Ski Insurance – what to check in the small print
Off Piste Skiing
Most winter sports insurances exclude ‘off piste’ skiing as standard. The area ‘on-piste’ is defined as the area between the piste poles. In the technical definition if you are one metre the other side of the pole you are classed as ‘off-piste’. We and our teenager children often play on the ski bumps and big powder dumps on the side of pistes means we are not covered should an accident occur.
Most ski insurance policies will reimburse evacuation costs, but the small print must be checked. One problem we have heard of is that you must pay at the time and often they only accept cash.
Tignes ski resort strongly advise to take out a French insurance policy that covers these costs in case of a ski accident.
To scare you, if the ski patrol took you off the piste it is 54 euros but off-piste using a snowcot its 200 euros an hour. If a helicopter is needed on piste its 377 euros but hope you don’t need a doctor as this rises to 55 euros a minute!
The Carré Neige provides cover for piste rescue and emergency medical cover so could be worth buying as an add on to your ski insurance. Bear in mind the free European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) will not pay to get you off the mountain.
Check that your insurance policy also pays towards hire of skis if yours are stolen or damaged. Make sure you are covered if you leave them outside a restaurant and if you are, you will have to report it to the police and file a report (which can be very longwinded). You must keep all hire receipts for your claim when you return home. Thefts of skis is worryingly high and affects one in eight holiday makers. The Ski Club suggests where possible to use secure ski lockers or boot rooms, a good quality ski and snowboard lock and, failing that, to swap one of your skis with a family member and separate the odd pairs far away from each other.
Wearing a helmet
Usually you won’t be covered for any head injuries that happen if you are not wearing a ski helmet. Another reason not to risk it.
Moneysupermarket recommends choosing ski insurance policies that give you at least £2m for medical expenses; £1m personal liability (necessary if you hurt someone else and they sue); £3,000 cancellation (or enough to cover the total cost of your holiday); £1,500 baggage; £250 for cash; cover for scheduled airline failure and end supplier failure as desirable; and delay cover (e.g. £20 an hour for the first 12 hours) such as fog, snow and ice disruption.
Lastly, make sure you keep a note of your travel policy number, emergency numbers and Ehic number in your mobile phone, ensuring all member of your family do so as you will be asked to provide these.