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Winter sports travel insurance

Whether you’re planning a skiing holiday or a trip to Lapland, it’s important to have the right travel insurance to cover you.

Many resorts offer a range of snow sports activities, such as tobogganing, sleigh rides and ice-skating, as well as skiing and snowboarding. To ensure you’re covered for all activities, consider a more comprehensive winter sports insurance policy.

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What does winter sports travel insurance cover?

Winter sports insurance is an add-on to standard travel insurance that offers more comprehensive cover. As well as lost, damaged or stolen luggage, medical costs cancellations and delays, it can also offer cover for: 

  • Loss of ski pass 
  • Loss, theft or damage to equipment 
  • Delays caused by an avalanche
  • Piste closure for more than 24 hours
  • Alternative equipment hire if your luggage is delayed or misplaced on the outward journey
  • Personal liability if you injure someone else.

You should check your policy for a list of all activities covered, as terms and conditions can vary significantly among insurance providers.

What sports are covered by winter sports travel insurance?

A good winter sports policy will typically cover winter sports including:

  • Skiing (on-piste)
  • Snowboarding (on-piste)
  • Tobogganing
  • Ice-skating
  • Snowmobiling
  • Dog-sledding
  • Sleigh rides. 

All winter sports can be considered fairly high-risk because snow, ice and altitude increase the chances of injury. Even something as low-key as a reindeer sleigh ride on a trip to Lapland may not be covered by a standard travel insurance policy.

Remember to check your policy for a full list of sports and activities covered. If your chosen winter sport isn’t listed, you might need to pay more for the extra cover.

What’s not covered by winter sports travel insurance?

If you’re into more extreme winter sports, you may need to pay for extra cover or find a specialist insurance provider to give you the right level of protection.

Extreme winter sports typically include:

  • Off-piste skiing and snowboarding
  • Glacier climbing
  • Snowkiting
  • Heliskiing
  • Competitive skiing and snowboarding.

Some insurance providers will require you to wear a helmet, otherwise your policy will be invalid.

And insurance providers will typically refuse to pay out if an accident happens while you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

How much does winter sports insurance cost?

The cost of travel insurance with winter sports will vary depending on your circumstances. Providers will consider factors like your age, where you’re travelling to and pre-existing medical conditions when calculating the cost of your policy.

Worldwide policies are usually more expensive than insurance for Europe, as medical treatment costs more in countries such as the USA and Canada. But whether you’re snowboarding or sleigh riding, we’ll compare great deals to help you find the right travel insurance for your winter adventure.

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

If you’re travelling to a winter resort in an EU country, make sure you have a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This should be in addition to your travel insurance, not instead of it.

The EHIC/GHIC will cover emergency medical treatment in a local public hospital, but it won’t cover the following costs:

  • Mountain rescues
  • Private treatment
  • Repatriation if you need to be flown home.

Now that the UK has left the EU, you’ll no longer be able to apply for an EHIC. But if you already have one issued before the end of 2020, then it will still be valid until the expiry date.

If you don’t have an EHIC or once your EHIC expires, you can apply for a GHIC. It should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.

If you’re planning an adrenaline-filled adventure to the slopes of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, which aren’t in the EU, you’ll need winter sports travel insurance with adequate healthcare cover.

What do I need to get a quote?

We can help you compare winter sports insurance quickly and easily so you can find the right level of protection to suit you. You don’t need any documents to get a quote; we’ll just ask some basic questions, including:

  • Where are you going?
  • When are you going?
  • Do you want any add-ons?
  • How many people do you want to insure?
  • How much are you willing to pay towards a claim (the excess)?
  • How much baggage cover do you need?
  • What would your medical cover limit be?
  • How much are you willing to pay for cancellation cover?
  • Do you have any pre-existing medical conditions?
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Frequently asked questions

What destinations does winter sports travel insurance cover?

  • UK/European travel includes non-EU member states, such as Switzerland and Norway.
  • Worldwide travel including USA and Canada covers some of the top ski resorts in North America, such as Whistler and Aspen.
  • Worldwide travel, excluding USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico is cheaper if you don’t need cover in these areas – ideal if you need ski travel insurance for Japan or New Zealand.

Medical costs can run into tens of thousands of dollars in the USA and Canada, so travel cover is especially important.

When should I buy winter sports travel insurance?

The best time to buy winter sports insurance is straight after booking your trip. A comprehensive travel policy will cover your trip from when you buy it, which could be handy if your trip is cancelled, as well as anything that happens during your holiday.

Should I get joint winter sports cover?

If you’re travelling as a family, couple or group, you may find a policy that covers all of you better value for money than individual travel insurance for each person.

Can I get multi-trip winter sports travel insurance?

Yes, you can. If you’re planning more than one winter trip in the course of a year, you might save money by getting annual travel insurance instead of a single-trip policy each time you go away.

Are there age restrictions for winter sports insurance?

There can be. Many providers have an upper age limit for winter sports cover, with some only offering it to travellers aged under 65. The older you are, the more you’re deemed to be at risk of getting injured or falling ill from taking part in strenuous activities.

Is winter sports insurance the same as ski travel insurance?

Not always. That’s why you should check your policy carefully, to understand what’s exactly covered.

Some ski travel insurance policies will cover you for a range of snow sports, while others may only cover you for skiing. The same applies to snowboard travel insurance. If you’re planning on doing other activities during your skiing or snowboarding holiday, a more comprehensive winter sports policy might be a better option.

Do I need winter sports insurance for trips to Lapland?

If you’re planning to take part in activities like husky sledding or snowmobiling, it’s a good idea to add winter sports cover to your travel insurance policy. If you’re just meeting Father Christmas, it shouldn’t be necessary.

Top tips for winter sports travel

Winter sports are exhilarating, but they can also be dangerous. Follow our top tips to stay safe:

  • Wear protective gear – many insurance policies require you to wear a helmet on the slopes. You should also wear goggles and sunblock to protect your eyes and face from the sun, which can be deceptively strong at altitude.
  • Check weather reports – snow reports, weather forecasts and avalanche risk levels are available at resort lift stations.
  • Know your limits – familiarise yourself with how pistes are rated for difficulty. That way you won’t go beyond your level of ability.
  • Let others know your plans – this way if something did go wrong, someone would know where you were and could alert the authorities.
  • Be drink aware – drinking alcohol at altitude will affect you more quickly than normal and could endanger you and those around you. And you won’t be covered by insurance if you have an accident under the influence.
Author image Josh Daniels

What our expert says...

“With a winter sports trip, it’s important to get your medical cover right. That’s because you’re more likely to be injured on the slopes than on the beach. Medical treatment abroad can be shockingly expensive, so don’t scrimp on your medical cover to save a few quid on your policy. Get the right cover and be completely honest when applying. Lying will only invalidate your policy.”

- Josh Daniels, Travel insurance expert

Page last reviewed on 28/09/2022
by Josh Daniels