Research taken out by the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has highlighted the fact that one in five* travellers who go away to take part in winter sports are not taking out travel insurance.
An accident on the slopes can creep into the thousands very easily. With a fractured leg in the US leaving the policyholder with a possible £40,000 medical bill – who can risk going on the slopes without travel insurance?!
During the 2010 skiing season, including Europe and the USA, the majority of claims came from injuries to the shoulder and collarbone and with an average cost of a ski injury claim during the same season costing £1,700!*
The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is a must when temporarily visiting an EEA country including Switzerland. The EHIC allows UK nationals reduced-cost or sometimes free medical treatment but it is not a substitute for comprehensive travel insurance.
A lot of European ski resorts don’t have state-owned medical facilities, which means the EHIC may be refused by some private clinics. Unfortunately this may then mean that the injured person will have to foot the bill themselves if they don’t have winter travel insurance.
When you do purchase your winter sports travel insurance make sure you read the small print. Most insurance policies have exclusions attached and will not cover you for things like being under the influence of alcohol or if you venture off-piste. So if you have an accident and you find that your insurer won’t cover you, a large medical bill may be on its way!
Top tips when buying Ski travel insurance
- Make sure that your ski insurance has a sufficient cancellation limit that would cover you if you had to cancel your trip or if you had to curtail (come home early). If the limit doesn’t cover the cost of your trip then you may be out of pocket.
- Ensure that you have cover for equipment. If you are taking your own equipment does the limit cover you or again would you be out of pocket if something was lost or stolen? Bare in mind that most policies have a single article limit.
- Take your EHIC with you when you travel to the EEA including Switzerland. Insurers may reduce the excess of your emergency medical expenses cover if you use your card.
- It needs to be noted that the EHIC will not pay for the costs of getting you home so make sure you have a travel insurance policy which covers you for repatriation. If you are injured abroad and hospitalised for a period of time, the insurance company in conjunction with the treating doctor may decide to get you home.
- If you will be taking part in certain winter sports activities, you will need to check if your travel insurance policy includes them – especially if you will be doing something out of the realms of skiing and snowboarding on-piste!