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 activities such as tobogganing, husky 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.
The travel traffic light system currently states that trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant government.
Please note: from 4am on 4 October 2021, the current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries.
Currently, if your destination of choice is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you are aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and ensure travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed with short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.
The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red list countries. Most insurance policies purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the FCDO has instructed citizens not to travel to won’t be valid, however, some insurance providers may offer reduced cover if you’re travelling for essential purposes. Should you have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing, to ensure the cover meets your needs.
Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.Find out more here
Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions
When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions.
MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.
What is winter sports insurance?
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
- avalanche delay
- piste closure for more than 24 hours
- alternative equipment hire if your luggage is delayed or misplaced on the outward journey
- personal liability should 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.
A good winter sports policy can typically cover winter sports such as:
- skiing (on-piste)
- snowboarding (on-piste)
- ice hockey
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 be not be covered by a standard travel insurance policy. A winter sports policy can give you the peace of mind to enjoy a whole range of winter activities, knowing you have the right level of protection in place.
Frequently asked questions
What’s not covered by winter sports insurance?
If you’re into more extreme winter sports, you may find that you’ll 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
- snow kiting
- heli skiing
- competitive skiing and snowboarding
Some insurance providers will require you to wear a helmet, otherwise your policy will be invalid.
And nearly all insurance providers will refuse to pay out if an accident happens while you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Will an EHIC cover me for winter sports?
After Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU with a deal in place, things have changed. You won’t be able to apply for an EHIC anymore, but, if you have one already, issued before the end of 2020, then it’ll still be valid until the expiry date.
However, the UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC here, and it should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.
The EHIC/GHIC will cover emergency medical treatment in a public hospital, but it won’t cover the following costs:
- mountain rescues
- private treatment
- repatriation if you need to be flown home
The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office recommends having adequate travel insurance in addition to your EHIC/GHIC to cover these costs.
What destinations does winter sports insurance cover?
Whether you’re planning a snowboarding weekend in France or a skiing holiday in Canada, it’s important to have the right level of cover. Like standard travel insurance, winter sports policies depend on the destination you’re visiting.
- European travel includes non-EU member states, such as Switzerland and Norway.
- Worldwide travel (excluding the USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico) is cheaper if you don’t need cover in these areas.
- Worldwide travel covers some of the top ski resorts in the USA and Canada, including Whistler and Aspen.
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 anything that might happen before you go away as well as anything that happens during your holiday. That means you could be protected if your trip is cancelled.
Should I get joint winter sports cover?
Can I get multi-trip winter sports insurance?
Can I get winter sports insurance with a pre-existing condition?
Having a medical condition doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying a winter sports holiday, but be sure to let your insurance provider know if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or injuries. If you’re injured because of a health condition that you didn’t disclose, your policy may be invalid should you need to make a claim.
How do you stay safe on a winter sports holiday?
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. Goggles and sunblock should also be worn 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.
- Be drink aware. Drinking alcohol at altitude will affect you more quickly than normal and could endanger you and those around you.
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 excess are you willing to pay?
- 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?
Travel insurance expert
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."