Whether you like carving down a black diamond run or building a snowman, snow holidays are some of the most incredible experiences travellers can have. However, with all the fun and powdery goodness, there is an increased chance of injury during winter sports holidays, since accidents are common when skiing and snowboarding.
For this reason, taking out a travel insurance policy with ski cover is a good idea for any traveller looking to hit the slopes to give you peace of mind on your adventures.
How does a policy for skiers and snowboarders differ from a standard travel insurance policy?
Standard travel insurance policies are a must-have when trekking anywhere across the globe. They can cover medical expenses, cancelled flights and other emergency costs, plus your personal effects and travel documents if they get lost or stolen.
A travel insurance policy that covers ski trips and snow sports includes these standard benefits (subject to a specific policy) but also cover for snow sport-related activities, since regular travel insurance doesn’t generally cover these. So, while you’re visiting the ski slopes, a policy that covers snow sports will give you the additional cover you may need.
However, travel insurance covering snow sports generally costs more than standard travel cover policies, as ski cover is typically an optional extra that you pay to add to a travel insurance policy.
Ski and snowboard insurance: what does it include?
Here are a few additional scenarios that may be included if you add on ski cover to your travel insurance:
- Medical / Emergency rescue. Skiing and snowboarding can be exhilarating, but if you get injured while on the slopes, both the emergency transportation to hospital and subsequent medical costs could set you back thousands of dollars. Some ski trip travel insurance policies may cover these expenses, which could help take the worry away while you’re having fun on the mountains.
- Accidental equipment damage, theft or loss. There’s always a chance that the equipment you use may be damaged accidentally, stolen or lost in transit. Your travel insurance policy with snow sports cover should help pay for the repairs or replacement of both hired gear and your own equipment. Just keep in mind that travel insurance doesn’t cover damage to ski equipment when it was in use, if it was left unattended or left behind on transit.
- Unused equipment and passes. If you’re unable to use hired equipment you’ve paid for, pre-paid ski or snowboard lessons or lift passes due to sickness, injury or a lost or stolen pass, your policy may reimburse you.
- Closure due to weather conditions. While these destinations need snowfall to be operational, sometimes the weather can get a bit out of hand. If a ski field is closed due to poor weather conditions or other incident (e.g., a power failure preventing the lifts from working), your policy could cover some of your additional expenses, like those to travel to the nearest resort and the cost of more lift passes.
Please note that policies generally have caps on how much they cover for each scenario. Before taking out travel insurance, read policy wording of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS)to understand the extent of your cover.
What’s the best ski and snow sports travel insurance?
There are many different travel insurance policies to choose from, including those with add-on cover for snowboarding, skiing and winter sports. So, there’s no single ‘best’ travel insurance policy for a ski trip. The key to finding the ‘best’ insurance for your needs is to see what’s listed in the PDS and to make sure you’re covered for the things you want, such as insurance cover for delays, cancellations, other adventure sports and your belongings.
What does snow trip travel insurance exclude?
Before you purchase your policy, it’s important to check the PDS for a list of exclusions (events that your insurance won’t cover). While these can differ from insurer to insurer, here are a few instances that most travel insurance policies won’t cover when it comes to ski trips:
- Travelling to snow destinations outside of the season. It may be tempting to avoid the seasonal rush and go to the slopes before or after the snow season. However, insurers may not provide coverage during these times. It’s best to check with your insurance company what dates they have approved.
- Activities outside the ski resort’s boundaries. While you may consider yourself adventurous or even a seasoned skier and snowboarder, it’s recommended you stick within the designated areas of your chosen snow resort. Any off-piste activities that occur outside of the designated boundaries might not be covered by your policy.
- Accidents while under the influence. It’s great to have a drink or two while on holiday, but not if you’re looking to partake in any snow-related activities. If you have an accident requiring medical assistance and it’s determined that you were under the influence, you may not be covered.
- High-risk activities. Before undergoing any downhill runs or other adventures, make sure it’s an activity that is approved by your insurance company. Even travel insurance policies with a ski trip or adventure sports add-on have limits on the number of activities they will cover you for. For example, some insurers will cover heli-skiing and glacial skiing, whereas others will not. Any activities your travel insurance doesn’t cover that results in injury may cost you dearly.
In addition, if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, you may be excluded from some medical cover or need to pay an additional premium, depending on your individual circumstances. Even if your policy won’t cover your specific medical condition, it is still highly recommended that you purchase winter sports travel insurance that covers general emergency assistance, hospital expenses and repatriation in case of an incident on the slopes.
What should I consider when purchasing travel insurance with ski cover?
Ski travel insurance is designed to protect travellers who are specifically participating in winter sports on their travels. With this in mind, anyone planning to have a holiday at a ski location should consider getting travel insurance that covers snow-related activities, especially if you’re likely to partake in skiing and snowboarding.
If you’re considering taking out a policy for your trip, use our free travel insurance comparison service to get a better idea of what’s the best ski and snowboarding insurance available for you.
Insurance for snowboarding and skiing: who needs it?
Unlike many other travel options, ski and snowboarding cover is made for specific activities.
For those considering winter travel to participate in snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding or even snowmobiling, travel insurance can be crucial. If you choose not to take out ski trip cover before departing on your trip, you could be paying thousands out of pocket if things go wrong.
Popular snow sport travel destinations
Below are some popular, snowy international destinations Australians head to for winter sports and to experience the joy of snow. Just be sure that your travel insurance covers you if you plan on skiing or snowboarding in these countries (or anywhere that’s snowing during your travels):
That being said, you don’t even have to leave the country to experience the snow. You can get a domestic insurance policy if you plan on skiing or snowboarding within Australia (e.g., Perisher, Thredbo or Falls Creek) which may cover some of the costs associated with replacing hire equipment or bad weather.
Top snowboarding and skiing insurance tips from our expert, Stephen Zeller
- Skiing and snowboarding cover differs greatly between insurers; for example, some will provide cover automatically while others will seek extra premium for the additional cover you need. Always check the PDS to make sure you have the right cover for your holiday plans.
- Think about the cover you need for your trip; this will be things like medical expenses, cancellation fees, luggage and any rental vehicle excess, but also the additional cover you need for your ski holiday. You need to keep all this in mind when searching for a policy that suits your holiday needs.
- Don’t leave your possessions unattended in a public place, as any theft claims your make for these scenarios may be rejected. All policies have limits, conditions and exclusions to their cover, and you need to understand these to ensure you’re insured for everything you need.
- You may want to consider a higher excess to reduce your premium. But remember that your excess is what you pay out of pocket if you need to make a claim, so always choose a manageable excess amount.
- Make copies of all your important documents (e.g., passport, ID cards, tickets) and leave them with someone at home in case you lose them overseas. It’s also a good idea to keep photocopies for yourself too, and keep them somewhere separate from the actual documents (e.g., suitcase pocket).
Compare travel insurance
While ski trip travel insurance is designed to suit the needs of winter travellers, it’s still important to make sure you get the best cover available to you. With our free travel insurance comparison service, you can compare products from our panel of insurers in just minutes.