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Travellers warned of increased winter sport medical costs

8th January 2013 Print

The cost of medical treatment for winter sports injuries has increased in four out of six of Britain's most popular foreign skiing destinations, according to new analysis from Sainsbury's Bank Travel Insurance.

The supermarket bank is therefore urging skiers and snowboarders to make sure they have good quality winter sports cover as part of their travel insurance so that, should the unthinkable happen, they are not left to foot expensive medical bills themselves.

Sainsbury's Bank Travel Insurance also warns travellers that simply having a European Health Insurance Card - which is not an alternative to travel insurance - will only provide you with the same state-provided healthcare as a resident of the country you're visiting. This means that should you require medical attention you may face further medical bills, which is a concern, especially in countries such as the United States the cost of medical treatment can be high.

The study, which looked at average winter sports injury claims, including emergency transportation such as ambulances and airlifts, from the winter of 2011/12 and 2009/10, shows that North America remained the most expensive destination in terms of treatment costs last winter, despite the fact average claims fell by over a quarter compared to the year before. Average treatment costs in Canada and the USA in 2011/12 were £3,483.

While winter sports injury claims were significantly lower in Europe, in some areas the cost of treatment has been increasing rapidly. Treatment costs in Bulgaria were 97.5% higher in 2011/12 than in 2009/10. Other countries where the cost of treating winter sports injuries has rapidly escalated include Austria (51.7% increase during the two year period), Switzerland (28% higher) and France (17.7%).

David Barrett, Sainsbury's Travel Insurance manager said: "These latest figures show the cost of an accident on the slopes can be expensive and with costs for medical treatment on the increase, travel insurance, with the appropriate Winter Sports Cover, is essential for any trip. Especially when you consider that it will also pick up the bill if you need to be transported to hospital including airlifting you off of the slope, a cost that can be very high for some destinations.

"As with any insurance purchase it's important to check the level of cover provided for example, our Winter Sports policy will also compensate against piste closure, not just possible injuries or damaged equipment."