While you research snow conditions, aprÃ¨s-ski options and the last kit before your next ski vacation, spend some time on your travel insurance as well.
Winter sports travel insurance is an essential part of any snow getaway because it will give you the peace of mind that you are financially protected in the event of a problem.
If you’re wondering what winter sports travel insurance really is, if you really need it, and how to find the most suitable policy, our comprehensive guide will help.
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What is travel insurance for winter sports?
Most standard travel insurance policies will not adequately cover you for a winter sports vacation. This is simply because if you engage in snow-related activities like skiing and snowboarding, you are more likely to injure yourself than reading a book by the pool. You are also more likely to be in possession of an expensive kit that could be lost or stolen.
In other words, in the eyes of an insurer, you are more of a risk.
This is why winter sports coverage is usually a supplement that you can add to standard travel insurance policies. It provides a financial safety net if you have to claim medical bills after an accident on the slopes, slope closures, or the loss of your ski equipment – and more.
How to take out winter sports travel insurance?
If you have already taken out annual travel insurance, carefully read its terms and conditions to find out if it includes winter sports cover as standard and, if so, what it consists of.
You may find that some activities are covered but not all you need, or winter sports are excluded altogether.
If this is the case or if you have any questions, ask your insurer to add additional winter sports coverage to make sure you are protected for your trip.
If you purchase one-way travel insurance for your ski vacation, or a new annual policy, with most insurers, you should be able to add winter sports coverage in the purchase process.
What should winter sports travel insurance include?
In addition to all the essentials included in a standard comprehensive travel insurance policy – such as coverage for medical expenses, cancellation, loss of baggage and money, and third party liability – travel insurance specializing in winter sports should also cover you for the following:
- Medical expenses following an accident on the runways, including cover for air ambulance rescue
- Loss or damage to your winter sports or rental equipment
- Loss of packages
- Closure of slopes and avalanches – this will allow you to claim the part of the trip that you lose, often by day, but there may be a minimum delay after which this kicks in.
What should I look for in a winter sports travel insurance policy?
As with any travel insurance policy, make sure you are covered for the items that are important to you. We have described a few examples below:
Check your limits
Pay attention to the financial limits of the policy you are considering so that you don’t have any unpleasant surprises if you have to make a claim.
Look closely at the numbers for:
- Excess – this is the amount you will have to pay for a claim. Find out if this figure is per person or per policy if you have a joint policy and see if different items have different deductible amounts. With all the excess amounts, think realistically about what you could afford to pay
- Lost items and equipment – check how much your policy will allow you to claim for items you plan to take with you on your winter sports vacation. In addition to looking at the overall amount you can claim, check if there is a limit for a single item as well.
- Cancelation – make sure it is the same amount or more than what you paid for your trip
- Medical fees – the cost of rescuing a person in the mountains can be high, so don’t be tempted to skimp on this to save money in the short term. And make sure repatriation (bringing you back to the UK) is included in the coverage as well
- Cover for legal costs / civil liability – this will cover you if you have accidentally injured someone on the slopes or elsewhere, or damaged their property. The Money Advice Service recommends looking for policies of a minimum of Â£ 2million or more.
Not all policies offer the same level of coverage, so check carefully what yours offers (and doesn’t). Some common exclusions to watch out for include:
- Extreme winter sports – while skiing and snowboarding are likely to be covered, other snow-based activities such as sledding and snowmobiling may not. Think about what you are likely to do and ask your insurer if you can add additional sports if necessary.
- Going off-piste or breaking other rules – some policies may state that you will not be covered for an accident that occurs while you are off-road while others may state that you must wear a helmet to be covered
- Accidents under the influence of alcohol or over-the-counter drugs – many policies do not cover an accident after you drink alcohol or take drugs
- Unattended Equipment – if it turns out that you did not take care of the lost or stolen equipment, your insurer may not pay
- Traveling against the advice of the FCDO – As with most travel insurance policies, if you are traveling to a destination that the government does not recommend traveling to, your policy will likely be void unless you have specialized insurance.
When to take out winter sports travel insurance?
As with any travel insurance policy, the best time to purchase winter sports travel insurance is when you book your trip.
This way, you should be covered for cancellation in the event of an issue beyond your control before your trip – such as a divorce, termination, or the death of a close family member – while being protected while you are away. .
How do I find the best winter sports policy for me?
It is important to compare your options for winter sports policies so that you are happy that you have found the best policy for you at the best price.
A good way to compare multiple policies side by side is to use a price comparison website that will allow you to enter your details once and see the results of multiple companies.
When entering your details, it’s important to report any pre-existing medical conditions you have, even if doing so increases the price of a policy. If it turns out that you have withheld medical information, your insurer may deny a claim.
Also consider who is traveling with you, as purchasing a policy that covers your family group rather than individual policies may turn out to be better value.
If you plan to go several times a year, compare the price of an annual policy with a single travel insurance because, again, it could save you money in the long run.
Just be sure to think carefully in advance about where you are likely to travel, so that you know whether to choose a global or European policy.
CEAM and GHIC
Finally, if you are traveling to Europe, do not forget to bring your EHIC or GHIC card.
EHICs, which are being phased out for Global Health Insurance Cards (GHICs) since the Brexit deal in January 2021, mean you can receive the same state-run medical treatment as a local if you fall. sick or injured during your absence.
If you have a valid EHIC, you can still use it until it expires. GHIC replacements are free to request at NHS website.
It is important to note that neither of the two cards replace travel insurance. It will not cover all medical expenses or other unforeseen events, such as a cancellation, unlike a full travel insurance policy.
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