Read the small print before you ski


Picture the scene, if your stomach is up to it. You’re hurtling down the Alps, decked out in your expensive skiing gear that’s so new the labels are flapping in the wind, when all of a sudden you slip, fly through the air like Eddie the Eagle and land on your head. If you were properly insured, then we’re talking a nasty bruise but nothing more. If you’re not properly insured and have failed to pay attention to the small print, we’re talking more broken bones than Wayne Rooney.

If you plump for no insurance, then you are really dancing with the devil, but you’d be surprised how many Brits every year head off to the pistes relying on just their European Health Insurance Card (formerly the E111). That won’t mean much when it comes to broken legs. Then there’s your run-of-the-mill travel insurance, which you’d go for when travelling to Bognor. This is useless when you’re putting on the skis so you need to go for a stand-alone Winter Sports insurance policy, which should cover you for all the normal things like loss or theft of luggage and cancellation of flights, as well as injuries and problems whilst on the slopes.

Here are a few things you should be thinking about when sizing up the right Winter Sports policy for you.

The piste being closed

In the likely event of the piste being closed due to weather etc... most policies will insure compensation for such. An avalanche happening while you are away will stop you skiing but the policies can be quite grey when it comes to defining acts of God, so it’s best to check.

Is it just skiing?

Make sure you double check exactly which sports the insurance covers you for, as some only specify the actual skiing and leave off other potentially hazardous things you might do when on holiday such as skating or tobogganing.

Possession of the equipment

Read into what you are covered for in terms of loss, theft or damage to the skiing equipment whilst on holiday. Some policies specify exactly what is considered your responsibility much more than others.

Off the beaten track

Policies are often very specific and sneaky about what is being covered when on or off-piste. So make sure you know you will be covered if you were to venture slightly off the main area for a ski.

Theft and loss

This is another grey area that insurance companies love to stitch us up on. The biggest hole in the contract is where and what is considered in ones possession or not. Some specify a radius of the resort for example. Double-check and make sure you know.

Are you an ‘official’ family?

It sounds insulting but a good number of companies get confusing about what constitutes a family for family cover. Are you actually married and are your children too old to be children etc...


If you find you can’t go at the last minute for whatever reason, then, like all travel insurance, winter sports insurance should have a pay-out in the thousands for this unlikely event.

Hurting others and yourself

It’s very common for skiers to bump into people out on the slopes and this can very easily cause problems with paying for their medical costs. Check to make sure you have a very adequate amount of cover for this, especially if you are fairly new to skiing.

It almost goes without saying that you should be covered for injury. We’re talking a couple of million pounds as a ceiling and then you know you’ll be alright should you break a leg or three.

Take a look at the Providers section which will give you information as to which companies offer Winter Sports cover.
It’s well worth spending a bit of time - piece of mind means a lot when you get there. It’ll make you enjoy your holiday much more.


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