Don't let your skiing holiday leave you financially crippled
Skiing is expensive, but with attention to detail, costs can be minimised, says Helen Monks
Saturday 15 December 2007
The new ski season gets under way this week, with the first winter holidaymakers digging into their pockets for what is often families' most expensive holiday of the year.
But by choosing the right insurance, getting the timing right and picking their destinations with care, snow enthusiasts can easily keep their spending down.
If you break a limb or some other calamity befalls you on the slopes it could cost you thousands of pounds, and when decent cover can cost as little as 18, there is little reason for skiers and snowboarders to cut corners. Nevertheless, many people still don't bother to insure themselves adequately when they take a winter break.
Research by Esure suggests that of the three million Brits expected to head to the pistes this season, around a quarter will be uninsured.
Many assume the European Health Insurance Card (Ehic) which replaced the old E111 will provide enough cover on European slopes when, in fact, it only covers emergency medical treatment. This can be free or it might just be offered at a reduced cost.
"Most hospitals on the pistes are privately run and if you break your wrist, for example, it might end up costing you as much as 3,000 in Europe," warns Graeme Trudgill of the British Insurance Brokers' Association (www.biba.org.uk).
Also, the Ehic does not cover the cost of getting you to a treatment centre bad news if you have no insurance but need an air ambulance to hospital.
Standard travel insurance policies do not automatically cover snow trips, so you must either buy an add-on winter sports element for your annual standard travel insurance or take out a standalone winter sports policy.
But be warned, these contracts can be riddled with caveats and there are a number of areas you should be clear on before deciding to buy a policy.
Comparison site Moneysupermarket.com suggests your insurance should cover 2m for medical expenses, 1m personal liability and cancellation cover of up to 3,000. The Ski Club of Great Britain, a not-for-profit organisation, warns that liability claims, following accidents on the slopes, have risen sharply and are becoming major sources of litigation so it's well worth checking you're covered.
You should also check out to what level baggage is covered, particularly if you are taking your own skis or expensive clothing. On this point, Trudgill says holidaymakers might be able to get as much as 15 per cent off their premium if their possessions are covered by their home insurance.
Policyholders should also be clear what their provider means when it says you are covered even if you go "off-piste" this can mean only if you are supervised by a qualified instructor, or only if the resort managers have given safety clearance to a specific area.
After last season's problems with snowless slopes across Europe, take extra care to check how you might be recompensed if the snow fails and pistes are closed.
For example, some policies only pay out if all the lifts in your resort were closed for 12 hours, while others insist that this period must be at least 24 hours and then you may only expect a pay out if you have a written statement from the resort management. Also, even if your holiday was ruined by a snow no-show, many policies will base payouts only on the cost of travelling to the nearest resort, which might only amount to a few euros a day, while other providers compensate disappointed travellers on a daily rate for the time they could not ski.
Moneysupermarket advises checking the small print to see whether you are covered for inability to ski due to other reasons, such as accident, sickness or the loss or theft of your ski pass, or following an avalanche.
When it comes to keeping the overall costs of your winter trip down, one of the easiest ways to save money is to time your trip cannily.
For example, the Ski Club of Great Britain (www.skiclub. co.uk) says one week in a hotel in Val d'Isre with Mark Warner over New Year will cost 1,295; one week later it will set you back 748. A month or so later over half term, and it shoots up again to 1,643. Also, booking your trip at the last minute can offer travellers big discounts.
If you are a beginner or going with small children then it may be worth considering a trip to a smaller resort where ski passes will be much less than at the big-ticket destinations. Alternatively, you might save on pass costs by waiting to ski until after lunch or getting half-day passes.
For a budget trip, the Ski Club recommends choosing destinations in Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria and Slovenia. It says Switzerland is not nearly as expensive as many people assume and these days can prove considerably cheaper than France.
Staying in one of the satellite villages rather than in the main resorts will help those on slim budgets. For example, instead of basing yourself in the popular Swiss resort of Verbier, you could look into cheaper accommodation in nearby Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz, Bruson or Nendaz.
Finally, you can save cash on transport from the airport to your destination by spurning expensive private transfers and car hire for buses or trains. Go to the Ski Club website for information on how to get to most of the large European resorts by rail.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Where should I invest my savings?
'Scrap the trap': calls for change grow as banks are told to play fair with loyal savers
Bargain Hunter: Eurostar offers child fares for £1 each way to Paris, Brussels and Lille
Relaxed pensions rules: Guide to what they mean to you
Moment of truth for payday lenders: Watchdog plans to curb cost of short-term loans
- 2 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
iJobs Money & Business
£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...
£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst (Windows, Active Dire...
Day In a Page
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar
A newly refurbished one-bedroom flat in the heart of Mayfair, close to Grosvenor Square