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Insurance Matters

At Marden’s Club we are well aware of the potential risks to which Skiers and Snowboarders may be exposed to when planning their trip and whilst on the slopes. Whether you fall ill or are involved in an accident, it is essential to obtain good Travel Insurance cover.

The specialist Wintersports Insurance providers, MPI Brokers, have been providing Travel Insurance for many years and we have asked their Managing Director, Michael Pettifer, to write a few words. There are also Top Ten General Insurance Tips from Mind The Gap Year at the bottom of this page which you might find informative.

Please note: Marden’s Club is an introducer of MPI Brokers and under government regulations we are not allowed to recommend a policy but may introduce you to MPI.

From Michael Pettifer

I have broken this down into a few key areas for consideration and I must emphasise the importance of always reading the policy wording. There is a misconception that Travel and Wintersports Insurance, like Motor Insurance, has been commoditised. It has not, and there is a world of difference between providers.

Get your Motor Insurance wrong and you could lose your car, get your travel insurance wrong and you could lose your house, especially with the high costs associated with a ski injury and rising with a falling pound. So don’t always go for the cheapest.

Below are a few points to watch out for.

Medical Expenses following illness or injury

If this is sudden and unexpected travel insurance will cover the ancillary costs of local emergency medical expenses and return home costs if necessary. Providers have varying degrees of exclusions relating to medical conditions, which exist prior to buying insurance.

Some insurers make pre-existing medical conditions an exclusion, which means you can still buy the policy and travel with the condition excluded, or you can declare the condition for consideration.

Others make it a requirement that you advise insures of any pre-existing medical conditions usually within certain parameters.

There are specialist polices available if you can’t satisfy the above. However skiers are by and large relatively fit but surprisingly we still get 2 and half in every 100 making a claim for injury which represents the largest proportion of all claims under a Wintersports policy. So watch out for some annual policies especially the ‘free’ ones with banks as they may not cover skiing.

Mountain rescue also comes under this section and many policies are silent on this subject nevertheless they seem to pay out. Make sure it covers the threat of exposure.


With a holiday there are conditions that should you cancel there are penalties to pay. These rise the closer you get to the departure date. Travel Insurance will usually include a clause to cover this should you fall sick or are injured before travelling.

The pre-existing medical conditions explained above also applies to this section.

Check that the sum insured (the maximum pay out) is sufficient.

Personal Liability

All travel insurance covers this. However, there are some exclusions to watch out for:

  • damage to holiday accommodation (most cover this but some don’t). It’s the law in France that you have this cover when renting an apartment.
  • being sued by a travelling companion (a lot of policies exclude this). We suggest you chose one that doesn’t.
  • There is no cover for driving, motorcycling, skidooing, etc.

Off Piste

This is one of my pet subjects as so many polices exclude this, either outright, or you must be with a guide. There is no legal definition of on/off piste so I don’t see how this can be excluded and what about a nice patch of soft snow between 2 pistes, ring up a guide! dream on. Do check this out before buying.

EHIC (European Health Insurance Card)

This was formerly the E111 and pays a proportion of the costs of emergency medical treatment in National Hospitals in the EU. In France for instance it pays 80%. Without it insurance premiums would be double so it is doing its job in aiding travel and tourism.

It’s biggest failing is the word ‘Insurance’ in the name, it is not, it compliments Wintersports and Travel Insurance which covers the whole risk including repatriation, other medical costs, Liability etc.

Carte Neige

So you have your EHIC and Carte Neige what more do I need?

Carte Neige is not travel Insurance it is a sports injures cover as part of a local discount card. The cover is limited; ski injures only, no cover for ‘travelling’ risks, cancelation etc. and you are dealing with an overseas insurance company, so no protection under UK FSA rules.

So buy it for the discounts but always obtain a suitable UK Wintersports Insurance too.

These are the main areas to consider when choosing Wintersports Travel Insurance and there are other parts to a typical policy which would include baggage, delays, legal expenses, Wintersports equipment and so on.

Some other tips

Cars Abroad

If driving your own car, advise your motor insurance company; some charge extra, some just wish to be notified. If you don’t, you may only get Third Party cover (the legal minimum). Check it covers towing a trailer if you are.
Take out a holiday breakdown cover. A normal UK breakdown policy may not cover travelling abroad.
If you are hiring a car consider taking out collision damage waiver in UK it’s usually cheaper than the car hire company.
Please call MPI Brokers on 01428 664265 for more information.

Travel Provider Failure – Booking direct

If you book any part of your trip direct, e.g. a flight, you have no come back if the provider goes bust.
Research shows that 60% of the public are under the impression that travel insurance provides this cover under the cancelation section. As described above cancelation is if you cancel. If your trip is cancelled due to the failure of a provider that is a different matter and it is advisable to seek a policy that covers this eventuality.
MPI Brokers have been arranging Travel Insurance policies to suit the needs of the traveller for over 30 years, providing a range of products covering Travel, Ski, (annual and single trips) and longer stays.

Mind The Gap Year is a tailor made combination of insurance and services for the Gap Year traveller. It promotes how to stay safe on your Gap Year, how to prepare and obtain specialist Gap Year Travel Insurance. Cover can be upgraded to include a specialist ski insurance too.

Top Ten Tips – plus One! on Gap Year & Backpacker Insurance Provided by Mind the Gap Year

Tip 1 Emergency Medical Expenses covers Emergency treatment and to get you home if necessary. Make sure you have this cover, if nothing else.

Tip 2 If you have a medical condition(s) do tell the Insurance Company, they may decline any claim if you don’t.

Tip 3 Check the amount insured for Cancellation is enough, some Gap Year trips can cost a lot more than the cover provides.

Tip 4 Check you have cover for an Airline going bust and if the Foreign Commonwealth Office warn travellers to not go to a country.

Tip 5 Get a policy that provides Personal Liability cover, just in case you accidentally harm someone or something and make sure it does not exclude a harming a travelling companion under the Personal liability section and also that it does cover trip accommodation.

Tip 6 Get Gap Year insurance that covers working/volunteering and watch the small print as some will cover working but not if being paid, and some cover work but exclude many types of job.

Tip 7 Pick the highest grouping of the sports or activity you think you might do or choice a Gap Year Policy that covers all unplanned sports and activities.

Tip 8 Check how much kit you’ve got, and then check the cover provided under personal effects, many items can be excluded especially electrical items e.g. laptops, camera’s etc.

Tip 9 Buy Gap Year and Backpacker Insurance when you book your flight/trip so you are immediately covered if you have to cancel due to illness.

Tip 10 Take two copies of your insurance documents. Leave one at home, take one with you and maybe scan into an internet document safe.

Tip Plus one! For parents A family annual multi-trip policy is for short trips, usually holidays and under 31 days any one time, children have to be under 18 and many have travel restrictions.

Click here for an expanded Top Ten tips Plus One.