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N.H. Bills Lost Hikers $25K
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Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
N.H. Bills Lost Hikers $25K on 11/02/2009 15:24:52 MST Print View

Colorado also sells a $10 conservation sticker; part of that is for the state to acquire hunting/fishing access and part is to pay for SAR. It's mandatory if you buy a fishing license or voluntary if you just want to support these endeavors. (Unless things have changed since summer before last.)

In Wyoming, you are asked if you want to contribute to a similar access fund or to SAR when you buy a fishing license. I did make a contribution to SAR.

In Wyoming you're billed for the helicopter or horse outfitter that hauls you out. The US military considers helicopter SAR as part of their training, but Wyoming doesn't have military helicopters handy. If it's a medical evacuation and you have excellent health insurance, the insurance will pay at least part of it.

In Oregon, the burden is borne primarily by volunteer SAR groups and by the National Guard (as mentioned, the military considers this as training time). Any overtime by law enforcement agencies is a very minor part of the cost. To the best of my knowledge, Oregon has never yet actually charged anyone.

I'd be curious to know how much of the NH SAR expense is borne by volunteer groups!

b hitchcock
(slowoldandcold) - F
s a r insurance on 11/02/2009 16:28:44 MST Print View

beware the law of unintended consequences---example-------- i have have cricked my ankle--maybe i could get out wth a bit of struggle but why should i try---i have paid the insurance for x years and never claimed---might as well sit and call for help---------("cricked" uk english for slight sprain) all s a r groups in uk and the uk coastal lifeboats are charity funded none charge----military/medical/police helicopters are also free

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Re: N.H. Bills Lost Hikers $25K on 11/02/2009 17:57:39 MST Print View

I primarily hike in NH. Several years ago my wife and I were headed up Mt Lafayette on a freezing cold winter day. Along the way we were passed by 3 college students. They were all sweating through their insulated ski jackets and each had a set of Aquafina water bottles stored uninsulated on the outside of their pack (on a 10 deg day). My wife and I soon decided to turn around as conditions were getting pretty bad. Later that night we found that one member of that hiking party was lost on the mountain. Lucky he was found alive and well. In these tough economic times if I go out in the woods without proper experience or gear I should be able to get myself out or pay for the people who help resue me.

FYI I have walked out of the woods with a broken appendage in the past so I understand the discomfort of "self rescue" in making this comment.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
"N.H. Bills Lost Hikers $25K" on 11/14/2009 08:34:00 MST Print View

I know that at least one climbing guide has quit the technical mountain rescue team based in North Conway because he feels it's not right for the state to charge for rescue, while the vast majority of search & rescue participants are unpaid volunteers.

(I believe more than one has quit over this policy but I'm not 100% sure.)

And whoever guessed that NH has super high property taxes to make up for no income and sales tax - you were correct. An unintended consequence is many of our elderly cannot afford to retire in state on a fixed income which is a shame.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
About Colorado's COSAR Fund on 11/14/2009 09:11:09 MST Print View

Posted above:

"….hunters in Colorado pay a $.25 to $.75 fee on hunting tags which goes to a SAR fund and implies coverage during you hunts. I don't think this is wholely unreasonable considering the cost of extraction and the sheer number of out of state hunters that end up needing it per year.

"Either way, most people don't get billed more than $50K even for a full bill on a helicopter extraction.

"Colorado also sells a $10 conservation sticker; part of that is for the state to acquire hunting/fishing access and part is to pay for SAR.

From the COSAR web site, with emphasis added:

Colorado residents and visitors are well served by dedicated volunteer search and rescue teams, but mission costs are often in the thousands of dollars. By purchasing a CORSAR card you are contributing to the Search and Rescue Fund, which will reimburse these teams for costs incurred in your search and rescue. Funds remaining at the end of the year are used to help pay for training and equipment for these teams.

The card is not insurance and does not reimburse individuals nor does it pay for medical transport. Medical transport includes helicopter flights or ground ambulance. If aircraft are used as a search vehicle, those costs are reimbursed by the fund. If the aircraft becomes a medical transport due to a medical emergency, the medical portion of the transport is not covered.

So, in Colorado local SAR groups can "apply for reimbursement". But, if you do something really stupid they can choose to send you the bill.

And if that chopper finds you and then lifts your broken butt to the nearest hospital, you Will get a bill, COSAR card or not.

(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
good travel/med/extraction trip insurance providers? on 11/14/2009 09:40:04 MST Print View

I have on occasion purchased travel insurance including medical and extraction coverage when doing trips overseas. Since the coverage is for a limited time period the policies were very inexpensive. It's the medical and extraction costs that can really get you, especially if you are in a far off place and need to be flown back to the U.S. for proper modern medical attention.

Do any of you purchase travel/medical/extraction coverage for any of your trips, and if so, which companies do you use?

After reading this thread, I think it's a pretty good idea. Coverage for a long weekend to few week trip should be pretty inexpensive.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: good travel/med/extraction trip insurance providers? on 11/14/2009 13:44:02 MST Print View

> Do any of you purchase travel/medical/extraction coverage for any of your trips,
Yes, when we go to Europe. It works out relatively cheap for European travel, but a whole lot dearer for USA though.


James Patsalides
( - MLife

Locale: New England
Medical Insurance on 11/14/2009 13:51:43 MST Print View

Within the US, if you get injured, regular medical insurance will cover your medical costs (if you have medical insurance), plus ambulance/air ambulance etc, subject to your deductibles and other terms and conds. Some medical plans will also cover you around the world (check before you rely on this). When my mother-in-law broke her ankle in Austria a couple of years ago and had to be helicoptered off the mountain, then spent 6 weeks in Feldkirch hospital, everything was covered by her medical insurance (minus deductibles). Most accidents are treated just like sports injuries, and are covered unless specifically excluded (check your medical plan policies).

COSAR and other SAR funds typically collect to cover primarily search and first response costs... and will most likely NOT be covered by your regular medical insurance (although SAR team members, even if volunteers, are covered by their state or municipality's workers comp insurance if THEY are injured as part of a rescue).

If you don't have medical insurance, you REALLY should get some before you go on an expedition. Until healthcare is universal here in the US, you need it if you get in trouble. Rescue insurance would be great, to get you off the mountain, but the REAL cost usually comes from the medical bills, not from the S&R work!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Medical Insurance on 11/14/2009 13:59:32 MST Print View

"Within the US, if you get injured, regular medical insurance will cover your medical costs (if you have medical insurance), plus ambulance/air ambulance etc, subject to your deductibles and other terms and conds."

You should confirm the amount of coverage you get from the "transport" part of you insurance.

Mine happens to say "100% for air ambulance", after deductibles have been met.

Friends paid out $14,000 for emergency medical heli transport, After the insurance company paid their part. And they had met all other deductibles.

Don't forget - you dealing with Insurance Companies, not well known for their generosity.