‘It’s been a long road to recovery but I’m really glad I had travel insurance’: Alessandra suffered a serious knee injury while skiing… here’s why you shouldn’t hit the slopes without FULL cover
- Winter sports are often an additional option in travel insurance policies
- The cost of a fall on the slopes could quickly run into the thousands of pounds
- An annual multi-trip policy will invariably be better value for money
Thousands of skiers heading off to the slopes over the coming weeks should be aware that they risk more than a twisted ankle if they do not have adequate travel insurance.
Winter sports – such as skiing, snowboarding and sledging – are often an additional option in travel insurance policies rather than being included as standard, so there could be a financial shock if anything goes awry on the piste.
The cost of a fall on the slopes that necessitates a rescue by helicopter or snowmobile could quickly run into the thousands of pounds, while medical treatment, extra hotel stays, change in flights and replacement to damaged equipment could increase the bill even more.
Claim: Alessandra Grassotti suffered a serious knee injury
‘It’s important that customers make sure which winter sports are actually covered under their travel insurance,’ says Gareth Hemming, of insurer Aviva.
‘Some policies only cover certain activities rather than all winter sports and with new leisure activities being introduced all the time, it’s best to check what is listed on policy documents.’
For example, some policies include off-piste skiing, but only with a qualified guide, while others specify skiing only on established trails.
‘Injuries are the most common cause of claim under our winter sports cover, so anyone who travels without insurance is taking a huge risk,’ adds Hemming.
‘For more serious injuries, medical costs abroad can add up to tens of thousands of pounds – even six-figure sums in some cases.’
A typical bill could be £4,000 for a helicopter rescue, £1,500 for medical treatment, £400 for flights, £200 for hotels – not to mention any damage to skis or clothing. So a bill of £6,000 is not uncommon.
Some policies include off-piste skiing, but only with a qualified guide, while others specify skiing only on established trails
Even if you are opting for the correct cover, it is important to tell your insurer about any pre-existing medical conditions when you take out the insurance, otherwise it could be invalid.
Alessandra Grassotti, 28, lives in London and has been skiing since she was three years old. Last year, Alessandra fell on the slopes while skiing in the Three Valleys region near Courchevel in France.
She says: ‘We were skiing on a black run and I caught an edge on my left ski as I took a right turn. My ski didn’t come off fast enough so I twisted my leg in the process and felt something like a small explosion go off in my knee.’
Alessandra needed to be stretchered off the mountain and an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a fully-ruptured anterior cruciate ligament and a torn meniscus.
Alessandra had to pass up on her chance to run the New York marathon last year but after surgery and 12 months of rehabilitation she feels she is getting back to normal.
‘It’s been a long road to recovery but I’m really glad I made sure I had travel insurance,’ she says. ‘It had run out just before I left for skiing, so I made sure to renew it and it’s lucky I did. I called Aviva the day after the accident and it arranged all my transport back to the UK and the payment for the paramedics and ambulance.’
Her accident has not put Alessandra off. ‘I can’t wait to get back out on the slopes, it’s one of my favourite things to do,’ she says.
Insurers which offer travel insurance with winter sports include Columbus Direct, Post Office Money, Esure, Virgin Money, Admiral, Aviva, Trip Sure and More Than. For example, the cost of cover for a single trip to France for a family of four, is £20.68 from Columbus Direct. This includes £10million of medical cover, plus any damage to ski equipment and mountain rescue.
An annual multi-trip policy will invariably be better value for money. AnnualTravelInsurance.com provides cover (same family of four, travelling only to France) for £36.77.
It is restricted to a maximum of 35 days per trip, 18 days for winter sports.
THIS IS MONEY’S FIVE OF THE BEST HOLIDAY MONEY DEALS