Ski travel insurance – your top questions answered

Find out what the top ski insurers in Australia cover

Ski travel insurance – your top questions answered

Insurance News

By Mark Rosanes

Downhill skiers account for 75% of Australians participating in snow and ice sports, according to data gathered by Sports Medicine Australia (SMA) – the country’s peak national umbrella body for sports medicine and sports science. The figure consists of skiers in varying age groups in skill levels.

Although taken from 2004 statistics – the last time the Exercise, Recreation, and Sports Survey (ERASS) was conducted for the sport – the percentage represents the popularity of downhill skiing among Australia’s snow sports-loving population.

During the period, injury rates for all types of skiing were estimated to be between 1.5 and 3.9 injuries per 1,000 visitor days. Also referred to as skier day, a visitor day indicates “one person purchasing a lift ticket for one day’s skiing or snowboarding,” according to the industry non-profit Australian Ski Areas Association (ASAA).

According to the survey, of all hospital admissions where the skiing type was recorded, 81% were downhill skiers. More than half, or 56%, of those injured were male, and over two-thirds (67%) were between the ages of 10 and 39.

“Evidence indicates that skiers with lower skill levels and less experience are more at risk of injury,” the SMA noted.

Falls were the top cause of injuries at 73%, with collisions with either an object or another person a distant second at 18%. Almost one-third (32%) of injuries were to the knee and lower leg, with fractures (61%), and sprains and dislocations (14%) forming the most common injury types.

“Downhill skiing is a physically demanding sport that requires strength, flexibility, endurance, fitness, good anticipation, and reflexes,” the association added. “The skier, their equipment, and the environment all play a role in both the occurrence and prevention of injury.”

And with ski resorts across the country and overseas expecting a surge of visitors with the lifting of quarantine restrictions, industry experts recommend that snow sports enthusiasts take out ski travel insurance as protection.

What is ski travel insurance?

As the name suggests, ski travel insurance – also called ski insurance – is a type of policy designed for ski trips. Some insurers offer coverage under a snow travel or winter sports plan, which also covers other forms of outdoor winter activities, including snowboarding, luge, and snowmobiling. Ski or snow insurance is not typically included in a standard travel insurance policy but can be purchased as an add-on.

What does ski travel insurance cover?

What a ski insurance plan covers differs between insurance providers, but ideally, skiers should look for a policy that offers coverage for:

  • Medical treatment: A policy should pay out the cost of medical and hospital care in case of injuries.
  • Ski equipment: Ski travel insurance should cover equipment and gear if these are lost, damaged, or stolen during the trip.
  • Trip cancellation: A good plan covers non-refundable deposits in the event the ski trip does not push through.
  • Unused equipment and passes: Ski insurance should provide reimbursements for rented equipment, pre-paid ski lessons, or lift passes left unused due to an injury or illness, and in the case of passes, if these were lost or stolen.
  • Resort closure: A policy should cover the costs incurred if the skier was forced to switch resorts or cancel the trip because the ski field closed due to bad weather or an avalanche.
  • Personal liability: Ski travel insurance should provide coverage for damages and injuries the policyholder has caused others.
  • COVID-19: As the world is still in a pandemic, it would be best to choose a policy that covers certain coronavirus-related events, including infection, quarantine, and cancellation.

Read more: Revealed – what the best travel insurance providers in Australia cover

What is excluded from a ski insurance policy?

Not everything that involves skiing, however, is covered under a ski insurance policy. Among the typical exclusions are:

  • Travelling out-of-season
  • Skiing outside the boundaries of the resort
  • Skiing under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs
  • COVID-19 lockdowns or border closures

Some ski travel insurance companies may also require claimants to obtain written confirmation from an appropriate authority confirming that a resort has been closed due to bad weather or an avalanche. Most travel insurers also do not provide coverage for extremely high-risk winter activities such as bobsleighing, snow rafting, parapenting, and ski acrobatics.

Who are eligible for a ski insurance policy?

Most insurers only provide ski coverage for people under 65 because of the increased risk the sport poses to seniors, although some specialists may offer protection for senior-aged skiers.

But regardless of age, travellers must purchase a ski travel policy before their actual trip, which should begin and end in Australia.

Does ski travel insurance cover other types of skiing?

Most insurers provide coverage for recreational skiing. Other forms of skiing, however, are rarely covered, which include the following:

  • Off-piste skiing: This refers to skiing in the backcountry or on unmarked trails.
  • Cross-country skiing: This refers to going around the ski fields without the assistance of chair lifts or other forms of transportation.
  • Professional skiing: Although not often covered, some insurance companies specialise in providing coverage for professional skiers.

