Travel insurance Updated:
Thousands of British skiers planning to hit the slopes this winter are unwittingly risking mountainous medical bills, it has been warned.
Even though the costs of treating just a minor ski-related injury can easily amount more than the price of the trip itself, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said many skiers are not taking out travel insurance.
Treating a ruptured ligament and arranging repatriation back to the UK from France typically amounts to an overall bill of £6,000, while £5,000 is the going rate for medical treatment for a fractured leg and a nurse-escorted flight back to the UK from an Austrian ski resort.
In a recent Government survey, nearly a third (31%) of people admitted that they did not take out insurance to cover their winter sports holidays.
Instead, thrill seekers are relying on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to get them out of trouble.
However, as the EHIC does not pay for private medical treatment, mountain rescue or medical repatriation back to the UK, such expenses can quickly escalate out of control.
Besides extolling the virtues of having adequate travel insurance cover, the ABI also warns skiers who have a policy in place that accidents caused by too much alcohol are unlikely to qualify for a payout.
One in five skiers admit to drinking too heavily while on skiing breaks, with 40% saying that they have skied nursing a hangover from the night before. Finally, in order to avoid injury in the first place, skiers are warned not to push themselves too far. Inexperience and tiredness are thought to be the biggest causes of accidents among British skiers.
"Skiing is exhilarating but can also be dangerous, so it is alarming that nearly a third of people planning winter sports holidays do not intend to take out travel insurance," said Nick Kirwan, the ABI's assistant director of health and protection.
"Skiing injuries can result in financially crippling medical bills, so ensuring that you have travel insurance that covers your ski activities is essential before you set of for the slopes."
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