/ Alaska climbing Insurance

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Withnail - on 16 Mar 2013
Hi folks,

Just looking to get some climbing insurance recommendations for a trip to Alaska this year.

Plan the upper west rib (descent down west buttress) on Denali and some lower more technical routes starting from Kahiltna base if we have time after.

I've looked at BMC and seems quite pricey. I know theyre pretty good though and guess a lot of the price relates to medical costs/indemnity in the U.S.A. but I'd appreciate any advice on other options.

We can't do a group booking as were getting different flights from different countries which complicates things a bit.

cheers

Jon
Deanjones - on 21 Mar 2013
Hi Jon

We're heading out end of May on the same plan.
Looked at lots of insurance quotes and waded through endless small print.

Cheapest we found was DogTag Insurance. Individual or group didn't seem to make a big difference with any of the insurers. They were more than half the cost of the BMC quote. We've paid around 130 for a month trip.

When you heading out?
Withnail - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Withnail:

Hi dean,

Thanks for that. Tom ripley also emailed me with the same advice on dogtag-thanks also tom.

Funny i looked on dogtag and its coming in around 250 quid-with the extreme and winter sports options. They look pretty good though.

We fly out 21st may from scotland and australia-just 3 of us-and are all meeting in anchorage. fly back 19th june.

You guys out around the same time?

steveej - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Withnail:

you dont need the winter sports cover as it only covers you for things like piste closure etc. Seen as your not resort skiing none of the additional cover would be relevant.

We fly to anchorage on 26th May so you'll be a bit ahead of us.
Withnail - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to steveej:

Steve,

Thanks for that info-ill reread it all and should bring the cost down-great.

maybe bump into you guys on the hill...

all the best

Jon
Aly - on 22 Mar 2013
In reply to Withnail: I have always used the BMC insurance as they seem to have a good track record of getting people out of the sh*t and you have the peace of mind that they are mountaineering focussed.

I got a quote from Dogtag and whilst the prices are a bit cheaper than the BMC insurance it might be worth getting written confirmation that they would actually cover your expedition. Their documentation states that under the 'extreme' policy you are covered for "Mountaineering (organised climbs above 4,000 metres using ropes and all safety equipment)" whilst it specifically excludes "Free Mountaineering (without safety aids), Solo Mountaineering, Solo Rock Climbing and Freestyle Rock Climbing". I just wonder whether they would consider a non-commercial (unguided) expedition (or indeed an accident whilst unroped) to be excluded from their cover - the wording is certainly ambiguous.

Certainly worth looking into as the BMC High Altitude cover is quite a bit more than the Alpine/Ski policy if you're heading for a route other than W Buttress on Denali.
Withnail - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Aly:

Aly,

Thanks for that info/advice. Ill have another read over stuff. Bit of a minefield....

Cheers

Jon

Neil Mackenzie - on 23 Mar 2013
In reply to Withnail:

Hi guys,

Interesting to see this discussion - i have been having serious issues getting cover for an imminent (2 weeks time!!!) trip split-boarding and ski-mountaineering in the Chugach range. many companies will not insure us as we are an independent expedition and not guided or run by a tour operator. BMC double the price for alpine/ski if you are an off-piste boarder (say what you like, i disagree with this policy but i guess they have statistical basis) so we cant use them

our strategy at the moment is probably going to be to use Austrian alpine club rescue insurance (basic cover with membership of the club can be upped for a fee of 1euro per day) and pay for separate BUPA medical care

any comment or tips on this strategy would be appreciated and it may be worth considering for your trip Jon...

Cheers
Neil
steveej - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to Neil Mackenzie:

We phoned dog tag about what they mean by organised expeditions. Their response was that by organised you have actually purposely planned the trip to go climbing rather than just happen to be on holiday and decide to climb a mountain by yourself.

Thus is covers non commercial unguided expeditions.

The limits on the Austrian alpine club insurance are way too small and wouldn't pay for a rescue.

Bmc insurance for routes other than the normal west butt are much more expensive
JdotP - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to Withnail:

Would DogTag actually have the skills and infrastructure to mount a rescue attempt if you phoned them to say you were stuck half way up Denali (or even at base camp)?
steveej - on 28 Mar 2013
In reply to JdotP:

No they wouldn't but neither would the bmc or any other insurance company. The rescue is carried out based on what's available locally. The insurance just picks up the tab.
JdotP - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to steveej:
> (In reply to JdotP)
>
> No they wouldn't but neither would the bmc or any other insurance company. The rescue is carried out based on what's available locally. The insurance just picks up the tab.

Well let me put it another way...would DogTag be able to get whatever resources are available locally into action as quickly as (for instance) the BMC? Would they even know where to start?
RCC - on 29 Mar 2013
In reply to JdotP:

> Well let me put it another way...would DogTag be able to get whatever resources are available locally into action as quickly as (for instance) the BMC? Would they even know where to start?


I think you might be a little confused as to what insurance companies are for! They are there to pick up the bill AFTER the event; they have nothing to do with the rescue or rescue coordination. If you are stuck half way up Denali, your 1st call should always be to the Rangers service (who will coordinate the rescue). At most you should be advising your insurance, but even then not until everyone is out of harms way (at the very earliest).

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