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Date: 10/03/2011

A third of UK skiers risk huge medical fees

With many skiers heading to the slopes at this time of year, the number of holidaymakers opting not to take out winter sports travel insurance is alarmingly high. According to figures released by the Foreign Office at the end of 2010, 31% of skiers and others enjoying winter activities are travelling with no cover.

Despite the EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) providing a basic level of cover for those travelling in Europe, the card does not replace annual multi trip travel insurance as only basic treatment will be provided and very often at a cost, albeit reduced.

However, those skiers choosing to go further afield for their pleasures and trying to cut costs by not including winter sports travel insurance in their package are leaving themselves open to hefty medical bills should the worst happen.

As well as the costs of hospital treatment, including medication, the fees for a helicopter ambulance and repatriation have to be added, adding up to a bill running into thousands of pounds.

The Foreign Office have released costs for actual claims made and the total sums involved are staggering. The cost for treating a spinal fracture in Argentina amounted to a whopping £23,000 whilst the fees for a broken leg, relatively a minor injury and simple to treat, came to a monumental £28,000 when sustained by a skier in Canada.

Fees for injuries incurred in Europe were somewhat lower with a broken leg in Andorra costing £6500 and a fractured spine in France around £6400. However, when these sums of money have to be funded from a holidaymaker's own pocket, the decision not to either take out specialist winter sports insurance or ensure there is cover on an existing annual multi trip travel insurance policy can seem somewhat foolhardy.