Ski Travel Insurance Beginners Guide

by Simon Naylor | Updated: October 27th, 2022 |  Skiing Articles

While you might pride yourself in being an expert-level skier, accidents don't care about the amount of experience you have on the slopes. No matter how long you've been skiing, there is always a chance of getting hurt, damaging your equipment, or losing money on prepaid tickets.

If you are planning a ski trip, you may consider paying for ski travel insurance. It has features similar to other travel insurance plans, but covers costs that are unique to a ski vacation. Buying ski travel insurance could save you a lot of money if there are any unforeseen problems on your trip.

skiers accident

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What is Ski Travel Insurance?

Ski travel insurance covers snow sports like skiing and snowboarding in case of an accident or mishap. Unlike regular travel insurance, ski insurance covers your ski gear in the case that it gets lost or stolen. It can also include travel-related problems like delayed or canceled flights or lost luggage. Most importantly, ski travel insurance covers your health in case of an injury caused by a skiing accident or travel-related illness.

Why Do You Want It?

It is reported that around 600,000 people are injured in ski or snowboard activities in the US each year. You don't have to be taking black diamonds and skiing off cliffs to get hurt. In fact, the most common accident is a 37-year-old male skier that runs into a tree or another skier on a groomed slope.

Even though many of these are minor, any amount of medical attention will cost money. While your health insurance should cover you if you get into an accident within your own country, that won't always help you if you are skiing abroad.

Most of the time, you will only get compensated for medical emergencies abroad if you pay a little extra for travel insurance. Often this includes emergency flights back into your country of origin so you can get treated closer to home.

Ski travel insurance goes a step further than the average travel insurance by covering ski-related mishaps as well as covering other winter sports. By being insured when you ski abroad, you can have the peace of mind that if anything goes wrong with your trip, you could be compensated.

What Does Ski Travel Insurance Cover?


Generally, all of your equipment is covered by ski insurance. That includes your skis, poles, boots, bindings, and helmet. Even if you are planning on renting ski gear at the resort, it is usually covered as well, so you won't have to pay any hefty damage or replacement fees in case of an accident.

Your equipment is also covered if it is stolen or lost as long as the theft is reported to the police.

Ski Passes

Most resorts won't refund tickets once you pay for them. If you buy them at the counter five minutes before you get on the lift, it's not likely you'll even want to refund them. However, many resorts offer discounts if you buy several days' worth of lift tickets at once. The problem with buying the tickets days in advance is that while you are saving money, you are also taking the chance that you won't get a refund if for some reason you can't ski.

For example, if you get sick or injured after day one of skiing, you might have to eat your tickets for days two and three. Or if you bought your tickets online and your flight gets canceled or delayed so that you miss your first day of skiing, generally you lose the money you spent on those tickets.

Pro Tip: To find cheap flights to ski resorts, we use Skyscanner, which searches all airlines in one go.

If you buy ski travel insurance, it will most likely cover the price of your tickets in the event that an unforeseen emergency prevents you from skiing one or all days. So you can go ahead and buy those discounted tickets ahead of time or pay for the three-day ski pass without the worry of something happening that prevents you from skiing.

Another instance in which ski insurance will cover your ski pass is if it is lost or stolen. Once you buy your ski pass, it is your responsibility to keep it safe. Most resorts will tell you upfront that they are not responsible for lost or stolen ski tickets. Thankfully companies that provide ski travel insurance will pay you back for the remaining value of your ski pass so you won't have to pay for a second ticket.

Back Country Skiing Protection

If you like to venture off the groomed trails and explore the slopes less skied, you won't have to worry about ski insurance not covering you as long as the area is not deemed unsafe by the ski resort. That means you will be covered for injury and gear damage where you most need the protection.

Package Deals

In the long run, it will save you a lot of money to buy a package deal and pay for ski-school, ski rentals, and a lift ticket all at once. Unfortunately, that means losing a lot of money all at once as well if you are sick or injured.

Thankfully, ski travel insurance covers package deals and will pay for anything that cannot be refunded.

Other Winter Sports

Many insurance companies put ski travel insurance into the same category as winter sports travel insurance. So while you're mainly paying for protection while skiing on your vacation, you can try out other fun winter sports while you're there without the worry of not being protected by your insurance. Other winter sports covered by many insurance companies include:

  • Cross country skiing
  • Snowboarding
  • Off-piste skiing/snowboarding
  • Freestyle skiing
  • Cat skiing
  • Heli-skiing
  • Mono skiing
  • Recreational ski racing
  • Ski acrobatics
  • Ski bob racing
  • Ski stunting
  • Ski touring
  • Bobsleighing
  • Glacier walking
  • Supervise ice climbing
  • Ice fishing
  • Ice hockey
  • Ice Skating
  • Snowmobiling
  • Tobogganing

Before you head out into the snow, make sure you fully understand your policy as coverage varies between insurance companies.

