If you are heading off to the slopes, make sure you take care and consider our five tips to stop your holiday going ‘downhill’. Our guest writer Rachel Redmond* explains the importance of having travel insurance after her recent ski trip didn’t go according to plan.
Don't cut corners to save money
Having just returned from a skiing holiday myself with a sprained knee, I know first-hand the importance of having a high-quality travel policy in place with high limits of cover – the last thing you want to be worrying about if you get injured, is whether your policy will pay out the costs associated with your accident.
Mountain rescue is (as I have discovered) not cheap, and you will probably have spent a great deal of money before you're even off the slopes and being handed medical bills! It's good to remember that you get what you pay for, so for a trip involving a high-risk sport like skiing, you need to ensure that your insurance limits are in line with that higher risk of injury and the costs that could be involved.
Check that you are appropriately covered
This may seem like an obvious tip, however the majority of travel insurance policies only include cover for skiing by way of a 'Winter Sports Extension', therefore it is important to check that this is in place. There will typically be exclusions within this section of cover, and the following are three examples of areas where Insurers can be rather strict;
- Off-piste - There should be cover for this within the policy, however, usually only under certain circumstances. So if you are planning on braving these slopes it is vital to make yourself familiar with the ins and outs of cover.
- Unattended equipment - It is common for Insurers to decline claims for theft of equipment if it has been left unattended in public, so try to leave your skiing gear out of sight; if you look after your equipment then your insurance will look after you.
- Après-ski - Enjoying a beverage or two on the slopes is as much a part of the holiday as the skiing is. However, Insurers may not pay a claim if you are injured as a result of inebriation, so it's probably not the best idea to try and ski if you've had one too many!
Factor in the cost of your equipment
For those of you who have been skiing before, you will be all too familiar with how costly your equipment can be. If I had arranged my travel policy before purchasing all of my skiing gear for my first skiing trip, I would almost certainly have been under-insured! So, make sure that the cover limit for your equipment is adequate; your policy should fit you as suitably as your ski jacket does!
Weather conditions in the mountains can change very quickly, so alongside the importance of dressing appropriately, you will also need to know how to get help if you sustain an injury. It is therefore essential to have the emergency mountain rescue number to hand. Referring to the mention of my accident, the situation would have been exceedingly difficult if I had not had access to this number whilst stuck on the piste. So, before you jump on the chair lift to start your day, make sure that you are prepared for every eventuality and know what to do in an emergency.
If you ignore the rules, your insurance may ignore you
Ski resorts enforce rules for a reason, and most are usually for your own safety e.g. wearing helmets in certain areas, piste rules, skiing curfews and so on. If you are not following local rules/advice, then Insurers could decline to cover any claim that arises in connection with this. Therefore, once you've arrived at your resort and settled in, it may be a good idea to familiarise yourself with the do's and don'ts, especially on the piste; the ski instructors/staff at the resort are the experts. So listening to their advice is the most foolproof way of having an accident-free skiing holiday!
If you are heading off to the slopes, call our travel insurance team on 01243 784000 and get covered.
*Rachel bought a policy from payingtoomuch.com which was zero excess. Her policy cost £52.04 and her claim amount was for €900.