Snow Joke

On the slopes in Davos

Last week the great and the good of international business and politics descended on the Swiss ski resort of Davos, for the World Economic Forum. Everyone from Bill Gates to Tony Blair showed up to have their say on the big issues affecting the planet today.

If they planned on staying on to hit the slopes this week they better be careful to read the fine print on their travel insurance documents as claiming on an alpine accident is snow joke!

With over 360 policies available, travel insurance is one of the most competitive insurance markets. Getting sufficient cover, particularly for skiing holidays, can require a bit of effort when it comes to checking the small print.

Busted boot or snapped ski

With some skis and boots costing hundreds of pounds, losing a ski could leave you feeling cold, particularly if your insurance doesn’t cover winter sports equipment.

Almost one in three policies excludes equipment but those that do cover it will pay out an average of £500 with Ecclesiastical insurance paying out up £2500 if you’ve brought your skidoo with you too!

If you run into snow problems you’ll also want to know that you’re covered in the event of too much or too little snow.

If you arrive at your resort and find that the slopes are shut because of storms or lack of snow then things could get a little frustrating, particularly if you’re not going to be compensated. Axa Direct insurance for example will pay out £600 if the slopes are shut for your entire stay, many policies however will pay out nothing and amongst those that do, the average is just £200.

If the slopes are closed, but not for your entire stay then you should expect to be compensated by the day. Payouts range from £20 to £50 on those policies which provide the service. With most resorts not having a great deal to do without skiing that extra £30 could ensure that at least you eat like a king.

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to venture off-piste then it’s very important to ensure that your policy will cover any accident or injury that may befall you while you’re in the deep white stuff. Only about a quarter of travel insurance policies permit off-piste skiing and in many cases the activity comes with restrictions such as the accompaniment of a guide.

Age restrictions may apply

Travel insurance is just like every other kind of deal. There will always be terms and conditions and when it comes to winter sports holidays it’s not just the snow reports you’ll want to check up on before you travel.

Some policies for example have a minimum age requirement as high as 21. So if you’re taking the kids, or even if you’re a student planning on going away with university then it will pay to read through the details.

Get your reading specs out

It may sound like travel insurers are out to trip you off when it comes to winter sports holidays but it’s just that winter sports tend to be dangerous and insurers have to make it clear what they will and won’t pay out on.

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