Get the right travel insurance for you
With single trip and annual cover on offer, which policy is the best to buy for your needs on the slopes?
If you already have an annual travel insurance policy, you should make the effort to read the small print to see if you are actually covered for winter sports and what the conditions are. It might include cover for skiing and snowboarding, for example, but not for more extreme activities such as heli-skiing. And you might not be covered by a standard travel insurance contract if you go “off-piste”. Additionally, annual cover may limit you to a certain number of days a year taking part in winter style activities.
You might also find that a standard policy does not cover items such as sports equipment - or at least not to the level you require to protect your winter sports kit. And the policy might also not cover the loss or theft of your ski pass.
Another consideration is the geographical limits of your annual policy. If you bought it primarily to cover your trips to the Mediterranean during the summer, it might only extend to Europe. But many people visit ski resorts in the United States and Canada, which would mean they would need additional cover.
All this means that, if you are hoping to benefit from the protection of your annual policy when you head to the slopes, you need to drill down into the small print to check for the exclusions and the policy limits. They should be prominent on the document, but if in doubt put in a call to your insurer.
If you don't have an annual policy, or if your winter sports plans mean your existing policy doesn't provide all the protection you require, you can get specialist single trip winter sports travel cover. You will certainly need to check you have cover for the country you plan to visit and whether you need European, USA/Canada or Worldwide protection. And it is important to know whether there are limits on the length of trip - if you are going to be away for more than 15 days, you might need to notify the insurer.
The beauty of a specialist winter sports policy is that it should provide cover for equipment and passes. It might offer you a menu of items, along with various values, so that you can build a policy to cover your particular requirements.
The hazards associated with winter sports are well known, and those participating have a responsibility to themselves and others to stay safe and minimise the risk or an accident...
That means exercising due caution while undertaking your chosen activity, and following the rules of the sport and of the particular resort. These are usually displayed at the entrance to ski lift systems.
If you are negligent or reckless or otherwise flout the guidelines as laid down by your policy, you might find any claim you make is turned down or reduced by the insurer.
A particular problem can arise if people have accidents when under the influence of alcohol. This can invalidate their cover so take it easy when enjoying a lunch on the slopes.
You might be required to specify if you plan to undertake activities such as tobogganing, ski-doo/snow-mobiling or ice skating, for example. The policy might also stipulate that you will not be covered if you ignore warnings posted at the resort about hazardous conditions, or if you venture into certain areas without a guide.
When selecting your policy it's imperative that you have the right levels of cover. Check these carefully as the cheapest prices are unlikely to cover you sufficiently...
At TravelSupermarket we recommend the following levels of cover as a minimum:
It is important not to compromise on the scope and extent of your cover as you could find yourself severely out of pocket. For example, the cost of medical repatriation is extremely high, so if you skimped on medical expenses protection, you might not have sufficient funds to get you back from your holiday for treatment and convalescence in the UK.
The same applies to liability cover, which would cover your costs if you were deemed to be at fault for an incident that caused injury or loss to others.
If you are tempted by a cheap policy, check the level of excess that you would have to pay in the event of a claim. If this is set at a high level - say, £200 - then saving money on the premium could prove to be a false economy.