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Compare winter sports travel insurance

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What is 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. Winter sports travel insurance can cover you for a range of snow sports activities, including tobogganing, sleigh rides and ice-skating, as well as skiing and snowboarding. To make sure you’re covered for all activities, consider a more comprehensive winter sports insurance policy.

What does winter sports travel insurance cover?

Winter sports insurance is typically an add-on to standard travel insurance that offers more comprehensive cover for holidaymakers heading off to play in the snow. It’s specifically designed to cover a range of alpine activities. 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.

If you plan to go off-piste or take part in particularly high-risk activities, like winter mountaineering or ice climbing, you’ll likely need specialist standalone winter sports insurance.

What sports are covered by winter sports travel insurance?

A good winter sport holiday insurance policy will typically cover a range of winter sports including:

  • Skiing (on-piste)
  • Snowboarding (on-piste)
  • Cross-country or Nordic skiing (on managed tracks)
  • 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
  • Winter mountaineering
  • Competitive skiing and snowboarding.

Some insurance providers will require you to wear a helmet while taking part in winter sports, 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. To calculate the cost of your policy, travel insurance providers will consider:

Worldwide policies are usually more expensive than insurance for Europe, as medical treatment costs more in countries such as the USA and Canada.

It’s important to remember that cheap winter sports insurance isn’t necessarily the best choice for your trip. You need to make sure you’re properly covered. 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.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

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

A valid Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) or European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will cover emergency medical treatment in local public hospitals in EU countries. But it isn’t a replacement for adequate winter sports travel insurance. It should be used in addition to your winter holiday travel insurance, not instead of it.

Without winter sports travel insurance, you won’t be covered for:

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

It also won’t cover you if you need to cancel your trip or if you lose your ski pass or your (very expensive) ski equipment.

Some travel insurance providers will insist you have a GHIC or EHIC with you when you travel in the EU. So make sure yours is valid or apply for a new one if you’re travelling to a winter resort in an EU country.

If you have an EHIC issued before the end of 2020, 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 on the NHS website.

Your GHIC or EHIC won’t cover you in non-EU countries, including Liechtenstein, Norway or Iceland, so if you’re hitting the slopes there, make sure you have winter sports travel insurance with adequate healthcare cover.

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 – that way if something does go wrong, someone will know where you are and can 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.

What do I need to get a winter travel insurance 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?

Don’t hit the slopes without the right winter sports insurance for your alpine adventure. Compare the options in just 5 minutes[1].

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[1] Correct as of March 2024.

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We work with 43 trusted travel insurance brands[2], including:

[2] Correct as of March 2024.

Frequently asked questions

What destinations does winter sports holiday insurance cover?

Depending on the policy you choose, winter sports holiday insurance could cover:

  • UK/European travel includes non-EU member states, such as Switzerland and Norway.
  • Worldwide travel including USA and Canada if you’re heading to one of the top ski resorts in North America, such as Whistler and Aspen.
  • Worldwide travel, excluding USA, Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico and it’s normally 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 if you’re travelling to these destinations.

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 winter 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 with winter sports cover 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 snow sports travel insurance, 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 winter holiday insurance policy carefully, to understand exactly what’s 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 travel insurance 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 or taking a trip to see the Northern Lights, it shouldn’t be necessary.

Can I get travel insurance that covers coronavirus?

Yes, you can find and compare travel insurance policies with COVID-19 cover. All travel insurance providers on our panel offer emergency medical treatment and repatriation for COVID-19 related claims. You should also be able to find cover for holiday cancellations and accommodation costs if you’re forced to extend your stay. When comparing travel insurance with us, you can find COVID-19 related
inclusions under the ‘more details’ buttons of your results page.

Author image Helen Phipps

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.”

- Helen Phipps, Insurance comparison expert

Page last reviewed on 13 OCTOBER 2023
by Helen Phipps