Why you shouldn't skimp on ski cover

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As any skier or boarder will tell you, there's nothing quite like the fun and exhilaration that can be had on the slopes, but with the adrenaline rush comes the potential for danger. If you do not have adequate insurance cover (and 40% of us don't when taking a winter sports holiday), there can be a heavy price to pay.

Of the 1.2 million Brits who go skiing or boarding, 14,000 of us came back each year with fractures and ligament damage. The number 1 skiing injury is damage to the knee ligaments, accounting for 30% of all cases. Other injuries include fractures of the tibia, back injuries and dislocated shoulders.

The average cost of treatments starts at £700. Once you bring an airlift to hospital into the equation, costs rise sharply, with a European airlift costing around £2500. If you are then unable to travel home on a commercial flight, you are looking at around £6000 for repatriation. In the US, a helicopter airlift will cost on average £9000 and repatriation £50,000. With costs like these, it is simply not worth skimping on cover - better to spend less on the trendy ski jacket and more on the insurance.

There are quite literally thousands of policies available and some of the apparent bargains just do not offer sufficient levels of cover. Make sure that you read the small print and don't get caught out. Here are a few tips to make sure that if disaster strikes you are covered.

It may sound obvious, but make sure in the first instance that your policy covers winter sports. If you have an annual policy, this may involve paying a supplement. Also beware of any limit on the number of days per year that you are covered for skiing or boarding.

In addition to medical cover, make sure your policy also covers you for personal liability and legal expenses, just in case you are deemed to be responsible for an accident involving others. Litigation is becoming increasingly common and cover of £1 million is advisable according to the Ski Club of Great Britain.

If you are going to be skiing off piste or at a resort which is not officially recognised, be sure to inform your insurance company. Off piste cover may be restricted to occasions when you are accompanied by a qualified guide or instructor approved by the resort. If the resort advises against skiing because of an avalanche, you will not be covered if you choose to disregard the warning.

Check that the amount of cover for equipment lost, stolen or damaged in transit is sufficient. Skis and snowboards don't come cheap. If you leave your skis outside whilst having lunch (and many of us do), you may not be covered by your insurance should they go missing. Check to see what the policy’s conditions for unattended equipment are.

More extreme sports such as heli-skiing are unlikely to be covered by your standard winter sports cover so take advice from your insurance company. Likewise, if you want cover for the loss or theft of your ski pass, compensation for piste closure or for getting snowed in, shop around. The cheaper the policy, the less likely it is that this sort of thing will be covered.

Finally, don’t mix alcohol or drugs with skiing. Apart from the obvious dangers, you will invalidate your insurance.


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