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Search and Rescue Insurance?
I wanted to see what options I have for getting SAR Insurance. I have a SPOT membership and saw they offered insurance up to 100k - $18 per year. Does anyone have this or should I go through a different company? Also, does it really cover that much if I need to get evacuated?
Whatever you get, read and understand the coverages BEFORE you buy. I like Global Rescue. In busy hunt years, I just buy their annual policy.
I did a lot of research on this last year before a trip into the far reaches of the middle of nowhere. I went with Global Rescue and while I did not have to use them, I was impressed with their communication and the policy.
I went with Medjet Assist
We bought air evac insurance, you get SAR coverage through your hunting license in Colorado, and the air evac insurance is good for non hunting instances, from driving to work to crashing in the middle of nowhere traveling, think it was $65 a year and covers everybody in the household
I don't hunt out of country and the remote areas I hunt in Northwest AK, the S&R are local volunteers who I'm on a first name basis with. That said, I have med evac insurance, but not S&R. I think anyone who hunts/travels is crazy to not have med evac insurance... especially in Alaska.
In the lower 48, if I'm not responding, checking in, or where I say I should be, it's either because my batteries are dead, or I'm dead. In either case, I don't need S&R. And I've told my family as much and they're not to contact authorities if I don't show up unless it's been 3 days and then I'm for sure dead.
Honestly, most of the guys that need S&R are bozos, dead, or hunting in specific circumstances like out of country where extra insurance is necessary. You should either be able to get yourself out on your own two feet, or your buddy should, or you should have arrangements for someone to get you out (transporter who was sat phoned by you or your hunting buddy), BEFORE you go on a hunt where you'd need S&R to find you if you had a problem. If you're relying on a button to push to come get picked up, you either don't belong out there to begin with, or you're dead. In that case, yes, you need S&R insurance - because you're a bozo who can't or didn't set yourself up to get out before you put yourself in the situation in the first place.
Med evac is a whole different matter as bush hospitals/clinics are helpless to deal with even moderate injuries and major airlines will not let you get on them with a significant injury.
If you are honestly in the bush and sustain a life-threatening injury, you're either going to die or you're going to get flown to right where you need help right away; it just takes too long - otherwise you're a goner. Waiting on S&R, then getting to a bush hospital, then med evac'd... very very rarely are those injuries and success stories actual. They happen, but they're exceedingly rare. It works for mountaineers and technical climbers in CO/WA/OR who are doing things next to huge population centers and everyone knows exactly where they are at all times till the front blows in. And usually they just die too and S&R spends 3 days finding their bodies.
Honestly I would look at Ripcord insurance. The 2 guys that started this company are the ones that brought global rescue into hunting and outdoor sports. Former navy seals and rangers. I’ve used global rescue and didn’t have an issue but Ripcord was cheaper and easier to sign up and never had an issue in past 3 years. Can do a week long trip or by the month or yearly and I think I paid $120 for a year. These guys rescue routinely people all over the world including Everest. Im not paid or sponsored by them..just my 2cents
At least here in Colorado there is not a charge for Search and Rescue. Ambulance and Flight For Life do charge for transport. The SAR fee on the Colorado license is not insurance! It is a donation to SAR teams to help keep them up and running. That money is distributed to SAR teams across the state for equipment and training only. I cannot comment on SAR in other countries.
Your medical insurance may cover ambulance and FFL transport. Hopefully for FFL(very expensive)it is a life threatening injury and not something like a broke wrist.
As raghorn pointed out above search and rescue is a pretty good deal here in Colo for those that buy fishing, hunting, and other licenses in Colo. It may be something other states may want to consider? Here's a link: https://cpw.state.co.us/Documents/Boating/SearchAndRescueFAQ.pdf
8-10 years ago I had a situation in Colorado with my adult daughter hiking a 14'er. Altitude sickness/hyponatremia. The SAR volunteers from Leadville were outstanding getting her down from about 11,000' at night on July 4th on horseback. Afterwards I offered my elk tag number for some reimbursement but I also bought a new tire for their horse trailer that blew on the drive up there. Those guys were pros and worth any license add-on fee.
I have used Global Rescue when hunting in AK. Never had to use their services luckily. Relatively inexpensive piece of mind.
A buddy and I got stopped by a Ranger while hiking down Bright Angel trail in the Grand Canyon. When he found out we were hiking down and back in the same day he took down our names and addresses and stated in no uncertain terms that we would be charged for evac if needed. I think at the time (20 yrs ago) it was $10,000
I also own a SPOT messenger and I buy the rescue insurance for 18 dollars. I highly recommend the SPOT, I can check in on a regular basis with my family, which gives us piece of mind since I hunt quite a bit on my own for 2 or more weeks at a time. Your family isn't going to know you've ended up miles out of the way from where you entered the trailhead. I have not had to use the SOS button on the SPOT thankfully, but it does give me piece of mind as a last resort.