in what to tell their insurers.

Consequently, many insurers have either withdrawn from providing cover for trekkers to Nepal or have been forced to whack up the premiums. So it is important for all trekkers to Nepal to be aware of the situation and follow this advice:


  • Always book your trek through a reputable company.
  • Ensure that your trekking itinerary gains altitude slowly. Do not exceed 300m per day, with a rest day for every 1000m of ascent.
  • Never ignore the onset of altitude sickness. Always descend 500m or, if not possible, stay put.


Don't be drawn into any scam. Insurance fraud is a crime and adds to the cost of your holiday through added premiums.

Here is an article published regarding Nepal: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/25/world/asia/nepal-everest-insurers-fraud.html

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Helicopter Rescue

24 hour Emergency

Up to £10m Medical

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Hiking up to 2,500m

Included in all the Policies, The Standard Pack covers you for walking , hiking or trekking up to 2,500 metres*. This is serious mountain altitude as our highest peak, Ben Nevis, is just 1,344 metres up .

Hiking up to 4,600m

But if you want to go higher, then our Activity Pack covers you up to 4,600 metres*, which would just include reaching the peak of the Matterhorn at 4,478 metres or the highest part of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu at 4,430 metres.

Hiking over 4,600m

Our Extreme Activity Pack covers above 4,600 metres*, with no upper altitude limit and is suited to the most challenging of mountain treks such as Mt Kilimanjaro  and Mont Blanc.

Big Cat Travel Insurance Services, a trading name of Flynow.com Ltd (registration No.FRN 745388)  is an Appointed Representative of Campbell Irvine Ltd (registration No.306242) who are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. You may check this on the Financial Services register www.fca.org.uk or by contacting them on (0) 800 111 6768. © 2021 Big Cat Travel Insurance Services.  All rights reserved.