Don't be snow blind to the right cover for the slopes

SNOW may be the curse of those who want to travel to see friends or family at the New Year, but it can be a blessing for anyone heading to the Scottish ski slopes for a touch of rest and recreation.

Cairngorm Mountains is predicting a busy holiday period and warns those heading in its direction to check its website regularly for the latest weather news, traffic and parking instructions.

Whether you are skiing in the UK, the US or the Alps this winter, you should always make sure you are adequately insured. Medical cover is top of the list, which should include mountain rescue and repatriation costs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Adequate third-party protection is also vital, in case your actions result in another skier becoming seriously injured.

You will need to protect your equipment against loss, theft or damage. This will include ski passes.

Finally, you will want some reassurance that if your ski holiday plans are disrupted or have to be cancelled you will be compensated. This can include redress for poor snow days when you cannot go on to the slopes.

How much cover you decide you need when skiing in the UK is for you to decide. Your equipment could be covered under your household contents policy, and the NHS should be there to patch you up after a fall.

However, you will still need third-party insurance in case another skier is badly hurt as a result of your behaviour on the slopes. Other nationalities can be very litigious.

If you are a member of a Scottish ski club which is affiliated to Snowsport Scotland, then you have third party cover automatically as part of your membership.

To stay safe on the slopes always follow our five point plan:

Never go skiing without adequate insurance. If you require medical help abroad you will have to pay for it. You may be entitled to some emergency medical treatment free under reciprocal arrangements provided by the European Health Insurance Card, but this only covers certain countries in Europe and provision will differ from country to country. To apply for a free card, and for a country by country guide check out www.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

However, even the EHIC organisation strongly advises against relying on the card exclusively when travelling abroad on ski trips.

With a skiing trip you are strongly advised to buy good quality insurance before you depart to prevent a dream holiday turning into a nightmare.

Beware tour operators' cover. If you book your trip via a tour operator do not automatically sign up for its insurance policy. The cover may be adequate but it may not. The least protection you need is 2 million to 5 million to cover medical expenses, and the cost of bringing you home in case of an accident, plus say 2m third-party liability, should you injure some one else.

You may find better protection more cheaply by shopping around. You can buy standalone protection, although many travellers today have an annual policy covering all their overseas travel.

In this case, it is vital to have one covering winter sports activities, but take care, because cover with a cut-price policy, which may be more than adequate for two weeks in the sun, may be more restricted when it comes to a week on the slopes.

Read the small print before you go. Beware exclusions, such as ski class races, snowboarding, tobogganing, dog-sledding and mountain trekking. Many will only cover off-piste skiing in certain circumstances, such as with a guide. Make sure you have separate cover for your baggage and ski equipment, including for flight delays. Not all policies will pay for equipment to be hired if it is delayed on flight. Similarly, you will need comprehensive protection for your lift pass not only to guarantee protection if it is lost, but if you are injured and not able to use it.

Brian Brown, insurance analyst at Market Research Company, Defacto, said: "Baggage cover is more important than ever when it comes to skiing, because if your equipment is late you lose precious time skiing.

"The same applies to your pass, as these can cost hundreds of pounds. But if you are injured early on and can't use it, some policies may reimburse you."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Consider consulting specialists. More comprehensive protection is available from specialist policies, such as those offered by the Ski Club of Great Britain (, or specialist brokers such Higos, ( or British Activity Holiday Insurance Services (

Go prepared. Try to be as fit as possible before you ski, make sure you have the right equipment, and follow safety advice. The Ski Club of Great Britain has a series of useful guides on its website (

Teresa Hunter