Winter sports travel insurance

Winter sports insurance goes beyond standard travel insurance to help make sure your slope adventures are covered.

Family picnic at a rest stop

What is winter sports travel insurance?

Standard travel insurance policies won’t cover many of the risks that come with winter sports activities.

Winter sports insurance, also known as ski insurance, is specifically designed to cover anything that might go wrong on your alpine trip.

From piste closures and damaged or lost equipment to mountain-side rescue, winter sports travel insurance can provide the protection you need.

Mother carrying a sled out of the car for her children

What does it cover?

As well as providing protection for the situations that standard travel insurance typically includes, like lost luggage and flight cancellations, winter sports insurance can also cover:

  1. Cost of hired equipment

    If you had to hire equipment because your gear was lost, stolen or damaged

  2. Lost lift passes

    Provides cover to help you pay for the cost of a replacement ski pass

  3. Piste closures

    This will help to reimburse you if you can’t use the slopes when there’s not enough or too much snow, or if the ski lifts and ski schools are closed

  4. Avalanche delays

    Cover if you need extra transport and accommodation when an avalanche interferes with your plans

  5. Medical expenses and repatriation

    If you had to receive emergency medical treatment, return home early or extend your stay because of injury or illness

  6. Lost, stolen or damaged equipment

    This will cover you if your own equipment is lost, stolen or damaged on your journey

  7. Personal liability

    This helps to cover legal costs if you’re liable for causing injury to someone else

What isn’t covered?

Not all policies cover the same situations, so make sure you check the policy details carefully. Some common exclusions to look out for are:

  1. Going off-piste

    You won’t usually be covered if you venture away from the main runs and find yourself off-piste or outside the boundaries of the resort

  2. Accidents while you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol

    So if you injure yourself when you’ve been indulging in apres-ski, you’re unlikely to be covered

  3. Leaving your equipment unattended

    If you leave your belongings in public spaces where they can be taken easily, they won’t be covered

  4. Travelling against government advice

    Travelling to somewhere the UK government has advised against is likely to invalidate your policy

  5. Not using or wearing the right equipment

    For example, some winter sports insurance policies are only valid if you wear a helmet

  6. Extreme winter sports

    You may need specialist or extra cover for activities like heli-skiing, glacier climbing and base jumping

What sports are covered by winter sports travel insurance?

The winter sports covered will vary by insurer, but policies will typically cover you for activities like:

  • Snowboarding
  • Skiing
  • Ice skating
  • Tobogganing and sledging
  • Sleigh rides
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog-sledding

Check your policy carefully to make sure that any activity you’re planning to do on your holiday will be covered.

How much does it cost?

The price you’ll pay will depend on a range of factors including:

  • Your destination
  • Your age
  • How many people you’re insuring
  • The length of your policy
  • Any pre-existing medical conditions

Just like standard travel insurance, you can buy winter sports insurance as single-trip cover or as an annual or multi-trip policy.

The average cost for a single trip winter sports policy, without pre-existing medical conditions, in April 2023 was £11.80.[1]

Will EHIC or GHIC cover me for winter sports in Europe?

A European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) means you can receive necessary treatment in state hospitals within the European Union if you’re ill or injured while you’re away.

If you have one of these cards you’ll be charged the same price for healthcare that local residents would.

But be aware that they won’t cover all medical costs (or unforeseen events like mountain rescue or stolen equipment) that winter sports insurance will provide cover for.

You can apply for a free GHIC or EHIC using the NHS website. If you’re a UK national, it’s likely that you’ll need a GHIC, but if you already have an EHIC, it will still be valid until it’s expiry date.

What destinations does winter sports insurance cover?

Different policies will cover different countries and regions. So you’ll need to make sure that you take out a policy that covers the destination you’re heading to:

You can take out either:

  • European cover
  • Worldwide cover
  • Worldwide cover including USA, Canada, and the Caribbean

There may be limits or restrictions on some destinations and the length of the trip - you might need to tell your insurer if you’re going to be away for more than 15 days.

Always check your policy before you travel to see what is and isn’t covered.

When should I buy winter sports cover?

The best time to buy winter sports insurance is as soon as you book your trip.

This way, as well as being protected during your trip, you’ll be covered if your holiday’s cancelled or if something out of your control happens that means you can’t go away.

Can I get winter sports cover if I have pre-existing medical conditions?

Yes, you’ll still be able to take out winter sports insurance if you’ve got a pre-existing medical condition.

Just be aware that you’ll usually need to pay more and some insurers may not cover you for claims related to your condition.

You can find specialist insurers that provide comprehensive cover for people with serious medical conditions by using the government’s MoneyHelper service.

Frequently asked questions

You might find it’s better value to do this if you’ll be travelling as a couple or with family and friends, rather than taking out individual policies.

Other ways to save money are to look at the cost of an annual versus a multi-trip policy, if you think you’ll be going on two or more trips in the same 12-month period.

Shop around and compare costs to see what will work out as the best option for you.

Yes, if you choose a winter sports add-on to an annual multi-trip policy you can go on several winter sports breaks within the year.

There’ll be limits on the length of each trip you can take. For some policies this can vary between 17 and 31 days, so check the details beforehand.

This all depends on what you’re planning to do when you visit Lapland.

If there’s a chance you’ll be taking part in activities like riding snowmobiles, dog-sledding or going on reindeer trips, standard travel insurance won’t cover you.

Check your policy or contact your insurer - you should be able to buy winter sports cover as an optional add-on if you need it.

To make sure your fun in the snow isn’t interrupted by any unfortunate mishaps or injuries, try following these simple steps:

  • Read the signs - Look out for warning signs, piste closures and orange safety nets so that you can avoid potentially dangerous areas
  • Wear the right gear - Good quality protective gear, including helmets, goggles and gloves will help to keep you safe
  • Careful with the apres-ski - You’re more likely to hurt yourself and others if you ski under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and it’s unlikely you’ll be covered by your insurance
  • Never go off-piste alone - Stick with a qualified instructor and always stay in a group. Always check to see if your policy covers off-piste skiing before you set off
  • Know your limits - Unless you’re with an instructor keep to runs and activities that are suited to your ability
  • Buy the right type of cover - Don’t just rely on standard travel insurance or your GHIC, make sure you take out the right winter sports cover for full protection

All you need to tell us is:

  1. Type of cover you need
  2. Whether it’s single trip, annual or long-stay cover
  3. Who you want to insure - Are you travelling along or with others?
  4. Additional cover - Will you be doing extreme winter sports activities?
  5. Your details - Your name, age, and address
  6. Your medical history - Whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions

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[1]Average median price purchased data recorded by for single-trip winter sports travel insurance without pre-existing medical conditions, in April 2023.