How winter sports cover works, as Italy makes insurance compulsory for all ski holidays

Skiers in Italy without winter sports insurance risk fines of £125 and cancellation of their ski passes, under a new law.

Anyone who wants to ski or snowboard in the country must now have winter sports insurance that provides cover against damage or injury to third parties.

Italy is the first country to introduce such a mandate.

Skiers will either have to arrange their own insurance, or they will have the opportunity to purchase winter sports cover along with their ski pass at a cost of around €2 to €3 per day.

Now that the new law comes into effect, we are answering your questions about ski insurance.

What should I pay attention to when taking out winter sports insurance?

You should ensure third party injuries are covered, especially if you are skiing in Italy where it is now mandatory.

Check that off-piste skiing is covered if you plan to leave the groomed slopes. And read the terms and conditions under which it is valid – this can include things like having proper avalanche training and equipment.

Repatriation costs may not be covered by all insurers, so it’s a good idea to make sure it’s included.

Check if you are insured for other winter sports such as tubing or bobsledding if you plan to participate in these activities.

I am skiing in France. What is a Carte Neige and should I buy one?

In addition to your ski pass, ski resorts in France offer the option of getting insurance, usually for around £3 extra.

Often called a Carte Neige, it covers you for mountain rescue and transportation home.

More of trip

However, these policies are primarily intended for EU residents. Now that the UK has left the EU, UK skiers may not be entitled to all the benefits of the insurance policy, including secondary transport to another hospital or repatriation costs, Source magazine.

It is therefore best not to rely on insurance purchased with a ski pass, but be sure that your broader travel insurance policy includes comprehensive winter sports cover.

Are uninsured skiers a big problem?

A surprising number of skiers and snowboarders admit to hitting the slopes without winter sports insurance.

According to Battleface, a quarter of British skiers and snowboarders have not taken out specific winter sports coverage on their last trip.

A survey by the specialist insurer also found that 71 percent of British skiers and snowboarders admit they feel out of practice after the Covid pandemic and that the cost of getting off a mountain is more expensive than people think. The average estimate of people is £3,000 while the reality is closer to £10,000.

What are EHIC and GHIC cards and do they cover me while skiing?

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and its post-Brexit replacement, the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), give cardholders access to medically necessary, state-provided healthcare when visiting an EU country or Switzerland.

Medically necessary care includes things such as:

  • emergency treatment and visits to A&E
  • treatment for a long-term or pre-existing medical condition
  • routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need to be monitored
  • regular maternity care, as long as you do not go abroad to give birth
  • oxygen therapy and renal dialysis

However, this does not cover you for emergency evacuation from the mountain or repatriation.

An emergency evacuation can cost around £10,000, so relying solely on the map when skiing is not recommended.

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