This winter season 400,000 Britons will risk taking to the pistes with no travel insurance and could face huge bills in the event of an accident, according to new research from esure travel insurance.
Of the one in five skiers who don't take out travel insurance, five per cent wrongly rely solely on their European Health Insurance card for cover, 11 per cent choose to risk ski trips with no insurance cover at all, and 4 per cent just forget to buy it.
esure urges all skiers to make sure that they have adequate medical cover to avoid being left badly out of pocket if they become injured. Treatment could run into thousands of pounds with a helicopter evacuation alone costing around £1500 and repatriation costs topping £4000 from Europe and £8000 from the USA and Canada. Even transport off the slopes on a blood-wagon would set you back approximately £200.
Mike Pickard of esure says, “No matter what your level of competency on the slopes, accidents do happen and huge medical bills can easily rack up. It is crucial to ensure you're fully covered with quality insurance that includes specific winter sports cover."
Top tips for skiers this winter season:
Do not assume that a travel insurance policy automatically provides cover for winter sports. Most insurers offer this cover as an optional extra.
Make sure the sizing is right if you borrow equipment. Make sure everything is the correct size - especially ski boots - as safety should be the utmost importance on the slopes rather than cost saving.
Check what activities are covered before you book: if you intend on participating in activities off the regular ski runs, double check which ones are covered as standard and call your insurer if you are unsure. Extreme sports - such as ice-lake diving, off-piste snowboarding and tobogganing - may not be covered by travel insurance.
Take insurance documentation with you.
Read insurance policy small print before you buy: check limits, restrictions and exclusions to make sure you have ample cover - especially to cover medical bills.
Travel insurance: News update: January 2009