Do You Know What You’re Getting Into With Your Winter Sports Insurance?

Is snowboard insurance just one of those things that you tick off your list each year when you go away? You’re not sure that you really need it but without thinking about why – you feel better once you’ve got it. It’s probably that way for most people. Holiday insurance, in general, is one of those things that people feel the ought to have…

Does snowboard insurance require additional thought?

The obvious thing with snowboarding is that there’s an increased chance of injury. That translates to an increased chance of paying some kind of medical bill. The last time you were away – how many stretchers did you see on the mountain? It’s a lot.

In Breckenridge this year my friend broke her arm (humerus) on the hill. She was taken down on a tray, had it x-rayed, was given some pills, then given a prescription for some more pills, lost 10 days on her pass, had to book an extra seat on the return flight… you get the picture. It was expensive!

Luckily, her insurance covered it.

But here’s the thing – you’re insurance won’t necessarily cover you when you have an accident on the mountain. Sometimes it depends on where you are, what you’re doing or who you’re with.

What to look for in winter sports cover?

  • Freestyle snowboarding
  • Riding off-piste (and backcountry)

These are two areas that you really need to consider. If you ride in the park or you like to go in search of fresh snow, be sure to check the policy wording of any insurance before you buy it. It’s often the case that the snowboard park isn’t covered by standard winter insurance; off-piste snowboarding may also be omitted – or it may depend on you being accompanied by a qualified guide.

If you ride terrain other than the standard piste – you need to know what you’re getting into with your insurance. The last thing you want is an expensive bill, on top of missing days on the mountain, only to find that your insurance doesn’t cover you!

Who wants to read the policy wording?

It’s true that sifting through policy isn’t fun. But there are companies out there that try to make this process more simple, more transparent.

As an example, I was pointed at ERV’s Winter Sports Insurance recently. They’re based in the UK and they seem to do a decent job of breaking down the options available. Clearly.

They have:

  • Rookie cover
  • Adventurer cover
  • Pro winter cover

“Rookie” is aimed at slope users who stick to the piste, to the groomed runs. Step up to “Adventurer” if you want to ride off-piste. And here they make the distinction between riding off-piste with a professional guide. If you’re shredding in the park or you want cover for riding off-piste without a guide – you need the “pro” winter cover.

They have some general advice on their site too. It’s fairly basic, but if you’re just starting to move away from riding on the piste only – it’s useful. I’d still want to check the policy wording. Make sure their aren’t any clauses in there relating to use of specific equipment, helmets, transceivers, etc. But as a starting point – clearly defining the boundaries between one package and the next is really helpful.

Final word. If you’re snowboarding in the park or away from the piste – take a bit of extra time to check what the policy offers. You don’t want this to be a costly mistake!

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Comments
2 Responses to “Do You Know What You’re Getting Into With Your Winter Sports Insurance?”
  1. Andy says:

    Nice article, one thing that catches a lot of people out with the insurance is the difference between off piste and out of bounds. Many companies say they cover off piste but you will need to be withing the bounds of the piste security otherwise you will not be covered son definitely no back country!!

  2. Gavin says:

    Hey Andy – that’s a great point. I’ve mentioned this them in a couple of other posts, like this one:
    http://www.afterbang.co.uk/blog/2011/02/23/feel-safe-shredding-deep-powder-in-canada/

    My experience is that in places like Canda, out-of-bounds is more clearly marked. That is, it’s easy to tell if you’re off the piste/trail, but still within the bounds of piste security. It seems more “grey” in Europe.

    If you’re not sure – find out before you take risks! Get a guide, do a course, ask the patrol…

    Cheers!
    Gavin