Ski Insurance – Covered or ‘Off Piste’?

Ski Insurance – Covered or ‘Off Piste’?

by Caleb James on 11 Aug, 2011

According to the UK Foreign Office, about one third of us Brits head for the annual ski holiday each winter without travel insurance.  If you want to rock up at the ski resort with peace of mind, a carefully checked ski insurance policy is vital.

About 30% of snowboarders and skiers are likely to claim on their travel insurance and a quarter of those will be due to an injury, according to Axa insurance.

Buying cheap ski insurance on line is quick and easy – online applications take around 10 minutes. However Axa suggest that a fifth of us are still relatively uninformed on what should be covered by ski insurance.

Ski holidays are great but there are many factors that can go wrong, often through no fault of your own. We all remember the volcanic ash nightmare of April 2010, which closed down the skies of Europe, cancelled 100,000 flights and left 10 million travellers stranded. It pays to make yourself familiar with the details of your policy before you pay for it and before you claim on it.

Ski insurance basics:

Aim for at least £1 million emergency medical expenses (£2-5 million is ideal), which respond should you need hospital treatment followed by repatriation back to the UK. The UK Foreign office quotes £4000 or more if you break your leg in the Italian Alps and many times more if further afield.

You’ll need personal liability cover in case you ski into someone else and cause damage or injury to property.
Don’t forget cover for baggage, personal possessions, money, hired ski equipment, delays or cancellation of the flights/holiday.

6 travel insurance tips for skiers:

1) If you holiday frequently, you may have annual travel insurance. Check that your policy covers winter sports and check what the maximum daily limit is in relation to the duration of your holiday. Some policies only cover two weeks whereas others are up to a month.

2) Skiing off piste? Tell your insurer, as this is unlikely to be covered as standard. The same goes for any unusual winter sports like snow kayaking or ice sailing!

3) Add up the cost of the equipment you are taking, including your own skis and ski apparel. Then check this with your policy limits and increase if necessary.

4) Check your policy will pay out if the pistes are closed for any reason.

5) If you have been drinking alcohol, your policy may be invalidated so check the small details and in any case, drink responsibly.

6) Pre-existing medical conditions are really important! Let your insurer know of any medical problems you already have e.g. if you know you are pregnant or have a pre-existing sports injury, you should tell your insurers.

When you think of how much you spend on your winter ski holiday, a relatively minor premium and a small amount of effort ensures peace of mind – so you can spend more time enjoying your holiday and less time worrying if things go wrong.

PS:Make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card before travelling. Full details are here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Diol1/DoItOnline/DG_4018163

About the Author

Caleb James


Caleb James is a financial advisor and journalist, who contributes regularly to financial blogs and industry publications.