Less piste for your pound – but don’t cut corners by skimping on travel insurance

Posted by Eleanor Armstrong on

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Skiers planning a winter getaway to the slopes are being warned not to try to compensate for a weak pound by skimping on travel insurance.

Figures show that the price of skiing has risen dramatically since the Brexit referendum, with popular destinations such as Bulgaria increasing prices by more than 60 per cent since last year, and prices across the ski index rising by more than a quarter.

Travel claims specialists at law firm BL Claims Solicitors fear skiers may be tempted to try to cut the cost of their trip by travelling without adequate insurance cover – and are warning that this could be a costly decision in the long run.

The costs of medical attention when abroad can be significant – for example a helicopter trip to hospital could cost between £2,000 and £5,000, while repatriation from Europe with an injury such as a broken leg can rack up fees in excess of £10,000.

In the longer-term, travel insurance could be even more crucial as the future of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) – which currently entitles state-provided emergency medical treatment within the EU country – could be in doubt once Britain leaves the EU.

Eleanor Armstrong, a senior associate in the travel team at BL Claims Solicitors, says: “The slump in the pound means that skiers are likely to be paying more for their holiday than last winter.

“Some may be looking to cut their holiday bill by overlooking travel insurance.

“Our advice would be that the need for good travel insurance is greater than ever before.

“Serious skiing injuries are rare but they do happen – and the financial cost for those who are uninsured or under-insured can be significant.

“The costs of helicopter mountain rescue, repatriation and medical care can run into tens of thousands of pounds – all costs that are avoidable with a few simple checks.

“Travelling uninsured or underinsured is a massive risk to take and the weak pound could lead to healthcare and associated costs abroad being more expensive than in the past.

“People who are travelling for winter sports should ensure their policy covers all the activities they are likely to want to take part in.

“It is also important to check policy limits for cancellation, curtailment and damage to equipment.”

Eleanor also has the following top five tips for skiers:

  • Be aware that many insurers require skiers to wear a helmet – so check carefully to see if this is a requirement. Some ski schools require children to wear helmets before they can take part in lessons.
  • Don’t rely on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) the old E111. This is not a viable alternative for travel insurance for a ski break, where the risks are considerably higher than a normal sunshine holiday.
  • Check local ski rules. Insurers can withdraw cover if you have an accident when in breach of local rules or authoritative advice.
  • Watch your alcohol intake during the day and at the apres ski. Drinking at high altitude can make you feel drunk more quickly than usual – and you may not be covered when under the influence.
  • If you are involved in an accident on piste, you are obliged under the International Ski Federation’s Rules of Conduct to exchange details with the other party. It is helpful to keep details of your insurance policy with you, including the policy number and the number for its medical assistance team.

Eleanor adds: “The most important thing is to check the cover levels and small print to check the policy is right for you.

“It should include cover for any sports you’re planning on - heli-skiing, skidoo and tobogganing can lead to uninsured injury as travellers may not realise they need specific cover for these activities.

“By checking all the details, however minor they may seem, skiers can enjoy their time on the slopes in the knowledge that you are covered if the worst should happen.”

BL Claims Solicitors are here to help

If you would like to talk to someone and discuss a potential claim please call us on 0344 620 6600 anytime between 8am and 6pm Monday to Friday, or if you would prefer you can email us at info@blclaims.co.uk

About the Author

Eleanor is a Senior Associate in our Travel team. Eleanor has a degree in Translating and Interpreting (German/Spanish) and is also fluent in French.

Eleanor Armstrong
Email Eleanor
023 8085 7319

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