Snow sports offer a thrill that few other activities match. Accessible to all ages it is a unique experience but also carries a unique risk. Getting the right travel insurance for a trip was once a quick 10 minute search online. But over the years insurance companies have changed their policies making it more difficult for people to find the correct level of cover. Here are some areas of your policy to consider carefully.
When the insurance policy starts
Firstly if you’ve already left your country of residence a policy might cover you. This may be because insurance companies are worried that you are only taking it out when you need to claim. But it’s awkward for long term travellers who may decide to go snowboarding at the last minute as they travel from country to country. Or for those whose plans are last minute. There are companies who will cover you if you’ve already left the country but it requires a bit of searching.
The date you return
Unless you are able to prove you had a return ticket a lot of insurance policies wont cover the costs of repatriation. This means that if you need to get flown home for medical reasons or in the unfortunate event of death, there will be a hefty bill for you or your family. This can be difficult if you’re not sure of your travel plans and when you’re coming back. However an open return ticket can often cover you, just check with the insurance provider.
Value per item
Check the value of what your insurance will pay out for because basic cover might not pay the full value of ski equipment. Even if your skis aren’t high end you may still find yourself unreasonably short, especially after excess.
This is the biggest area of difference with ski insurance policies. It used to be a case where most brokers covered you off piste if you followed local guidelines and the avalanche risk level was 3 or less. These policies have become rarer with many policies insisting that you go with a qualified local guide.
This isn’t always practical or necessary as an insurance provider should know. So make sure you go with a company that covers the type of skiing or boarding you want to do on a trip. There have been cases where people were in an avalanche and the insurance hasn’t paid out because they blamed the skiers despite the fact they followed local guidelines and took precautions. So don’t be in a rush to take the first policy you see. There’s rarely any different in cost, so you can still get good value with a policy, whether they insist you ski with a guide or not.
Take your time and research the policy and insurance provider. There are a lot of companies saying they specialise in ski and snowboard insurance yet they clearly don’t understand the sport. They can place the blame on a skier without even investigating the incident properly. If you are in any doubt about the policy details phone your insurance provider. It’s always best to go with a company which knows what it is doing and can ensure your needs are provided for.