Foreign Office warns skiers over insurance

4th December 2015, by Abi Butcher

The Foreign Office said 45 Brits have died while on a ski holiday in the past three years

The Foreign Office said 45 Brits have died while on a ski holiday in the past three years

One third of skiers and snowboarders fail to check whether they have appropriate travel insurance for their winter holidays, the Foreign Office has revealed this morning.

New research from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and ABTA – the Association of British Travel Agents — reveals that 31% of travellers do not check whether they have the correct insurance to cover winter sports — such as skiing and snowboarding.

Perhaps surprisingly, the worst culprits are those over 65, of which more than half (55%) fail to check if they’re covered. The most safety conscious skiers and snowboarders are aged 25-34 — which less than a quarter (24%) travelling without ensuring they have the appropriate insurance.

The Foreign Office said today that 45 British people have died while on a ski holiday in the past three years, with thousands more being injured on- and off-piste.

The cost of being rescued from the mountain will vary according to where you are and what is needed, but insurance broker MPI said recently that a typical piste rescue is about €350 while an off piste rescue starts around €650. And off-piste counts as inches from the piste — not just in the backcountry.

“As we look forward to the winter sports season, we are urging holidaymakers to be aware of the potential risks,” said ABTA chief executive Mark Tanzer. “Along with following safety advice, we would also advise anyone planning a winter sports holiday to ensure they have appropriate insurance in place.”

The FCO has teamed up with former Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott to issue the following safety advice for skiers and snowboarders:


• Take out comprehensive travel insurance with winter sports cover and check what it covers

• If heading to Europe, travel with a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get free necessary treatment at public hospitals

• Make sure your passport is valid before you travel

• Check the FCO’s travel advice for the country you are visiting

• Keep up to date with the local weather conditions before you go and while you’re in resort

In resort

• Stick with your mates when walking back to your hotel or chalet and follow the signed paths

• Only ski off-piste if you are a confident skier, aware of the risks and are with a qualified guide

• Wear a helmet

• Remember the effects of drinking alcohol increase at altitude – your judgment, coordination and reaction times may be affected

• Make sure you and your friends know that in an emergency, the number to call is 112 in Europe and 911 in USA

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