Finally, Climbing Accident Insurance That Won’t Break You

Finally, there's an affordable option.

Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.

I’ve climbed for nearly five decades, starting out by taking Pappy’s hammer from the tool shed, grinding it into an ice tool and attacking the local frozen drip only to learn you also need crampons to climb ice. So, back to Pappy’s tool shed it was. Between now and those early questing days there’s been quite a lot more I wished I’d had. An anti-gravity machine that actually worked is the obvious. That the contraption didn’t perform as billed accounts for two broken ankles, ribs, both shoulders, a knee, a kidney, a neck, and both feet. Knowing now that gravity is a constant, there is one thing I should have more wisely had on my wish list: accident insurance.

For various reasons (lack of funds, usually) I never got accident insurance, and, frankly, for over half my life I didn’t have any insurance at all. “Never gonna happen to me!” Right?

Now that I’m err … more grown up, I am responsible enough to at least have health insurance, yet when things go sideways I still pay $5k and up out of pocket for the deductible and/or for repairs that—surprise—aren’t covered by insurance. SPOT accident insurance plugs that gap, paying up to $25,000 per accident every time you get hurt, and Outside+ members can now get a full year of coverage for just $90 a year. Even during my poorest climbing days when I lived under a leaking tarp and ate field mice I could have scraped together $90. (Non members can get SPOT insurance for $250/year).

My days of making and experimenting with climbing gear may be behind me (although I do have a few sweet ideas still kicking around including a fingerboard treadmill; contact my agent if you want in on that action), yet on occasion I still find myself in a doctor’s care wishing the day would have unfolded a bit better. Next time that happens there is at least one thing I’ll no longer have to wish for: accident insurance.