Ski Racing Insurance & Cover
Taking out adequate ski insurance cover is essential if you are going on a ski or snowboard holiday. Here we examine ski racing and what you need to cover yourself should you crash or have any accident.
Ski racing refers to a number of different disciplines including Alpine ski racing; Slalom racing; Giant slalom; Downhill races; Super G; Combined; Nordic ski racing; Freestyle; and Alpine freestyle. What they all have in common is the speed and competitive element. Skiing down a slope as fast as you're able means you're on the edge whilst gliding past flagged poles.
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The Risk of Ski Racing
Ski racing will be viewed by all insurers as a high risk sport, for the main reason that you are often travelling by speed down a snowy hill and trying to go as fast as you can against the clock. Whilst ski racing is now safer than it once was with the introduction of safety nets for example, the risk of injury is still high.
Common injuries include broken bones, sprains and in some cases even death. The most common injuries occur when the racer comes off the course and crashes into another person or object.
Why Insure Yourself At All On A Ski Holiday?
Even if you are just going on a ski holiday to ski or board, insurance is essential. But research shows that many simply rely on their EHIC card or their normal travel insurance. These two options are fundamentally flawed for two main reasons. Firstly the EHIC card-European Health Insurance Card is a reciprocal health agreement between European countries including Switzerland. This gives you access to state provided healthcare during a temporary stay in another European economic area.
You can apply for EHIC through the EHIC online application form, this is free of charge, so do beware as unofficial websites will try and charge you.
EHIC will not however cover many of the things you may need should you have an accident on the slopes. So for example, mountain rescue is not covered, nor is being flown back to the UK. Lost or stolen property is also not included. So if your expensive skis or board gets stolen you have no claim on EHIC.
In addition, if you rely on your normal travel insurance many will not cover you for winter sports, off piste skiing and for equipment loss. So it is essential that you get winter sports cover.
Insurance For Ski Racing
If you plan to do some ski racing whilst on a ski holiday or are planning to solely do ski racing you will need to contact a specialist ski insurer. A significant number of ski insurance companies will not cover ski racing and those that do impose a number of restrictions. One of the biggest issues seems to be that many people think they will be covered by a general ski insurance policy.
What To Look For In Ski Racing Insurance
As we have said injuries can be serious in ski racing. Therefore it is essential that you have adequate medical cover. The following are some issues to look out for.
Are You A Professional Ski Racer?
Some insurance companies do cover ski racing but on a non- professional, non- competitive basis. So they will cover you for ‘leisure’ but not if you are being paid to race for example, or are being sponsored, so do read the small print.
Check The Safety Guidelines
Most insurance companies that cover ski racing make it clear that safety guidelines must be followed and also the correct safety equipment must be used. Failure to do so on both counts will invalidate any insurance.
Insurance Cover Required For Ski Racing
You will need to ensure that the cover you get will cover you for any accidents. Most of the policies we looked at suggested £10m for emergency medical expenses and repatriation, £2m personal liability, £50,000 for search and rescue.
Other aspects to consider include insuring all your equipment, should your skis go missing they could cost a lot to replace.
Length of Time
Do make sure you put the right length of time you want to be insured for some policies will let you extend your insurance whilst you are away
Another thing to think about is whether you will be staying in one country or visiting more than one. You may for example be ski racing in a resort that gives you access to another country. Some policies will allow you to change this during the course of the policy but others won’t, so do check this out.
A final tip is to really check the small print of any policy. What looks cheap may for example come with a high excess making a claim not cost effective. For example some cheaper policies set excess levels at £200, lose your gloves and the policy isn’t really worth it.
In short, this is one type of winter sports insurance you don't want to ignore or skimp on. Ski racing is a dangerous sport and injuries will almost definitely involve costly hospital treatments and even some after care.
Examine the small print carefully to ensure your exact type of ski racing is covered, as you can be assured that if the insurance company can work out a way to get out of it - they will!