ABTA Research Shows 3.5million Brits Don't Get Ski Insurance

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ABTA research has revealed that more than 3.5 million Brits who have been on a ski holiday have never taken out insurance to cover them for their skiing and snowboarding activity.

The concern is that many Brits who get injured on the slopes will not have the insurance to cover them. In addition, activities off the slopes also need to be covered, activities like tobogganing can be dangerous and again the evidence is that many Brits are simply not covered.

Analysis by Age

The research not only highlighted that many Brits do not have adequate insurance it also looked at what age group is most at risk. It appears that those aged 25-34 seem to get more injuries than other age groups.12% of those in that group say they have known someone who has had a major injury, by this they mean broken bones or concussion.

In terms of which age group is most guilty of not taking out ski insurance, it seems that only a quarter of those aged 18-24 take out insurance whilst those aged 45-54 are most likely to take out insurance. So, it seems that the message about the importance of ski insurance needs to be most targeted at the younger age group.

Why Take Out Ski Insurance?

Put very simply, if you experience a ski injury your normal holiday insurance is highly unlikely to cover you for that injury. A further factor is that should the worse happen and you experience an injury on the slopes, treatment can be very expensive. You may for example need to be airlifted off the slopes and then undergo expensive hospital treatment, then be repatriated back home. All of these are hugely costly, so the message is clear-get special ski insurance.

EHIC Post Brexit

Ehic is a system which operates across the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein and effectively allows you to access emergency healthcare at the same cost as local people pay. According to estimates British people benefit to the tune of £150m each year from this scheme. No one can be sure at the time of writing what will happen after Brexit as it may be that the UK has to negotiate separately with each EU country.

That said you should never do as some Brits do and just assume that your normal travel insurance and Ehic will cover you for a ski injury. Ehic for example just provides for pretty basic healthcare, it wouldn’t pay for emergency rescue off the mountain or repatriation back to the UK. So, whilst we wait to see what happens post Brexit, Ehic has never been the answer to ski insurance.

Are Ski trips Really That Dangerous?

First of all it is important to note that your chances of dying whilst skiing or boarding are relatively low. Statistics from the NSAA, the National Ski Areas Association, who keep records on fatalities  report that on average there are 38 fatalities per season in the US. It is however seen to be a dangerous activity by insurers because when things do go wrong they can go very wrong. Skiing or snowboarding injuries can result in concussion or the breaking of bones. The added complication about skiing is that you may take all precautions but you may be taken out by another reckless skier who hits into you.

The main dangers with skiing involve getting hit by another person on the slopes, or hitting trees or rocks. Falling over and hitting your head also ranks pretty high and then of course there are avalanches.

How Can You Keep Safe?

So aside from ensuring you are properly insured there are a number of things you can do to try and keep safe. You wont be able to avoid the freak accident but there are proactive things you can do. First of all always wear a helmet, in fact some insurers will not pay out if it turns out you weren’t wearing a helmet. Research does suggest that helmets have reduced head injuries by 30-50% so ensure that you wear one. Learn the rules of the slopes, always giving way to skiers already on the piste you are joining. Another good piece of advice is never to stop where you cant be seen. So stopping on a blind bend is never a good idea. Never ski on a slope that you do not have the skills to do, know and understand your limits and crucially understand how to control your speed and know how to stop. Try not to ski too close to trees . Finally, always avoid alcohol and skiing. Alcohol will give you a false sense of ability and affect your decision making, so leave the drinking to the après ski.

What’s Included in Ski Insurance?

Ski insurance policies will differ but most policies will pay for your medical treatment if you get injured, cover your equipment and essentially get you off the mountain and home should you need it. In addition, most policies will also compensate you if you lose your ski pass, pistes are closed and will also offer you personal liability ie. if you are liable for someone elses accident and injury.

One word of caution here, do be careful as not all activities are covered in standard ski insurance. For example off piste skiing will need to be checked and most standard ski insurance policies don’t cover you for accidents in ski fun parks.

Why Is Ski Insurance So Important?

The main reason for taking out ski insurance is that quite simply should the worse happen and you have a serious accident you will be faced with huge costs. If you have to be helicoptered off the mountain and then treated and sent back to the UK your bill could be tens of thousands of pounds. Your Ehic card will not cover these costs and normal travel insurance will not cover you for winter sports.

So, quite simply take out ski insurance, it is a relatively small amount of money when you compare what the financial consequences of not having it are. The risk of not having ski insurance is simply not worth it.