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Most common ski accidents - What you need to know

29th February 2012 Print

World First Travel Insurance is warning holidaymakers who are heading off to the slopes this winter to make sure they have travel insurance in case they join the many ranks of people who have an accident whilst on a ski holiday.

World First has revealed some of the most common injuries people suffer on winter ski breaks and has identified that those most likely to have an accident are men under the age of 25.

The most common ski and snowboard accidents include:

Ruptured ligaments in the leg;
Fractures of the lower leg;
Concussion; and
Broken bones, often wrists and ankles.

Managing Partner of World First Travel Insurance, Martin Rothwell said, "Accidents on the slopes are the most common cause of medical travel insurance claims and every year we pay out on claims to cover expenses for treatment, extended accommodation and transport. We also repatriate many people back to the UK and in the event of a fatal accident we do return the body to the UK, which fortunately is not very common.

"Having travel insurance not only provides travellers with peace of mind, it also means that the costs of any medical treatment are covered, providing of course that the policy is valid, i.e. the accident is not as a result of excessive alcohol consumption or use of illegal substances."

The cost of medical treatment where skiing and snowboarding are popular can be extremely high, as most people will be automatically funnelled into a private healthcare system. For example, to pay for treatment for the most common skiing accident, that of a ruptured ligament in the leg, people may be looking at costs in the region of £20,000.

People with the right level of travel insurance should have cover for all of their medical expenses, once the excess has been paid. They should also have the added benefit of a native speaker taking charge of the matter and acting on their behalf.

A good winter sports policy will include cover for:

24 hour emergency assictance;

Cost of the helicopter transfer from the slope to the clinic or ambulance;

Any onward transport costs by ambulance or other form of transport;

Relocation from a private clinic to a state hospital where there are more specialists doctors and surgeons;

Personal liability to cover you if you cause an accident or injury to someone else;

Cost of treatment and medication;

Return travel arrangements, including covering the costs of extra seats if the traveller needs additional space on a plane; and

In the case of a serious accident, such as a head injury, some insurers will cover the cost of transporting and accommodating a family member or next of kin from the UK to the resort.

Failure to buy travel insurance with winter sports cover can lead to problems even if you yourself are not injured or require medical treatment. Personal liability is a vital part of any policy, and should be included as standard.  If you crash into someone on the slopes and cause them injury, you are responsible for their costs; in just the same way as you would be if you were in a car and had an accident.  This is of particular importance in Canada and the USA where anyone suffering an injury will be likely to make a claim against you and seek to sue you for their costs.

A standard winter sports travel insurance policy starts from around £33*. Additions can be made to standard policies to provide additional cover for equipment and activities.

Mayday Assistance provide 24 hour emergency assistance for World First Travel Insurance customers.

* Price based on an adult aged 55 taking a seven day ski and snowboard trip in Europe.

For more information, visit