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Winter sports cover neglected by millions

By Lois Avery

Winter sports insurance will be neglected by millions of Brits this winter as skiers head off to the slopes unprotected, according to AXA insurance.

Their research reveals that around 17 per cent of the UK’s adult population enjoy a ski or snowboarding holiday. And yet 10 per cent of these holidaymakers won’t take out travel insurance at all, leaving them exposed to costs running to tens, if not hundreds of thousands of pounds if they have an accident. 

For example, evacuation from the slopes, an operation and an air ambulance home from Austria can easily reach £25k, while costs for those holidaying in America and Canada will be even higher.

AXA also found that, although 25 per cent will rely on an annual travel policy for winter sports cover, only half of these people will actually check that it covers them for skiing and snowboarding.

Around 30 per cent of skiers/boarders are likely to make a claim at some point and a quarter of skiers/boarders claim to have suffered some sort of injury while on holiday, highlighting the need for insurance.

Amanda Edwards from AXA travel insurance says: “Obviously money is tight for many people at the moment and holidays are expensive.  But to cut insurance out is a false economy.  Dealing with an injury is stressful enough but having no insurance could mean the damage lasts until long after the plaster cast has been removed.

“Around £50 to cover a family of four for a week's skiing in France is not much more than the price of lunch on the slopes.”

Although travel data for 2009 showed that people are cutting back on foreign holidays with a 15 per cent drop in holidays and the ski season, AXA insurance is concerned that those who are still holidaying will look at ways to reduce the cost of their holidays by dropping insurance.

AXA offers the following advice to anyone hitting the slopes this season:

  • If you have an annual insurance policy, make sure that it covers winter sports or whether an upgrade is needed.
  • Check whether your policy covers expensive skis or equipment.
  • Off-piste can be fun but it carries a higher risk to skiers. Some insurers will exclude you off-piste.
  • Make sure you understand your excess levels and can afford them.
  • If you have arranged your own holiday rather than booking through a tour operator, check you have comprehensive enough cover for things such as delayed departure, or additional accommodation if you are unable to get home when planned.

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