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Don’t forget - get covered before hitting the slopes

7th February 2013 Print

Hiscox, the specialist insurer, is urging an early review of insurance cover as part of prudent preparation for a winter sports holiday.  As British skiers and snowboarders prepare to take to the slopes, they are being encouraged to take adequate precautions before jetting off to ensure they are covered for all eventualities. An array of issues can blight a dream skiing holiday, from lost or stolen equipment, closed pistes, travel disruption, severe weather and avalanches through to serious accidents and medical emergencies.
Some travel insurance policies will automatically cover conventional skiing and snowboarding, but some will not. Before tackling the slopes this winter it is vital to ensure that your insurance policy covers all of your planned, and perhaps unplanned, activities.  If your insurance is not adequate, you should consider upgrading your cover. More extreme winter sports such as ski racing, snowboard racing, jumping, acrobatics, aerials and other on and off piste activities are often deemed riskier and maybe excluded from winter sports insurance policies.  Specialist cover will need to be arranged if this is the case.
Colin Wallace, an insurance expert at Hiscox said: "Don't let your holiday be a wipe-out. Even for an expert on the slopes, winter sports can be considerably risky.  Choosing a simple tick-of-the-box travel insurance policy might leave you in the cold and unprotected, so it's important to plan ahead to ensure you have adequate coverage based on your winter holiday and skiing and snowboarding plans. The right travel insurance is as essential as having the right equipment as it could save you thousands on pounds if you do run into any trouble".
It's also easy to get carried away on the slopes.  It can be tempting to go faster than you are capable of or have an alcoholic drink beforehand. Although the après ski is part of any winter holiday, drinking and skiing do not mix well.  Hiscox warns that accidents whilst under the influence of alcohol may invalidate your insurance policy.
Tips for safety on the slopes

Protect your head - check if your resort requires helmets to worn. Helmets can play an important role in preventing serious injury if you hit your head on the snow and ice, a fixed object or even another person

Be physically prepared - this will ensure you get the most out of your trip and reduce your risk of injury

Get the right gear - the weather can change in a moment and if you are not appropriately dressed you could be left out in the cold

Don't be tempted to skip professional instruction, learning the basics such as how to control your speed or how to stop are essential and bad habits learnt early on are difficult to change

Give yourself a break - pushing yourself when you need a rest puts you at greater risk of injury

Never ski or snowboard off-piste alone

When choosing equipment don't be tempted to overstate your level of skill - the longer the ski, the harder to turn and the faster you will go

Ski or snowboard within your ability. Tagging along with more experienced friends and attempting slopes beyond your skill level can result in an accident
Choosing the right policy

Check that your travel policy covers all of your planned activities. Riskier winter sports such as ski racing or snowboard racing, jumping, acrobatics, aerials and other activities are sometimes excluded and separate specialist cover may need to be added to the policy or separate specialist cover arranged

Winter sports cover is limited to a certain number of days under annual multi trip travel policies - usually 21 days or less per year.  If you're planning a longer holiday make sure you notify your insurer and look into purchasing extra cover

If you are planning to ski off piste, check your insurance policy terms and conditions. Some policies will cover you within recognised ski resort boundaries as long as you follow local ski patrol guidelines; however, other policies will only cover you if you are with an authorised local guide and some will not allow off piste skiing at all

Enjoy your holiday by drinking responsibly and remember that alcohol consumption may invalidate your cover if it contributes to injury