MIDWEEK MONEY: A nice winter break

Ways to hurt yourself on snowy mountainsides are growing. Make sure you're insured, says Nic Cicutti
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The Independent Culture
BEWARE SEARCHING for that extra "high" on a ski slope this winter. It could cost you dear - especially if you are not covered against accidents.

The warning, from the travel insurance specialists Options, follows research by the company showing that half its accident claims last year were not related to skiing.

Andrew Blowers, the firm's managing director, says: "Our claims rose 15 per cent, largely because of the growing popularity of snow-boarding and also the particularly hazardous sport of luging, where you sledge downhill with little or no control."

Many of the claims faced by Options were linked to broken ankles suffered when snow-boarding, or arms and legs broken while luging.

Among those making the claims were many otherwise experienced skiers who were hoping to add a new dimension to their skills.

Mr Blowers says that it is not just those new to winter holidays who are vulnerable to injury on the slopes: "Experienced skiers are becoming over-confident and hurting themselves when they try these potentially dangerous new pursuits," he explains.

If you think you may be trying out these sports, check your insurance as a matter of urgency. While many travel insurance policies will cover ski-related accidents, some, particularly annual travel policies, may not.

Options policies for a single person cost pounds 21.60 for 10 days' skiing in Europe or pounds 50.60 world-wide. Snow-boarding, off-piste skiing and snow- mobile use are included within the policies at normal rates. Luging is also covered, provided it is not the main purpose of the trip.

Options can be contacted on

0800 9171091