Winter sports travel insurance

Need to compare winter sports travel insurance?

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Winter sports holidays have seen a surge in popularity in the last decade, and if you're reading this page, it's likely that you've booked or are considering a trip yourself.  You're bound to be looking forward to your winter sports trip, but have you considered the potential dangers that come hand in hand with taking to the slopes?

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What is winter sports travel insurance?

Winter sports travel insurance is a type of travel insurance designed specifically to cover you when you take part in winter sports activities while on holiday.

It can provide the same cover as standard travel insurance as well as additional clauses that cover the unique situations involved in various winter sports.

Do I need winter sports travel insurance?

Winter sports travel insurance can be important as it will cover you for situations where a standard policy might not. Many winter sports are often considered high risk activities so medical treatment costs you might incur won’t be covered under your normal medical treatment cover.

Likewise if you lose any expensive equipment or it gets damaged or lost, it may not come under a standard personal possession policy. This is where the specialised cover provided by winter sports travel insurance comes in useful.

Winter sports cover has grown in popularity by 6.6% since 2016

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket, accurate as of October 2018.

Who takes out winter sport travel insurance?

Over half of people taking out winter sports travel insurance are under 35, according to MoneySuperMarket data collected in October 2018.

In fact, the number of people taking out winter sports cover aged under 25 is increasing every year – going from just over 20,000 in 2016 to over 24,000 in 2018.

58% of winter sports policies taken out by under 35s

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket, accurate as of October 2018.

What does winter sports travel insurance cover?

Winter sports travel insurance generally offers similar cover to a standard travel insurance policy. This can include basic medical costs, delays, cancellations, and cover for lost, damaged, or stolen belongings.

However, the additional policies that relate specifically to winter sports can include:

  • Equipment: this covers the cost of replacing your equipment, such as helmets, skis, or snowboards, if they get lost, damaged, or stolen
  • Alternative equipment hire: this pays out for when you have to hire out alternative equipment when you can’t use yours
  • Piste closure: you’ll be able to claim for the cost of part of your trip if the piste is closed, though insurers may set time requirements such as a minimum of 12 or 24 hours
  • Off-piste activities: Many insurers will still offer cover if you’re doing any activities off-piste, but these will usually come with some conditions – such as going with a qualified instructor
  • Ski pass: this will help with the replacement cost if you lose your ski pass so you can still get to the slopes
  • Medical costs: this covers the cost of treatment if you injure yourself or become ill while on the slopes
  • Pre-existing medical conditions: if you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes, you’ll be able to claim for the cost of treatment should you need it if they flare up while abroad
  • Hire costs: you’ll be able to claim for the cost of cancelled activities and equipment due to illness or injury
  • Personal liability: this is for claiming legal costs if you become liable for someone else’s injuries as a result of your actions
  • Avalanche delays: this is cover for if your winter sports are delayed due to an avalanche

What sports are covered by winter sports travel insurance?

A winter sports travel insurance policy can also provide cover for a number of winter sports activities, such as:

  • Bobsleighing
  • Ice climbing (sometimes with specific height limits)
  • Glacier walking
  • Ice fishing
  • Ice hockey
  • Lugeing
  • Skeletons
  • Snowmobiling
  • Tobogganing
  • Dog-sledding

European Health Insurance Card

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can be useful for any holiday in Europe as it covers emergency medical treatment to the same level as a local citizen. Read more about how useful it can be with our guide to the European Health Insurance Card.

However it won’t be of much help for rescues and repatriation, which is where travel insurance can be so important. Travel cover can be even more crucial in places like USA and Canada, where the EHIC won’t cover you and where medical treatment can cost into the thousands.

How often will I need winter sports insurance?

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast and you take regular trips to the slopes, you might want to consider taking out a multi-trip or annual policy. These will cover you for more than just a single trip, and they can sometimes offer bulk-buy savings compared to insuring each holiday separately. 

35% of winter sports policies booked as annual multi-trip

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket, accurate as of October 2018.

Where do I need winter sports insurance for?

Winter sports travel policies, like many other travel policies, also vary by the destination you’ll be going to.

For example, if you’re hitting the slopes in Canada a worldwide policy that includes the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean is likely to be the right option. However if you’re snowboarding in the Alps, or even tobogganing in Tamworth, a more local policy might be enough.

Winter sports insurance, like most travel insurance, can apply to:

  • European travel
  • Worldwide travel (excluding the USA, Canada, and the Caribbean)
  • Worldwide travel

Some insurers might have restrictions on certain countries, so you should always check policy documents for any exclusions before taking out travel insurance.

51% of single trip winter sports policies are for holidays in France

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket, accurate as of October 2018.

Who else needs winter sports insurance?

