Whether you’re learning to ski on the dry slope near you or boarding down the black run in the Alps this winter, winter sports can be fantastic fun and a great way to keep fit. However, it’s not a sport that’s to be taken lightly: equipment and travel expenses make it a costly endeavour, and the speeds involved – combined with the unforgiving nature of snow and ice – can make it hazardous, too.
That’s why every participant, regardless of their experience or ability, should have dedicated travel insurance for winter sports. In this guide, we’ll look at how it works, why it’s so indispensable, and what to look out for in a good policy.
What is winter sports travel insurance?
Travel insurance for winter sports are specialist policies designed to take care of all the possible circumstances that may befall a participant, whatever their activity. They make sure that you won’t lose out financially as a result of an accident or injury that affects you, your equipment or other people, even if you’re found to be at fault. They also give you the peace of mind that any bills incurred as a result, be they medical, transport-related or otherwise, are also taken care of.
Why is travel insurance for winter sports important?
In short: because winter sports can be dangerous. Whether speeding down a mountain on skis, or gliding across a rink on ice skates, there is always a risk of injury. These could be caused by a fall, a collision with another person, through intense physical exertion, and even through the cold weather getting through poor or damaged clothing and kit. Even the most experienced winter sports enthusiast will make mistakes or be in the wrong place at the wrong time, so keeping covered whatever happens is vital.
Because of the UK’s relatively mild climate, the winter sports facilities in this country are somewhat limited, meaning that the majority of people travel abroad, either to the Alps or further afield. This means that travellers can’t rely on the NHS in the event of injury or accident and need to ensure that they have the right insurance cover in place to avoid huge medical fees.
What kind of activities are covered?
You can get insurance cover for just about every winter sport activity you can think of. That can include downhill skiing and snowboarding, whether on real snow on holiday, or artificial/indoor slopes around the UK. It can include cross-country skiing and alpine ski touring, stunt-related activities on skis or boards, and sliding sports like ice-skating and tobogganing.
One thing that is important to remember is that most insurers will distinguish between recreational activity and competitive events. So, if you’re planning to enter a competition, make sure that you check that your chosen policy is suitable.
What is included in winter sports travel insurance?
The exact detail of what should be in your winter sports travel insurance policy will vary slightly, depending on the nature of your sport. But in general terms, there are four particular areas you should look out for:
Personal Accident and Liability
Cover is essential if you have an accident while participating in your chosen sport and you become injured and/or your equipment is damaged. Additionally, if you happen to injure someone else and/or damage their kit, you could be liable for a claim. A good policy will protect you in these areas through Personal Accident and Personal Liability cover respectively.
Cover for equipment and luggage
From the start of your trip to the end, all the possessions you take with you are at risk of loss, damage or theft. This could be damage through a crash on the slopes, or misplaced luggage that fails to arrive at your destination. Insurance can fund any replacements that you might need, including hiring kit on a temporary basis so that your holiday isn’t disrupted.
Insurance for travel arrangements and competitions
As well as your luggage, you can also cover yourself if your travel arrangements are disrupted to the point that you’re delayed or have to abandon the trip. This also extends to any competitions you’ve entered or activities you’ve signed up for. Good insurance will pay out for any entry fees that are unrecoverable.
Medical expenses and repatriation
The costs of a winter sports accident can quickly mount up, even beyond the hefty fees of overseas hospital care. In the most serious circumstances, you may need rescuing off a mountain and need repatriating back to the UK. The sums of money involved in these services can be enormous, but insurance removes the risk of any personal financial loss if they’re required.
Does an EHIC or GHIC cover winter sports activity in Europe?
Possessing a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is always a good idea for any travel abroad. However, it is not a replacement for travel insurance.
EHICs and GHICs are designed to provide emergency treatment in the event of an accident or injury, but the protections they provide do not extend to all the medical care and related services you may require. For example, if you need to be rescued from a mountain, stay in hospital abroad for a long period of time, or be repatriated back to the UK, you would still need to pay substantial amounts.
Only through dedicated travel insurance policies can you make certain that all medical and related expenses are covered in any eventuality.
Get winter sports insurance with SportsCover Direct
At SportsCover Direct, we have over 25 years’ experience covering people just like you in almost every type of winter sport, ensuring you’re fully protected whenever you hit the slopes and rinks. Our policies include medical and repatriation cover, insurance for trip cancellation and curtailment, personal accident and liability cover, and help if your equipment is lost, damaged or stolen.
Our policies are available at competitive rates, and can be bought either for single trips, or on an annual multi-trip basis. Explore all our winter sports travel insurance policies in detail here.