By Marcus Leach

With thousands set to beat the January blues by booking a winter escape, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) advises ski holidaymakers to avoid starting their new year on the wrong foot by making sure they’re covered on the slopes.

Whilst many people rely on annual travel insurance policies, skiers should be warned not to jet off without full winter sports cover. A worrying 31% believe a standard travel policy will cover them for sports related injuries, such as skiing.

And with European destinations like the French Alps and Switzerland being popular, skiers should be warned that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme is not likely to cover all costs associated with an accident, like repatriation back to the UK, which over 62% of people wrongly believe EHIC covers.

A ski injury could dwarf the actual cost of the holiday. Insurers paid out:

- £9,420 for medical treatment, airlift and repatriation for a fractured vertebrae of a skier in France
- £18,220 for medical treatment and repatriation for someone who broke their leg snowboarding in the USA.

Many holidaymakers were concerned earlier in the season as warm weather threatened to ruin ski trips. Winter sports insurance could cover the cost for transfer to an alternative resort because of lack of snow. And conversely, if the weather takes a turn for the worst, ski cover could also pay out for piste closure due to too much slow or avalanche.

“Before setting off to the slopes for the busy ski season, avoid skipping on essential cover and ruining your winter escape. The cost of medical treatment for ski injuries could put most people out of pocket, so it’s vital to ensure you have adequate winter sports cover,” Nick Starling, Director of General Insurance at the ABI said.

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