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One in three winter sports holidaymakers won’t take out appropriate insurance cover

8th January 2015 Print

One in three people (33%) planning to take a winter sports holiday this winter do not intend to take out winter sports insurance, according to new findings1 from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance. One in four (27%) said they planned to take out a general travel insurance policy and 6% said that they do not intend to take out any insurance whatsoever.

Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance is encouraging anyone planning a winter sports trip to check that their policy has adequate cover for the activities they will be taking part in, as many policies require winter sports cover to be added on.

The findings reveal that France and Austria will be the most popular ski destinations this winter, with 22% of those planning a winter sports trip heading to each of these countries. This is followed by Switzerland (12%), the US (10%) and Italy (7%). With three of the top five most popular skiing destinations being in the EU, Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is reminding winter sports enthusiasts to obtain a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) before they go.

The Bank is highlighting however, that anyone relying on their EHIC for full medical cover should be aware that the card only entitles you to the same state-provided medical treatment as the host country's residents, which may not be free.  An EHIC card will also not cover emergency transportation should you need to be airlifted off the slopes, taken to hospital by ambulance and repatriated, costs which could easily reach into thousands of pounds.

Scott Gorman, Sainsbury's Travel Insurance, said: “Whilst most ski and snowboard trips go without incident, winter sports carry risks that can end up being very costly, which is why getting good quality winter sports cover as part of a travel insurance policy is just as essential as your skis and boots.”

Most common injuries

The research1 reveals that damaged knees are the most common injury amongst winter sports enthusiasts, with 9% of those planning to go away this winter having previously suffered from a knee strain. Some 7% have suffered a broken leg or a facial injury respectively, and 6% have suffered from ankle sprains or a dislocated shoulder respectively.

Of those planning to take out a winter sports insurance policy, less than one in three (29%) says they will take out off-piste cover. Off-piste cover is an important addition to any winter sports insurance policy, especially when there is a direct intention to ski or snowboard off the recommended slopes.  Any claim as a result of participation in off-piste skiing when you are not accompanied by a qualified ski instructor who holds the appropriate liability insurance may not be covered. Without such cover, an injury and the resulting emergency medical care could cost thousands of pounds.

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance policies are available as Basic or Standard options. For further information go to