Travel insurance claims surge as families hit the ski-slopes

11th February 2016


It appears February half term is the most dangerous time of the year for a trip to the slopes.

Research from Aviva shows the average number of winter sports travel claims actually more than double during the period, compared to the rest of the ski season.

The analysis from the insurer found that almost six out of 10, at 57%, of parents would consider taking a winter sports break with their family, citing good activities for children and health and fitness benefits as their main reasons.

Accessibility and location are also popular motivations for parents, although some said that they would consider winter sports holidays because summer breaks during school holidays are too expensive.

However the survey showed that while health and safety at winter resorts is a top priority for many parents, more than half, at 55%, admitted they only sometimes take out travel insurance when going on holiday with their family and 47% said they do not always make sure they have cover that specifically covers winter sports.

Shockingly the poll showed that 20% parent do not insist their children always wore helmets, potentially meaning a heightened risk of injury for some youngsters on the slopes.

Adam Beckett, propositions director for Aviva, said: “A medical emergency is the most common reason for claiming on winter sports insurance and the cost of treating minor injuries can be expensive – the average cost of a winter sports claim is around £1,000.

“The largest winter sports claim settled by Aviva in recent years was for a customer who suffered a hip injury while skiing in Austria, the cost of which was over £15,000.”

The EHIC card offers state-provided emergency medical treatment in EEA countries.

However, the level of treatment varies between countries and it may not cover all the treatment costs and services that are free through the NHS. It will not provide the same levels of cover that insurance does and would not cover a rescue from a mountain top or repatriation home if you needed it.

Beckett explained that the cost of bringing someone with a damaged spinal cord home to the UK by air ambulance could be in the region of £20,000 from the European Union, or even as much as £80,000 from the United States.”

Aviva’s top 10 tips for staying safe on the slopes…

  1. Take out the right winter sports travel insurance package. Make sure your travel insurance suits your needs before you buy it and keep your travel insurance medical emergency helpline number and your policy number to hand.
  2. Make sure your skiing equipment – or the gear you hire – is in good order.
  3. Don’t borrow skiing equipment – it should fit your height, weight and skill level.
  4. Wear a protective headgear or a helmet – make a helmet mandatory for your children
  5. Take lessons if you’ve never skied before. If you haven’t been on the piste for a while, a lesson or two will polish up your skills.
  6. Remember that skiers or boarders in front or below you on the piste have right of way.
  7. Know your limits – ski or snowboard to your skill level on the nursery slopes, the green (beginner), blue (intermediate), red (intermediate/advanced) or black (advanced) runs.
  8. Respect the mountain and make sure you obey all warning signs – especially during avalanche season. Never go off-piste unless you are authorised to do so by the resort. If you are authorised to go off-piste, don’t ski or board alone, go with a qualified guide. Under Aviva Travel Insurance, you will not be covered for off-piste skiing unless you are accompanied by a qualified guide.
  9. Carry a fully charged mobile phone with you.
  10. Don’t drink and ski. Excess alcohol will slow your reactions and affect your observation and balance.


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