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Covid-19 (coronavirus) – important information

From 17th May 2021, a travel traffic light system is being introduced and trips to green list countries will be legally permitted if you live in England. Strict border control measures will remain in place for your return to the UK.

Before you buy, you should consider the implications of your destination moving from a green list country to amber or red as you may incur additional costs and/or face travel restrictions that will not be covered by your travel insurance.

The traffic light rules only dictate what you have to do on returning to England – so even if a country is on the green list, you still need to check your destination's entry requirements and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for travelling there. If the Foreign Office has advised against travel to your destination and you still decide to travel, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase.

A few insurers do offer cover If you are an essential traveller, however if you are in doubt or have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing.

Until dates have been set to permit non-essential international travel from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland it is important that you follow all the rules that apply to your country of residence.

If you’re planning on hitting the slopes on your next holiday, a standard travel insurance policy probably won’t cover you.

You'll need to take out extra cover for winter sports with your policy - when you compare travel insurance with us, we’ll ask you if you need it.

Why standard travel insurance isn’t enough

A winter sports holiday is non-stop fun, but skiing or snowboarding isn’t without its risks. You’re much more likely to get injured during a winter sports trip than a holiday spent lounging by the pool, which is why you need extra protection from your travel insurance.

"Nearly a third of winter sports holidaymakers are heading out to the slopes without the appropriate travel insurance in place, putting themselves at risk of costly medical bills if they have an accident while abroad"

Nikki White, ABTA director of destinations and sustainability

So, what exactly is ski insurance?

Ski insurance, or winter sports insurance, isn’t actually a type of travel insurance. It’s a policy feature that’s either already included or added on to your travel insurance.

Winter sports are considered to be high-risk activities by insurers, with more chance of you being seriously injured, so the medical aspect of your cover is usually more extensive than standard. It’ll include cover for things like air ambulances - important if you run into trouble in a hard to reach location.

It’ll also offer protection for situations unique to ski trips, like losing or damaging equipment, or piste closures. Because of that, expect travel insurance with winter sports cover to cost a bit more than a run-of-the-mill policy.

Activities and snow sports typically covered under winter sports insurance

  1. Skiing

  2. Snowboarding

  3. Tobogganing

  4. Ice-skating

  5. Snowmobiling

  6. Dog-sledding

  7. Sleighing

  8. Ice hockey

What’s covered?

Because you’re adding additional cover to a travel insurance policy, you’ll have cover for the standard things like lost and stolen possessions, medical expenses, trip cancellation and repatriation back to the UK. But you’ll also have cover for:

  • Equipment
    Things like your skis, snowboard and protective gear - if they're lost, stolen or damaged.
  • Piste closure
    That means you can claim back money if the slopes are closed for a certain amount of time - how long will be set out in your policy.
  • Avalanche delays
    If you can’t get onto the slopes because of an avalanche.
  • Personal liability
    Incase your actions injure someone, and they decide to take the case to court.
  • Ski passess
    To cover the cost to replace them if you lose yours.
  • Replacement equipment hire
    If you need to hire replacement equipment this’ll help cover the cost.

What’s covered, and how much cover you have, varies between policies. You can find out exactly what cover is available by looking at policy docs - if you’re unsure just give the insurer a call.

Typical exclusions

Winter travel insurance cover always has exclusions - watch out for these:

  • Accidents
    Where you weren’t using the right equipment or wearing protective gear like a helmet.
  • Alcohol and drug misuse
    Accidents where you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Unattended property
    If your property gets lost or stolen because you left them unattended or somewhere insecure.
  • White-knuckle winter sports
    Like heli-skiing or glacier climbing.
  • Going off-piste
    Some insurers might cover you if you’re with an instructor.
  • Cover for seniors and OAPs
    There’s usually an upper age limit on policies, and sometimes it’s as young as 40.

Hitting the slopes in Europe? Sort out your GHIC

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaced the European Health Insurance Card in 2021 and gives you the right to access state healthcare if you’re skiing in a country within the European Economic Area or Switzerland. You can apply for one here.

Frequently asked questions

  • How much does winter sports cover cost? 

    The average premium for a single winter sports policy, without pre-existing medical conditions, in 2020 was £30.89.[2]

    The price of your policy depends on a whole host of factors, like the country you’re visiting, duration of your trip and your age. Compare policies to get the best deal.

  • Can I cover my family? 

    Yes, you can. If you’re going skiing with family or friends, you can take out a group policy with winter sports cover. It’ll probably work out cheaper than insuring everyone separately too.

  • Can policies cover medical conditions? 

    If you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition, you need to let your insurer know about it when you take out cover. If you don’t, you won’t be covered for it if your condition gets worse. You won’t be able to claim back any expenses you have because of it either.

[1] introduces customers to which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.'s relationship with is limited to that of a business partnership, no common ownership or control rights exist between us. Please note, we cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites and by using the links stated to access these separate websites you will be subject to the terms of use applying to those sites

[2]Average price purchased data recorded by for single-trip winter sports travel insurance without pre-existing medical conditions, between January 1 and December 31 2020.

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