What Does It Not Cover?

Knowing ahead of time what your ski insurance won't cover is just as important to understand as what it will cover. If a scenario could have been easily avoided, ski travel insurance typically won't cover it.

For example, if you decide not to lock up your backpack and extra gear in a locker and leave it vulnerable to the public, your insurance company probably won't cover the costs of anything that was stolen.

Also, if anything is stolen despite your best efforts to keep it safe, you must report it to the police within 24 hours. Failing to do so could mean your belongings are not covered.

The same goes for if you take unnecessary risks while skiing. If you choose to go past blocked off areas of the ski resort considered dangerous and prohibited and you get hurt, again,  your insurance will not cover those medical costs.

Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol while skiing is also an unnecessary and dangerous risk that could cause your insurance company to deny your claim.

Again, do your research to understand how you are covered on a ski trip by your insurance. Then make sure you are doing everything in your power to prevent having to make a claim, especially if your policy does not cover that claim.

Cost of Ski Travel Insurance

The price of ski travel insurance is different for everyone, and it will depend on a variety of factors that your final cost ends up being. The following circumstances will affect how much you pay into ski travel insurance:

Your Age

Ski travel insurance and other travel insurance policies have this in common. The older you are, the more you will have to pay to be covered. Yes, it isn't fair, but insurance companies deem you more of a liability the older you are. The risk of falling and getting hurt increases with age, as does the chance that you have a pre-existing medical condition.

Your Health

If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or previous injuries that could easily be reinjured, make sure your insurance company knows before you pay for the policy. You might have to pay more upfront for insurance when you disclose this information. In the long run, however, it could protect you if you need to make a claim later. Not being upfront about pre-existing conditions might mean that they are more likely to deny your request.

The Country to Which You Are Traveling

The cost of healthcare is not international. It changes from country to country. Therefore, if you are traveling to the United States or Canada, travel insurance will be more expensive because healthcare in these countries generally costs more. On the other hand, traveling to certain European or South American countries for skiing will cost you much less in travel ski insurance. Again, that is because those countries have much more affordable healthcare, to begin with.

The Size of Your Family

Bundling insurance with other members of your family could save you quite a bit per person. The more people you have under a specific policy, the bigger discounts you will get in many cases. If you travel on your own, you can count on paying a bit more.

Length of Policy

Ski travel insurance allows you to pay only during your ski holiday, and the payment and coverage end when you return home. This route is your best option if you are only planning on taking one ski trip in the year.

In other cases, some families take multiple trips per year. For them, it would be cheaper to choose an annual plan.

Because there are so many variables that go into the price of travel insurance, we will give just a couple of examples so you can estimate how much you are going to pay for ski travel insurance.

On average, you can expect to pay between $40 and $70 to be covered for one week. For a family of four, the price ranges from $165 to $350 for a week.

It may be more economical for your family to pay for annual ski travel insurance if you plan on taking several ski trips over the course of the year.

Other Coverage You Might Need

Having basic health insurance is always a good idea, especially if you are spending time skiing or doing other winter sports. That way, even if you are skiing locally, you will be covered by medical insurance in case of any accidents. Don't think that you only need to be protected abroad. You can just as easily get injured skiing in your back yard. Make sure you're protected.

You might also want to consider getting a regular traveler's insurance if you are skiing abroad. Not all skiing travel policies cover things like hotel stays because of canceled or late flights, or loss of luggage. Traveler's insurance will also cover you if you get sick or injured outside the ski resort and need medical attention.

Best Rated Ski Travel Insurance Companies

It is hard to know where to begin when you shop for ski travel insurance. These highly rated companies are an excellent place to start. They will offer you free quotes after you answer a few simple questions about your health, age, and ski trip plans.

Is It Really Worth It?

Ski travel insurance is only worth it if you pay for the right policy. Don't take the first policy you can afford. Instead, take time to research all the ins and outs of your policy. All insurance companies offer varying plans, so make sure you're covered for things like trip cancellations, medical emergencies, equipment that is lost, stolen, or damaged, and prepaid non-refundable ski passes.

Ski vacations should be remembered for the fun you had on the slopes deep within nature. Don't let an accident or unforeseen problem add stress and cost to your trip. By paying ahead of time for ski travel insurance, you can ski free from worry and stress.