Ski holiday insurance

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What is ski holiday insurance?

More and more people are seeking the sporting thrill that only some winter sports can deliver, and in the natural environments where they are traditionally experienced. And as you might imagine, the mixture of slippery surfaces, high speed, adrenalin-pumping rushes and the limits to individual talent has a habit of colliding in spectacular fashion on many occasions. Which is why a niche insurance market has arisen in recent times, focussing on the needs of the more winter sports-orientated and primed traveller/holidaymaker. The sort who perhaps might need that little bit more protection on all levels than their summer holidaying counterpart (providing they themselves steer clear of bungee jumping, scuba diving and pot holing that is). Welcome to the world of winter sports travel insurance.

Skis, ice skates, toboggans, snowboards. Do you want us to continue? Yes, the list of potential methods of injuring yourself as you hurtle down a steep and snow-filled decline are pretty limitless in this day and age,

so the insurance industry have really had to put their (thermal beanie hat-shaped) thinking cap on to determine which is the best approach to safeguarding winter sports travel insurance policyholder’s financial concerns and general wellbeing. And what they’ve collectively arrived at is this; a winter sports travel insurance policy.

Whilst the otherwise hugely popular single trip travel insurance plan  is unlikely to cover you for winter sports – a common exclusion on a host of similar policies – specially designed winter sports policies are geared up specifically with the tobogganing, snowboarding, ice-skating, heli-skiing, dog sledding, snow shoeing, cross-country skiing fan very much in mind.

Naturally the policyholder will receive the normal standard of travel insurance protection they’d find in any other package where the main objective is to implicate risk management protocol and ultimately safeguard them against potentially costly incidents which widely occur when folk are both home and away. So therefore loss of baggage, flight/holiday delay and cancellation, medical and emergency repatriation cover are all inclusive, however with a few additional and bespoke clauses which will benefit winter sports fans. Damage to and/or loss of specialist winter sports equipment (policyholder’s own or maybe even hired, depending on T’s & C’s of individual policies) and recompense for pre-paid ski school fees, lift passes and equipment hire costs in the event of the policyholder suffering an injury which consequently curtails the holiday.

Be mindful that should the policyholder venture off-piste without a fully qualified ski instructor, this action might contravene your winter sports travel insurance package. So again, ensure that you read all the small print prior to agreeing to anything. On a similar thread, also be sure to declare any pre-existing medical conditions you might suffer from – and which might result in a post-holiday claim. Neglecting to do this, or withholding information deemed vitally important at the application stage, could well render your winter sports travel policy null and void in certain, avoidable circumstances. Honesty and being up-front with your travel insurance provider is always the best policy.

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Do I need winter sports travel insurance?

If you’re adamant about embarking on a winter sports-orientated trip or holiday, then without a doubt, a big yes.

Failure to prepare adequately for an expedition of this type and prepare to fail on the slopes. OK, you might (God willing) slalom yourself out of harm’s way/injury, but there’s no guarantee that you won’t misplace or damage a serious bit of state-of-the-art winter sports kit and caboodle during your stay. It just makes all round good sense to take the extra precautions beforehand when you’re throwing all of your energies into a holiday of this type.

Besides which, what if the weather closes down? While a change in conditions won’t normally make a drastic difference in sunnier climes, the chances of an avalanche or blizzard conditions descending on ski and snowboarding slopes are a very real and recurrent prospect in a winter sports terrain and general environment.

On the flip side of this, there are many times at the peak of a winter sports season that a lack of snow hampers progress and can lead to closure of certain key areas and locations. If a slope is closed off or designated out of bounds for a few days when you’ve paid for it in advance, you’ll obviously wish to be recompensed for your inconvenience, not to mention compromising the enjoyment factor of your holiday. Again, possessing the right sort of winter sports travel insurance policy will provide these assurances and afford the policyholder the means of follow-up and financial closure.

Staggeringly, only a couple of years ago a survey showed that 38% of winter sports travellers DON’T fix up dedicated travel insurance before they set off. And equally as worrying is the statistical fact which intonates that some 70% of skiers and snowboarders DON’T wear a helmet when they take to the slopes. Be extra aware that some winter sports travel insurers will NOT pay out if you pick up an injury while not wearing a safety helmet of some description. Also worth noting that if you are thinking about mountain climbing in such environs, you may require a more comprehensive cover which you’ll need to talk to your winter sports travel insurance provider about from the outset.

How much does ski holiday insurance cost?

Winter sports travel insurance policies will vary according to the exact amount of cover you’re looking for.

As a general guide, experts recommend taking out winter sports travel insurance cover with a hefty amount of medical cover, possibly in the region of £5million, although a more realistic minimum of £2million has also been recommended.

This is what’s suggested to extend to private medical care while abroad and repatriation using a staffed air ambulance to get the policyholder back to the UK in the worst case scenario, and also includes the costs associated with mountain rescue as well.

Aside from medical cover, ensure that you have enough personal liability coverage for less drastic – yet clearly inconvenient and potentially holiday-spoiling – turns of events, as some people realise – when it’s too late and they’ve had to register a claim on their winter sports travel insurance policy – that their entitlement barely affords them replacement ski poles, never mind the other short fallings which will leave you well out of pocket.

In real terms, many winter sports travel insurance plans don’t actually cost you that much, all things considered.

Recent research has found that you can pick up some policies from as little as £10, which when compared to the possibly huge medical bills you could face as a result of a serious injury represent a drop in the ocean.

Excesses on this kind of low premium deal are often on the large size though, with medical said to be in the region of £175 and cancellation and baggage claims £125 and £100 respectively. To strike a lower excess package, you will usually end up paying more for the cover, with it possible to arrange no excess at all as a trade-off for certain single trip policies costing nigh on £30.

Meanwhile your existing bank account may or may not afford you an annual travel insurance policy or ‘free cover’ as part and parcel of your package. That said, it’s crucial that you read all the T’s & C’s to have it rubber stamped that winter sports are encompassed within its coverage and moreover, at a level sufficient to your needs.


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