‘Thin Ice’ Insurance Warning to Winter Sports Travellers

Government warning to skiers and boarders: Don’t forget Winter sports travel insurance.

As many of us are about to jet off to hit the slopes – more than 1 million this winter - a warning has been issued by the Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) concerning travel insurance.

Many travellers risk going overseas without travel insurance - ABTA has revealed that a third of skiers and snow boarders travel without the correct type of travel insurance.

When taking part in winter sports, skiing and/or snowboarding for example, winter sports travel insurance is a necessity.

Unbelievably, it’s actually the over 65s who travel without the correct winter sports cover – 55%. Also surprisingly, it’s the 25-34 year olds who are the most insurance-aware and travel with the correct cover - less than 24% of 25-34 year olds travel without the correct cover.

Simply put, if you have an accident on the slopes – for example you break your leg or arm, or worst still, you suffer a severe head injury – you will not be covered.

Yes, emergency services will come to rescue you and take you to a hospital. But you will NOT be covered for the costs. This means that all the costs associated with getting you there and all your medial bills will be your responsibility. This could easily run into tens of thousands of pounds. And it’s easy for serious conditions, where an air ambulance rescue is needed, to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

This can be easily avoided by purchasing the correct winter sports cover.

Don’t be mistaken thinking that your EHIC card will give you the same level of cover. An EHIC card covers you for free A&E-type cover in EU countries in public hospitals. Not rescues or operations.

Travel insurance covers more than lost baggage, it covers your life too.

In a bid to raise awareness of this, the FCO has teamed up with four-time Winter Olympian, Chemmy Alcott, to ensure UK travellers are aware, safe and protected.

Here's Chemmy's advice for ski and slope safety:

  • Always check the in-resort weather forecast before heading out. Be aware of how rapidly snow conditions can deteriorate, meaning visibility can become poor extremely quickly.
  • Be aware of your abilities on the slopes – don’t push it or take on challenging runs.
  • Ski and board in groups, taking care not to lose friends and family – there’s safety in numbers.
  • Only ski off-piste if you are an experienced and confident skier/boarder, and make sure you are with a qualified guide, not on your own.
  • Never hit the slopes without a helmet.
  • Remember, altitude and alcohol don’t mix. Don’t be tempted to over indulge at lunchtime, which could lead you to overestimate your judgement and safety. Save the après ski for the evenings when you’re safely in your hotel or restaurant.
  • Know the emergency services number – 112 in Europe and 911 in the USA.

So don’t risk treading on ‘thin ice’ when it comes to your winter sport holiday. Be 100% covered to be 100% protected!