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.
Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
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