Going to hit the slopes? Avoid huge bills by getting ski cover if you’re skiing or snowboarding.
With skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing and more exciting winter sports to do, snow holidays are certainly full of thrills. That said, sometimes they also include some spills.
Protect yourself on (and off!) the slopes and make sure you have adequate winter sports cover for your holiday that covers you for everything from emergency evacuation from the ski fields to lost equipment by the airline on your way over.
A ski travel insurance policy provides all of the same features as a standard policy such as cancellation cover, luggage cover, medical cover plus stacks more including:
- Emergency transport to hospital. In the event of an accident on the ski fields, ski insurance can ensure that you are covered for emergency evacuation to the hospital and even for helicopter rescue if this is required. Most insurers will cover emergency evacuation to the nearest hospital and home again if necessary.
- Extreme weather conditions. In the event that you forced to cancel your trip due to extreme weather such as blizzards and snowstorms, ski insurance allows you to recoup prepaid costs and expenses.
- Cover for equipment hire. Winter sports travel insurance covers loss or damage to hired and owned ski or snowboard equipment. If your ski gear is delayed (for more than 24 hours) or lost by your carrier, your insurer may cover the costs associated with hiring equipment.
- Cover for your own equipment. Ski insurance can also provide cover for specific items if they are over a certain price. You will be covered for the repair and replacement of your equipment and for the additional cost of hiring alternative equipment.
- Weather related issues. Many snow travel insurance plans cover you for transport and accommodation expenses if you are forced to travel to a new resort due to inclement weather.
- Unused ski passes or lessons. Depending on which cover you take out, you may also be covered for unused ski passes, equipment hire and lessons in the event that you are unwell or as a result of loss or theft.
- Heli-skiing. Many providers provide cover for heli-skiing for an additional premium loading.
What should you look for in a ski insurance policy?
Travel insurance with a ski insurance option should provide you with cover for:
- Medical expenses and dental emergencies. In the event that you are taken ill or injured and includes cover for emergency transport, medical evacuations, funeral arrangements and emergency dental.
- Luggage and personal belongings. You should be covered in the event of loss, damage or theft of personal belongings such as your luggage, credit cards, traveller’s cheques, and other personal items.
- Personal liability. If you injure someone or cause damage to their property while you are away, you could end up facing huge legal costs and damages. With personal liability protection you will be covered in the event that a claim is made against you.
- Accidental death or disability. Your ski insurance should cover you in the event of accidental death or disability while you are travelling.
- Excess on a rental vehicle. If you decide to rent a vehicle and you are involved in an accident or the car is stolen, you will be covered to some degree by the vehicle insurance you took out with the rental company. In the event that you are still liable to pay excess charges, your travel insurance should cover this amount.
- Holiday firm/airline insolvency. If you have already paid upfront for your holiday and you then find out that your airline or holiday firm goes out of business, you could face great financial loss. With your ski insurance, you will be covered for any prepaid expenses if your holiday company or airline goes bust.
- Delays and cancellation. Standard travel insurance also provides cover against delayed flights or if you have to cancel your trip due to reasons such as illness or injury that stops you from being able to travel.
- Removal of excess option. Most policies will allow policyholders to pay an additional small fee on their policy to have any excess they are charged under claim removed.
In addition to the benefits listed above, your ski insurance should also offer the additional specialist benefits that you need, including:
- Activity related injuries. If you sustain injuries while you are engaged in the winter sports activities for which you are covered on your specialist plan, you will be covered so you can get the treatment you need.
- Protection of specialist equipment. The cost of winter sports equipment can be extremely high. With your specialist cover, you can ensure that your equipment is covered against loss, damage or theft, which could save you a lot of money if something should happen to it.
- Additional coverage. There may also be other areas of coverage that are included as part of your winter sports travel insurance cover, such as ‘no snow’ cover in the event that you cannot take part in your chosen activities due to problems such as lack of snow, avalanches, piste closure or strong winds. Ski lift pass loss may also be covered, although this is not always the case, as some will only cover ski lifts if you cannot use them due to illness or injury.
These are just some of the features you should look out for on your policy. Each ski insurance policy will list both the benefits and exclusions of the policy clearly on the website or in the product disclosure statement. It is extremely important to review these and the conditions of each prior to application.
What else should I know about ski and snowboard insurance?
Every travel insurance policy will have conditions for events that they will not provide a benefit payment for. These can vary significantly between providers so it is important to be clear on events that you stand to receive a claim for:
Some sports are not covered automatically. Most policies will not provide a benefit payment for claims arising out of participation in:
- snow rafting
- ski acrobatics
- ski joreing
- any use of power assisted snow transport unless supplied by snow authorities for transport to and from the slopes.
- Resorts in certain periods. Some policies don’t provide cover outside of the recreational ski season. This provision is in place unless these resorts are open and there is sufficient snow for skiing.
- Bad weather and avalanche closure. Most providers will require you to obtain a written confirmation from an appropriate authority confirming the closure.
- Skiing under the influence. Like all travel insurance policies, you will not be covered for any losses that occur if under the influence of drugs or intoxicated.
- Skiing out of bounds: There are a number of insurers that will cover you for skiing/snowboarding off-piste but only if you are within the boundaries of the resort. Generally you will not be covered for backcountry skiing outside of the resort boundaries.
How does excess work with snow travel insurance?
Depending on your ski insurance policy, there may be a few different benefits that mention the term “excess”.
Travel insurance excess
The first you’ll see is the standard excess for your travel insurance. This comes as standard with your cover and is the amount you’re agreeing to pay the insurer should you make a claim. Most travel insurers will allow you to either increase or decrease your excess, which in turn affects the cost of your policy. Paying a higher excess means you’ll pay less for the policy but more if you need to make a claim. Choosing a nil or zero dollar excess means you’ll pay more for the policy but won’t have an excess come claim time.
Snow ski equipment hire excess
Some travel insurers allow you to buy an additional benefit that covers the excess payable on damaged or stolen hire equipment.
Rental car excess
If you hire a car while away, it’s the rental company NOT your travel insurance that covers you in the event of an accident. However, the policies from these rental agencies generally come with a hefty excess. Car rental excess insurance protects you against these costs up to the limit of the policy.
How much does winter sports cover cost?
The cost of ski insurance varies based on a number of factors. With so many providers offering travel insurance, the market has become very competitive, which means that you can find some great deals if you take the time to look around.
Some of the things that can affect the amount that you will pay for ski insurance include:
- The provider you choose. Price isn’t everything. While budget policies may appear great in a quote comparison table, they often have higher excess charges and lower payouts for different benefits. So be careful.
- The policy you choose. The level of cover you choose affects the amount you pay for your ski insurance such as medical only, standard or comprehensive cover.
- Your age. The older you get, the greater the risk to the insurer you pose, so you’ll pay a higher premium.
- Your destination. The destination you’re travelling to impacts how much your policy costs.
- The duration of cover. The cost of winter sports travel insurance can be affected by the length of time you are going for, as the longer you require cover for the more you will have to pay for this protection.
- Your holiday plans. If you are planning on engaging in risky activities, such as skiing, you’ll end up paying more.
- Cover for high-value items. Most insurers allow you to take out additional cover for items with greater value than the default amount that will be paid for loss. Registering high price items will incur a premium loading based on the number of items and the value that is stated.
You may recognise the table below from earlier, but there is one difference. This time, not only does the table display the prices for ski insurance but also how that compares to the same policy prior to the addition of the ski option.
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Just like with cross-country and professional skiing, not all providers are willing to provide cover. However, if you are looking for cover for over 70s, you’re in luck.
Some final questions you might have
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