You may also want to consider a family or group travel policy if there are a few of you. You might be able to save on the cost with multiple people on one policy, instead of taking out separate policies for each person. 

Over 30% of winter sports policies were for couples and families

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket, accurate as of October 2018.

What’s excluded from winter sports insurance?

As with all insurance policies there may be some exclusions, and the specifics will depend on the policy and insurer you choose. However, some common exclusions are:

  • Extreme winter sports, such as glacier climbing, heli skiing, or competitive winter sports
  • Alcohol and drug use, if you lose your possessions or injure someone, or yourself, while under the influence
  • Unattended belongings, if your things get lost, damaged, or stolen when you leave them alone in a public space
  • Not using the right equipment, if you get injured without protective gear such as a helmet or goggles

How much does winter sports travel insurance cost?

The price you’ll pay for winter sports cover can depend on a number of factors, including:

How old you are

Like with all travel insurance, providers can often see your age as a factor that affects how likely you are to claim. This could be for a variety of reasons, such as the increased chance of falling ill or being involved in an accident as you get older.

For example, the average cost of a winter sports insurance policy was highest for people aged 66-75 at £26.59 – while people aged 18-25 only paid an average of £11.29.

Cost of winter sports cover per age group

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket, accurate as of October 2018.

How often you travel

The number of times you’re planning to travel will also affect how much you pay for travel insurance. However you may be able to save some money if you go abroad often by taking out annual multi-trip cover rather than a single-trip policy.

For example, the average price of winter sports cover for a single trip is £13.39, but you’d pay on average £42.49 for cover for the whole year.

This means if you plan on going on holiday more than three times a year – even if only one of those trips involves winter sports – you’re more likely to get a better deal by taking out a multi-trip policy, rather than covering each trip individually.

Where you’re going

The destination you choose for your winter sports trip can influence how much your travel insurance will cost. This is often due to the higher costs of medical treatment in countries such as the USA, Canada, and New Zealand.

You also have to factor in the potential cost of repatriating you in case you need to come back home for an emergency – this is why four out of five of the most expensive countries to take out winter sports cover are outside of mainland Europe.

The top 5 least and most expensive countries for winter sports insurance

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket, accurate as of October 2018.

How long you’re staying for

You might think that the length of time you’ll be travelling for will also affect how much you pay, and on a very basic level it could. For example, winter sports cover for 1-3 nights costs an average of £8.69, while cover for 11-14 nights averages at £39.14.

However beyond two weeks and the cost can vary hugely – likely because of other factors, such as how many policies are sold or the destination(s) of travellers.

When should I buy winter sports travel insurance?

It’s a good idea to buy winter sports travel insurance as soon as you’ve finalised and booked your holiday. This is because if you need to cancel anytime between then and when you leave, you might not be able to claim your money back otherwise.

A good travel insurance policy should cover early cancellation for the following reasons:

  • Injury or illness
  • Redundancy
  • Bereavement 

Most under 35s book cover within one day of travelling

Data collected by MoneySuperMarket, accurate as of October 2018.

Winter sports travel tips

Winter sports are often extremely enjoyable and adrenaline pumping for people who love them, but they can be risky and at times dangerous. To make sure you get the best from your holiday, it can be useful to follow these tips:

  1. Protective gear: aside from being a requirement for many winter sports insurers, protective gear is also just common sense. If you don’t want a serious injury to interfere with a holiday of a lifetime, wear a helmet, goggles, and any other equipment your instructors recommend
  2. Sun block: you also shouldn’t underestimate the power of the sun on those slopes – wear sun block to avoid nasty burns
  3. Weather reports: check on weather reports and the risk of avalanches before heading out to ensure you’ve got a safe day of snowboarding or skiing ahead
  4. Know your limits: if you’re a beginner or an amateur, know what your limits are and don’t attempt to go beyond what you know you’re able to do – the last thing you want is to get stuck in the snow somewhere
  5. Respect others: Behave sensibly on the slopes so you minimise the risk of putting yourself and others in danger – exit and enter runs safely, and don’t interfere with someone else’s runs
  6. Tell someone: make sure someone not with you on the slopes knows where you are and when you’re supposed to be there – if no one’s around when you head out, you should leave a note

Comparing winter sports travel insurance

The best way to get a good deal on your travel insurance is to compare your options on MoneySuperMarket.

Just enter a few details about your holiday plans and we’ll provide a list of quotes tailored just for your trip. Then you can browse all the options and make comparisons based on the level of cover provided and how much it’ll cost, as well as details like the excess fee and any exclusions.

Once you’ve found the right policy for you, just click through to the provider and you’ll be insured in no time.

However, you should keep in mind that the cheapest policy isn’t always the right one – it’s better to find the right balance between cover and price. This way you get the best value for money without being over- or under-insured, so you can have real peace of mind when you hit the snow.

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