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With the snow falling and the winter season approaching fast one question that should be on all of our minds is: 'Are you covered'? I'm referring to winter sports travel insurance of course.
Now there will be some of us covered by our banks, others will have year round policies and of course there are always those who will be booking theirs online the night before the flight. First of all everyone who goes skiing or snowboarding needs winter sports cover on their travel insurance and second of all we need to know for what we are covered.
Over the next few months there will be articles in the papers, on the news and in travel blogs about accidents in the Alps, and those where people don't have the appropriate cover are always the ones to make the headlines. Now, of course there are accidents that are unforeseeable, and often where blame is a very grey area. With mother nature involved we participate in an unpredictable environment that needs to be respected.
In years gone by I have used specialist action sports travel insurance, I've used the company recommended on Iglu extras and I've used my bank, luckily to minimal use. I've also had friends forget to take out a policy or forget to add their winter sports cover thinking they can get away with it and ending up with hefty medical bills and only a credit card to pay for it with no chance of ever seeing that money again.
At the moment there is a story in the press about a group of skiers who are thought to have caused an avalanche in the Swiss resorts of Anzère. The people in question are facing a possible court case that could result in charges, fines and having to pay the costs of the rescue operation deemed to be around 100,000 CHF (£64,000). Though it is a contentious issue to whether they are at fault this does highlight another side of winter sports insurance. Not only do you need to understand the cover for your own injuries, lost, stolen or damaged property etc you also need to understand the level of cover if you cause an accident.
Now I don't pretend to be an expert and the intricacies of law and insurance are outside of my knowledge base but there are definitely certain aspects of each insurance plan you should check. Again this is personal preference, whether it be level of cover or cost. Not everyone needs the highest level of off-piste insurance and not all of us will be upside down in the snow parks.
These are recommendations of what to look for and not what you as an individual should purchase.
What Cover Do I Need?
There are various parts to travel insurance, that when taking a ski holiday, are overlooked. There are the usual suspects that need to be covered; medical cover, repatriation, delays, cancellations, luggage, theft, damage etc.
When it comes to Winter Sports cover there are a few more aspects that need to be considered:
So take a look at the various types of policy available and though we live in a price conscious world, you may find the cover you want or need is only a little bit more than the cheapest options. How much would you pay for piece of mind?
For those of us who are feeling the pinch this winter but can’t do without our annual snow fix here are some hot tips for skiing on a shoe string, with prices (including flights) from just £223 per person!
Self-catered apartments are a good value option if you have the discipline to plan and prepare your meals in advance – if you end up eating out every meal time it is a false economy and you would be better off in a chalet:
La Plagne 22nd January 2011, £223 per person for 7 sharing or £335 for 4 sharing. Includes: flights, transfers, self catering accommodation
2. Try something new
Skiing in the Three Valleys is great but it does come at a premium and there are many other great ski areas out there that are not so hard on the wallet:
Arinsal 16th January 2011, £386 per person Aparthotel Crest. Includes: flights, transfers, hotel accommodation, breakfast and dinner.
3. Get away for Christmas
Christmas is an expensive time of year; pre-Christmas drinks and parties, presents, Christmas day itself – whether you are driving hundreds of miles to visit family or hosting lunch yourself – it all adds up. Escape from it all and enjoy a white Christmas:
Soldeu 19th December 2010, £426 per person Xalet Casale. Includes: flights, transfers, chalet accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meals with wine.
4. Short breaks
This year due to the fact the Christmas Day is on a Saturday the departure dates around Christmas and New Year have been altered and there are a lot of great value short breaks in the first week of January – not only is your holiday cheaper but your lift pass/ski hire costs will also be reduced. You will just need to make sure you make the most of your available time on the mountain (or a least give yourself an extra day to recover when you get home):
Les Deux Alpes 3rd January 2011, £441 per person + 2 for 1 lift passes. Chalet Chartreuse, 5 nights, includes: flights, transfers, chalet accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meals with wine.
5. Catered Chalets
A chalet holiday offers fantastic value as your meals and wine are included, if you speak to the right people (such as Igluski.com who work with all the ski operators and therefore have a great overview of the market and current deals) you can find yourself a bargain. This season there is already some great early snow, so you can be the envy of your mates with a cheeky pre-Christmas trip:
Alpe d'Huez 12th December 2010, £425 per person Chalet Hotel L'Escapade. Includes: flights, transfers, chalet accommodation, breakfast, afternoon tea and evening meals with wine.
Full index of the cheapest ski holidays available.
Did you know...?
Many people don’t realise that we are a travel agent and when you come to our site you see the prices and availability of chalets, hotels and apartments from all the major tour operators and many small operators (we work with over 40 ski tour operators). We are saving you a lot of time and effort by bringing all this information together, as well as getting some great prices and exclusive offers from our suppliers.
What many people also don’t realise is that many of the big ski brands are part of the same organisation. Iglu is an independent agent so we don’t have any affiliation to any of the tour operators, our goal is to offer the best choice and prices for our customers.
Earlier this summer quite a major event happened in the ski industry, the Enigma Travel Group was sold to Hotelplan UK. Now this will not mean anything or sound very exciting to most people, but it has created the second largest ski tour operator group bringing together the brands of Inghams, Ski Total and Ski Esprit, and putting the Hotelplan UK group not far behind TUI Ski in size.
Is bigger better? In a tough economic climate if savings can be made through economies of scale and passed on to the consumer then everyone is winning, and it creates some healthy competition for the market leaders which is never a bad thing.
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