Ski vacations: why take out insurance?

Winter sports bring their share of thrills, but also risks. So taking out ski insurance is often a more prudent option in the face of hazards.

Have you ever thought of taking out travel insurance when you book your trip? We often think that it’s superfluous and that it could be covered by our existing insurance policies. However, these are often subject to details or conditions that we don’t know about, and which ultimately prevent us from accessing them.

So why make an exception for your ski holiday? Find out more about the benefits of taking out ski insurance and why.

Ski vacations: a risky business


Photo credit: Shutterstock – Pressmaster

Ski vacations are often synonymous with pleasure, joy, leisure and happy memories. However, we often forget that skiing and other snow sports can be dangerous, whether you’re an expert or a beginner.

As a result, many people are injured every year. Most of these are falls, but it’s important to remember that accidents are not just physical. For example, you could break or damage your equipment, whether rented or not. A skid on a barely covered rock and you’re left with three skis instead of two!

With slippery roads and the repeated passing of loaded cars and buses, road accidents are a common occurrence in the mountains. They can even cause lengthy traffic jams, which are a real headache…

Finally, your rental accommodation may hold a few nasty surprises in store for you… Scams are on the increase these days, as demand is high while supply is not so much. Or you may be lured by the promise of beautiful spaces, only to end up living in a mousehole…

The examples are numerous and as varied as there are snowflakes. In other words, an infinite number. That’s the advantage of taking out ski insurance: it protects you, your family and your friends.

How to protect yourself against risks?

assurance ski

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Mizkit

The best way to prevent accidents on vacation is to be cautious. Otherwise, for everything else, there’s the option of travel insurance. Travel insurance gives you peace of mind, whether you’re on a skiing vacation or in the sun, for that matter!

Insurance is useful because it protects you and your loved ones, but it also protects everyone else involved in your trip.

A good ski insurance policy can protect you in the event of a collision with another skier, if your rental equipment is stolen or damaged, or even insure your accommodation. But above all, depending on the package, ski insurance also covers assistance and repatriation in the event of a serious accident or search (up to €1,500 per half-hour of search time…). This coverage is highly recommended, as the costs you’ll have to pay afterwards are usually quite considerable. Snow insurance can cover some of these costs.

A collision and the other person runs away or is not insured?

The Fonds de Garantie des Assurances Obligatoires (FGAO) compensates people injured on the slopes by unidentified or uninsured third parties. The FGAO has a broad remit. It assumes responsibility for victims who are not at fault, and who have not received compensation of any kind.

Beware of off-piste skiing

If you’re going off-piste, you’d better watch out. Not only are you putting yourself in danger, but you’re also running enormous risks, sometimes in a group. These risks may be excluded from insurance coverage. So be careful, and find out about the terms and conditions of your insurance.

How to take out ski insurance

assurance ski

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Travis Wolfe

Obviously, this article is not aimed at those who know all about their insurance and know each and every one of its terms and conditions by heart. Such people are rare, as we all know. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check the terms and conditions of your insurance policy before setting off on vacation.

Check if you’re already covered

Some compulsory insurance policies can cover certain risks associated with a ski vacation. For example, there’s compulsory third-party liability insurance (RCO). This won’t cover you in the event of a collision-type accident, but it will look into any material or physical damage you may cause. Multi-risk home insurance generally covers you and your children, if you have any. But the good thing to know is that some have the option of guaranteeing your rental against damage or theft.

If you pay for your holiday with your bank card, this can also be beneficial. Depending on the contract linked to your card, there may be insurance associated with your trip. This may cover repatriation costs (often very high), loss or theft of luggage, or compensation if your accommodation or equipment is damaged. The key is to incur these costs with the same credit card.

Then, among the insurances that are not compulsory, but recommended: Garantie des Accidents de la Vie (GAV) or individual insurance. These insurances are able to cover any damage you may suffer, as long as the offer you take out includes winter sports… So be sure to check. Finally, it’s also important to have a health insurance plan. A large number of them cover certain hospitalization costs, again depending on the plan you take out. Their scope varies.

When should you take out insurance?

You can take out ski insurance at any time of the year, or when you buy a lift pass directly from the resort. Of course, you can also contact your insurer and ask for a quote. Depending on your preferences, you can take out a contract for a year, a week or even a day.

Not all insurances offer this type of package, so check beforehand. In any case, cover and prices vary from one insurance policy to another, but generally speaking, prices do not exceed €30 per person per week for a « basic » service.

Choosing the right insurance

Although ski insurance is not compulsory, it is highly recommended. Depending on your activities, one type of insurance may be better than another. You may even find that you don’t need full protection, or just the opposite. Accidents can happen so quickly that we still advise you to opt for comprehensive coverage.

Whether you’re constantly cautious, or regularly practice extreme sports or off-piste activities, the recommendation remains the same. The different levels of cover offered by insurance companies will cover you according to your needs and those of those around you. So be sure to read the terms and conditions carefully, and find out what is included and excluded from your policy. If in doubt, your insurer will be the best person to talk to.

Having said that, don’t forget to enjoy yourself, get a bit of altitude and breathe in the fresh mountain air! After all, you’ve got to make the most of your skiing vacation, don’t you?