How much does ski insurance cost?

The price of ski travel insurance premiums varies, depending on a range of factors, including:

The skier’s age: Typically, older skiers or those who have reached senior age, pay more for coverage because of the level of risk they are exposed to.

The ski destination: Some locations, including the US, have exorbitant medical costs, which drive up premiums.

The length of the trip: The longer the coverage is required, the higher the cost of insurance.

Level of cover: Premium prices are also higher for those who have taken additional coverage like those for high-value equipment and gear.

The excess: Choosing a higher excess typically reduces ski insurance costs, but policyholders are advised to keep the amount at a level that they can afford to pay.

Which insurers in Australia offer ski travel coverage?

Most travel insurance companies in the country offer coverage for ski holidays. Some specialise in providing protection for skiing and other snow activities. Here’s what some of the country’s top ski insurance providers in Australia offer in terms of coverage:


Key coverages

1Cover Ski & Snowboarding Travel Insurance (Comprehensive)

  • Unlimited medical expenses coverage
  • Unlimited cancellation cover
  • Up to $15,000 luggage and personal effects coverage
  • Coverage for other types of winter sport
  • Up to $5 million personal liability coverage
  • Bad weather and piste closure coverage

Budget Direct Ski Travel Insurance

  • Unlimited overseas medical and hospital expenses coverage
  • Up to $1,250 ski equipment coverage
  • Up to $600 coverage for unused ski tuition fees, lift pass, and equipment hire
  • Up to $5 million personal liability coverage

Columbus Direct Ski Travel Insurance

  • Comprehensive standard travel insurance, including all the benefits of a single-trip policy
  • Cover for skis and winter sports equipment against loss, theft, or damage, even hired kit
  • Covers unused ski pass or pre-booked ski lessons due to an accident or illness
  • Cover for piste closure due to weather conditions or lack of snow
  • Reimbursement for any delays caused by an avalanche
  • Pre-existing medical cover available

Fastcover Snow Sports Plus

  • Unlimited overseas emergency medical and hospital expenses coverage
  • Unlimited trip cancellation expenses coverage
  • Up to $5 million personal liability coverage
  • Up to $15,000 luggage and personal effects coverage
  • Up to $1,500 snow sport equipment coverage
  • Unlimited COVID-19 overseas emergency medical, hospital, and medical evacuation expenses coverage
  • Up to $5,000 COVID-19 trip cancellation and disruption coverage

InsureandGo Winter Sports Travel Insurance

  • Unlimited overseas medical expenses coverage
  • Up to $1,250 coverage for winter sports equipment damage
  • Covers medical evacuation from ski slopes
  • Covers 14 types of winter sports activities
  • Up to $600 coverage for pre-booked ski packs and $500 for lift passes
  • 24-hour emergency assistance

Medibank Ski & Snow Travel Insurance

  • Unlimited overseas medical expenses, including medical evacuation
  • Up to $15,000 coverage for lost, stolen or damaged luggage and personal items
  • 15% off for Medibank health members

Ski-Insurance Ski Plus (International)

  • Unlimited medical expenses coverage
  • Unlimited medical rescue coverage
  • Up to $5,000 luggage and personal effects coverage
  • Unlimited cancellation fees and lost deposit coverage
  • Up to $5 million personal liability coverage
  • Bad weather and avalanche closure coverage

Travel Insurance Direct Skiing and Snowboarding Insurance (The Works Plan)

  • Unlimited overseas medical expenses coverage
  • Unlimited medical evacuation and repatriation costs coverage
  • Chosen limit for cancellation or holiday deferment costs coverage
  • Up to $12,000 luggage and personal effects coverage
  • Up to $2.5 million personal liability coverage
  • Up to $2,500 coronavirus travel costs coverage

Virgin Money Snow Pack

  • Up to $100,000 emergency rescue coverage
  • Up to $2,000 own snow sport equipment coverage
  • Up to $1,000 piste closure coverage
  • Up to $1,000 bad weather and avalanche closure coverage
  • Up to $15,000 repatriation expenses coverage

World Nomads Ski & Winter Sports Travel Insurance (Explorer Plan)

  • Unlimited overseas emergency medical coverage
  • Unlimited emergency medical transport coverage
  • Up to $10,000 coverage lost and damaged tech and gear
  • Unlimited trip cancellation coverage

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