Although it feels as if spring is knocking on the door, the European ski season is in full swing – and if you haven’t already booked a break, there are some great deals around.
But a bargain package doesn’t necessarily guarantee a small spend. The slopes are often riskier than a beach break, and if you haven’t purchased decent travel insurance, bills can be one of the most painful aspects.
Fortunately, with some careful planning, it’s possible to avoid any piste pitfalls. Anna Burgin, Travel Money Expert at Thomas Cook Money reveals the common mistakes which could prevent you from being able to make a travel insurance claim on your winter holiday…
1. Off-piste exploring
After a heavy snowfall, it’s often tempting for skiers and snowboarders to venture off-piste. If you do, you risk a huge bill if you have to make a claim. Even if your policy does cover winter sports, off-piste isn’t always included. It’s worth double checking the small print.
2. Forgetting to wear a helmet
Gone are the days where headwear was just for keeping warm; a helmet is an essential part of keeping safe on the slopes. Plus, they’ve become streamlined, lighter and even fashionable over recent years. Lots of insurance policies will not cover you unless a helmet and appropriate safety equipment is worn at all times.
3. Presuming any stolen or broken equipment is covered
It’s easy to assume that if your equipment is stolen (or breaks on an unexpected rock) insurance or the hire shop will cover the cost. However, this isn’t always the case. If your skis or snowboard are left unattended or unlocked on a ski rack, some insurance policies won’t cover the damage. Read up to avoid buying new equipment that you won’t get to take home.
4. Getting adventurous with winter activities
Although you may have added winter sports cover to your policy, it doesn’t mean you’ll be covered for additional activities, such as sledging or skating. If you’re likely to get up to something more adventurous, make sure your policy specifies exactly what’s covered.
5. Relying on the standard cover of a travel insurance policy
Less than 7% of the single trip travel insurance policies on the market cover winter sports as standard, while 11% do not offer any winter sports cover at all (according to research by financial information business Defaqto). If you’re planning a winter sports break, it’s vital you check what’s included and add separate winter sports cover if necessary.
6. Going overboard on the alcohol
As tempting as it is to hit après ski, most insurers won’t cover you if you’re involved in an accident while under the influence of alcohol – plus, remember the altitude makes a difference. Avoid risking a financial hangover – it may save you a physical one too.
7. Failing to check limits on claims
Checking exactly how much you’ll be able to claim back in the event that you lose your wallet on the slopes, or baggage on your journey, is very important. With a customisable policy like Roam (roaminsure.co.uk, offered by Thomas Cook Money), you can increase your baggage to cover all your new ski wear, without having to pay extra on the other parts of the policy too.
- Press Association