Whether you’re planning on fitting in a last minute trip to the slopes or you’re planning ahead for the next winter season, be sure to think not just about booking your winter sports holiday, but also about the extra travel insurance you will need. If you don’t have a policy that covers you for winter sports and something happens that requires you to receive medical assistance, you can be certain your holiday will go downhill fast!
Whilst insurance is essential, minimising risk in the first place is the best way to go. For beginners that try and ‘run before they can walk’ on the slopes, the accident rates are much higher. We recommend you book at least a few ski or snowboard lessons to get you more confident and less likely to take a nasty tumble. Gone are the days of this being a logistical nightmare – just whip out your phone before you hit the slopes, visit SkiBro.com (or check out their excellent iOS and Android apps) and you can choose your resort, skill level type of lesson and book it there and then. For skiing in Europe, SkiBro have most of the major ski resorts covered so you have no excuse!)
It is unlikely that a standard travel insurance policy will cover you for winter sports. Check the small print as there may be the odd exception, but more often than not you will need to take out separate or additional cover. Research has shown that over 60% of skiers and snowboarders have been injured whilst on their winter break, which, as I’m sure you’d agree is, pretty high odds. The chances of injuring yourself whilst skiing compared with, say, sunbathing around a pool in the Med is naturally much greater and if you start to take into account the costs of hillside rescue, medical treatment, hospital fees, not to mention damaged equipment it is no wonder insurers offer specialist winter sports insurance policies. The policy you choose should cover you both on and off-piste, which means you are not only covered for any accidents that may happen but also for loss or theft of items such as baggage, ski passes, equipment etc. Some policies will also either include or offer you the option to add on personal liability cover, which will cover you against damage to another person, for example, if you have crashed into someone and injured them.
It is worth pointing out that it isn’t just skiers and snowboarders who need this type of insurance policy.? Activities such as ice skating, tobogganing, sledding, abseiling etc will all need extra cover, just make sure you go through the small print thoroughly to check what is and isn’t covered. Also, be aware that certain activities may well be considered too dangerous to insure against. Off piste skiing, ski acrobatics, ski mountaineering, use of bobsleighs, luges, skeletons or bungees are all categorised as dangerous and if you intend to do any of these on your holiday you will need to do your research to find a specialist extreme sports policy. Remember, the greater the risk the higher the premium.
When traveling in Europe it is worth signing up for a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Sign up is free and will entitle you to free state provided healthcare in Europe, however, it won’t cover you for everything so you will still need specialist insurance. It is also worth checking whether your bank offers free travel cover as part of their service. Some do, but may not offer winter sports cover as standard.? If this is the case, compare the cost of buying an independent single trip winter sports policy versus upgrading your existing annual cover with them, it may well be the cheaper option.
As with any insurance policy, it is essential you read it thoroughly and pay particular attention to not only what it does or does not cover you for, but also what could potentially invalidate a claim. Put simply do not drink and ski! If you decide to hit the slopes after a heavy session on the Gl?hwein and have an accident, one thing you can be certain of is that your insurer will not pay out. Some insurers have also been known to only cover skiers and snowboarders if they are wearing protective helmets, so again make sure you check the small print.
So, what happens if you decide to ignore all advice and travel without winter sports insurance? Going on holiday without insurance is always a risk, but even more so for lovers of winter sports. If you do have the misfortune of being involved in an accident whilst on the slopes you can expect to pay some hefty costs, which would make a huge dent your savings or worst case, would put you in a debt for a long time.? Why take the risk? The cost of taking out a winter sports insurance policy is marginal compared to the spiralling costs that you could incur should something happen.? It is just not worth it.
Have we managed to convince you?