A third of British skiers hit slopes without checking travel cover

After the recent snowy weather, thousands of brits will be preparing for a ski trip around the world.

Winter sports are not usually included as standard on your travel insurance, but 1 in 3 travellers don’t check if they are covered before hitting the slopes. 

Winter holidays conjure cosy images of powdery snow, tree-topped mountains, rosy cheeks and marshmallow-blanketed hot chocolate in an alpine lodge... and a festive pair of crutches?

Didn’t think so. But injuries on the slopes are a very real risk of skiing, snowboarding and other winter sports trips.

So why do one third of winter sports enthusiasts hit the mountains without first checking that their travel insurance would be valid if they got injured while participating in those activities?

According to a new report released by ABTA, the UK association for tour operators and travel agents, roughly 1.75 million Britons will go on a skiing holiday this season – meaning half a million could be travelling without the right cover.

Over-55s are the age group most likely to be lax about checking what they’re covered for. Snow sports trips have significantly increased in popularity within this age group in 2017. On the other hand, those between 18 and 24 were the most prepared, with only 14% failing to check their cover.

“Many holidaymakers wrongly assume they're automatically covered for winter sports as part of their travel insurance – but it is often not the case, meaning thousands of people could be heading to the slopes without any cover,” said Nikki White, director of destinations and sustainability at ABTA.

Winter sports cover is usually easy to add on to your travel insurance, but rarely comes as standard.

 

So what might you have to fund if you fail to arrange cover?

  • Treatment costs

The bill for treatment in a foreign hospital can quickly add up. If you are travelling within Europe, a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) allows you to receive the same state-provided medical healthcare as a citizen would - but it won’t cover all medical costs, private treatment or return to the UK. In addition, more and more people are travelling to the USA or Canada for their ski trip resulting in much higher treatment costs should anything go wrong.

With the cost of treating a broken arm costing up to £11,000 in Europe, not checking your travel insurance can be a lot more than the holiday itself. In Europe, a helicopter evacuation from the slopes will typically cost £1,500.

  • Changed plans

If you can’t make your original flight home due to a hospital stay or incapacitating injury, you will have to pay for your own rearranged travel as well as covering further accommodation costs. Without the necessary insurance, a change of flight for you and your travelling party can cost thousands. An overnight stay can cost over $4,000 in the USA and emergency repatriation can cost up to £45,000 for an air ambulance flight from America’s East Coast.

  • Fatalities

 

Between 2012 and 2016, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) reported 58 British deaths during skiing and snowboarding holidays. If the worst should happen, correct travel insurance will cover repatriation to the UK.

It’s worth consulting an expert when arranging travel insurance, as they will ensure the specific activities you intend to participate in are covered.

As with all insurance, check the small print. As wonderful as Apres-ski bars are, your policy may not pay out if you are under the influence of alcohol. It is also becoming more common to be a requirement that you wear a helmet, either on or off-piste. Some policies may not even cover you to ski or board off-piste at all. At Fiveways, we can explain all of this to you and ensure that you have the level of cover you need for your enjoyable holiday.

As you can see, the cost of not having the right insurance can prove to be very high.

Before you get covered in the Alps, don’t hesitate to check if you’re covered on your insurance. Speak to our team at Fiveways today who will be delighted, if not a little jealous, to help you out.  Call us on 01952 812380, email us at enquiries@fivewaysinsurance.co.uk or pop in to one of our high street offices in Newport or Stafford.