Guide to winter sports travel insurance

·4-min read

Travel insurance and coronavirus

When buying travel insurance, check whether the policy provides cancellation cover that includes coronavirus risks, including if you fall ill or need to isolate before you travel. You should also have cover in case you fall ill (including with Covid) while you are away. Read the policy documents and check levels of cover with the insurer if you are not sure what protection is provided.

Gliding through the trees on crisp white snow with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face… for many people, a wintery adventure beats a leisurely beach break hands down.

However, the chances of injuring yourself – or someone else – are a lot higher when you’re swishing down the slopes than when you’re lazing on a sun lounger.

To make the most of the mountains, you also need specialist equipment that costs a lot to replace if it is lost or stolen.

That’s why many insurers offer winter sports travel insurance that provides extra cover for skiers and snowboarders.

What is winter sports travel insurance?

Winter sports travel insurance, also known as winter sports cover, is a type of travel insurance specially designed for fans of winter holiday activities such as skiing and snowboarding.

Often sold as an add-on to standard travel cover, it offers extra cover for equipment such as skis, as well as the cost of transporting you off the slopes and to a doctor’s surgery or hospital if you have an accident.

You may also be able to claim compensation if your trip is affected by piste closures, for example due to lack of snow.

What is covered by winter sports insurance?

As with all kinds of travel insurance, different winter sports policies offer different levels of cover. However, most policies will provide cover for:

  • The cost of replacing your lift pass if it’s lost or stolen

What’s not covered by winter sports insurance?

Most of the sports and activities you are likely to do on a winter holiday are covered by winter sports insurance. These include:

  • Ice fishing.

However, more extreme sports such as heli-skiing and glacier climbing are often excluded.

Other common exclusions include:

  • Accidents that happen when you’re skiing “off piste” without a qualified instructor (to be covered in these circumstances, you’ll usually need specialist insurance).

Like all travel insurance policies, winter sports cover will also become invalid if you travel against the advice issued by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Does winter sports insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?

You can get winter sports travel insurance that provides cover for most pre-existing medical conditions. You may have to pay more for your policy, but as with all types of travel insurance, you should be upfront and honest about your medical history.

Failing to disclose medical conditions can invalidate your cover.

And that could prove very expensive if you need to make a related claim.

How much is winter sports insurance?

Winter sports travel insurance is not expensive – especially when you consider how much it could save you should something go wrong on your ski holiday.

Cover for a week on the slopes in Europe, for example, can cost less than £15.

However, the cost will depend on the level of cover you choose, the length of time you need the cover, your age and medical history, and where you’re heading on your winter sports holiday.

If, for example, you’re off on a two-week snowboarding holiday to Whistler in Canada, you can expect to pay closer to £50 than £15 – even if you’re young and fit.

The main reason for this is the high cost of medical care in Canada, as well as certain other countries such as the USA.

How can I cut the cost of winter sports insurance?

You can take out winter sports insurance for a single trip, or as an annual policy that covers you for multiple trips (usually of up to 31 days) during a 12-month period.

Single-trip cover will often work out cheaper if you’re only planning to go on one ski holiday per year – although adding winter sports cover to an existing annual travel insurance policy can be a cost-effective option too.

If you’re unsure, it’s worth comparing the cost of both policy types, as the right choice for you will depend on a range of factors, including your other holiday plans.

If you’re travelling with your family, your partner, or a group, it may also prove cheaper to take out a joint winter sports policy – although not if one of the individuals concerned is much older or in poor health.

However, whatever type of winter sports insurance policy you decide to take out, remember to consider the level of cover provided as well as the price.

Your winter sports travel insurance checklist

When shopping around for winter sports travel insurance, make sure you tick the following:

  • Make sure the standard features of the policy – such as the cancellation and lost baggage cover – are sufficient for your needs.

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