Compare winter sports travel insurance

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

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, 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.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

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 
  • 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 activities does winter sports insurance cover?

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.

A winter sports policy allows you to enjoy a range of winter activities, knowing you have the right level of cover in place.

What’s not covered by winter sports insurance?

If you’re into more extreme winter sports, you may find you 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 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 winter sports insurance will vary depending on your circumstances. Providers will take factors such as age, where you’re travelling to and pre-existing medical conditions into consideration when you look for a policy. Worldwide policies are usually more expensive than European ones 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.

The UK government has introduced the GHIC to replace the EHIC. 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.

Frequently asked questions

What destinations does winter sports insurance cover?

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

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 insurance?

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.  

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.

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.

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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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