Snow travel insurance

Feeling a bit gnarly and getting ready to hit the slopes? Don't forget to get specific snow travel insurance because most standard travel insurance policies don't cover "extreme sports."

In a nutshell: For all the snow bunnies out there snow travel insurance usually covers skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling but it doesn't cover off piste or cross country skiing unless you pay an extra premium. You will also receive standard travel insurance cover such as medical expenses, cancellation costs and personal luggage.

Why get snow cover?

  • You'll be covered for any major wipe-outs with snow cover insurance! Most policies will cover you for emergency evacuation from the snow fields to the hospital (including helicopter rescue if required).
  • If you need to cancel your trip due to extreme weather like blizzards and snow storms, you will get your money back for any expenses incurred for any prepaid travel.
  • Snow gear is expensive. Imagine having to buy new gear if the airline sends your stuff to bath rather than banff! The loss, theft or breakage of your ski or snowboard equipment is usually covered with snow travel insurance, as well as alternative ski or snow board hire.
  • Most insurance providers will cover you for a unused ski pass, ski/board hire or lessons due to loss, theft or illness.
  • Mother nature. If you're unable to ski in the resort where you booked due to an avalanche or blizzard, the majority of snow travel insurance policies will provide extra cover for travel to an alternative resort and additional lift passes.

Watch out for the buts...

Even though snow travel insurance provides extra cover for the adventurous air dog there are some exclusions to watch out for:

  • If you're racing on the slopes or professionally skiing/boarding you may not be covered.
  • Many snow/sport travel insurance policies exclude heli-skiing or snow boarding, competitive skiing or snow boarding, mountaineering, bob sleighing and cross country skiing.
  • No big benders at the Apres Ski bar! All the snow/sport travel insurance policies we looked at will not cover you if you're under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Backcountry skiers and snow boarders be warned! The majority of snow travel insurance providers state that you must be in the boundary of the ski resort and not off-piste in order to be covered.

Important ski and snow insurance general features

While you’ll want insurance cover for your specialist ski and snowboarding equipment and cover specific to your snow holiday like lift passes and blizzards, be sure that you’re not trading these for other important features. Your policy should include:

  • general medical and dental expenses. You could have specific cover if you’re hurt while on the snow but your policy should also have cover for general medical and dental expenses in case you are injured off snow or need hospitalisation.
  • luggage and personal belongings. Sure, your new Burton snowboard should be protected from damage while in transit but so should your general belongings like your GoPro and your clothing.
  • cancellations. Anything can happen in the lead up to a holiday so it’s always a good idea to get your insurance sorted as soon as you’ve booked your flights or prepaid your accommodation so that if anything should happen you’ll be covered for any non-refundable deposits.
  • delays. Your connecting flight from Paris to Switzerland has been delayed due to a strike. Travel insurance will help you to cover costs for any delays.
  • accidental death or disability. Your snow policy should include cover in the event that you are permanently disabled or die while you are overseas.
  • rental car excess. If you’re going a self-drive ski holiday, many travel insurance policies include rental car excess reduction cover which means that you don’t need to pay for this with the car rental company.

Dos and Don’ts purchasing snow insurance

#1. DON’T wait until the last minute to book your travel insurance. There is no difference in price if you book it 10 months in advance or 10 minutes before your flight. The only difference is that should you need to cancel your skiing holiday or there is a delay out of your control you’ll be covered if you purchase it in advance.

#2. DO shop around for the cheapest snow insurance quote. It may be convenient to get your cover from the travel agent or airline but generally you’ll pay a premium for this. You can get quotes from many insurance companies instantly on Mozo so you don’t even have to visit multiple websites to compare prices.

#3. DON’T conveniently forget to tell the insurance company of any pre-existing conditions. Always be upfront about any medical condition or injury that you are receiving treatment for. You can get cover for many preexisting conditions so it is always better to be upfront and get the right level of cover than find out your claim is rejected after undergoing emergency ankle surgery.

#4. DON’T leave your skis or snowboard unattended. Many insurance policies will not accept claims when items are left unattended.

#5. DO file a police report if your snow equipment is stolen or lost. For your claim to be successful, generally you’ll need to have filed a police report or with the ski resort security detailing what was stolen, when it was stolen, where it was stolen from and the value of the item.

#6. DON’T drink ski. Limit the number of alcoholic drinks you have while on the mountain. Yes, the deck bar at the top of the mountain is an awesome place to sit back and enjoy a drink but if your travel insurance policy will not cover you if you are injured and under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

#7. DO keep copies of all receipts. You’ll need to prove ownership of any items you’re claiming or for upfront costs you’ve incurred so be sure you keep all receipts.

#8. DO file any claims promptly on your return to Australia. You’ll have a limited time to make any claim on your insurance once you are back home so don’t delay in getting your receipts together or other evidence you’ll need to lodge your claim.

Snow Insurance FAQs

Can I get family snow cover?

Yes, kids are usually covered for free with Winter sports cover but you need to have them listed on the policy.

Can I get excess reduction cover for my ski or snowboard hire?

Yes, if you want to reduce the excess you can purchase excess reduction cover at an additional premium. It generally doesn’t come as part of a standard snow policy.

Can I get covered for Heliskiing?

Yes, you can get cover for this but you’ll generally need to purchase extra cover for heliskiing. Also you will likely have to pay a higher excess. There will be exclusions so be sure you read the insurance PDS before hitching that helicopter ride to the top of the peaks.

Can I ski or snowboard anywhere if I have specialist snow cover?

You will need to be within the ski resort area to be covered. Some policies allow for off piste skiing and snowboarding as long as you are in a patrolled area on groomed runs that is close to the resort or with a professional guide/instructor. If you are injured in an unpatrolled area your insurance will be invalid.

What if I do cross country skiing? Can I get cover?

Yes, some policies we looked at do include any insurance cover for backcountry skiing as long as you are on marked trails.

I broke my arm 5 years ago, do I need to list this as a preexisting condition?

Generally you only need to list conditions that you are currently receiving treatment for or have received treatment for within a set timeframe. If you were still getting physio on your arm as a result of the break this would be considered a pre-existing condition. With any prior medical conditions, it is extremely important that you carefully read the PDS and be upfront with the insurance provider when you are applying for snow cover.

What’s not covered by snow insurance?

There will be specific snow sports that aren’t covered as part of a standard snow or winter sports policy. These include things like:

  • tobogganing
  • bobsledding
  • ski acrobatics

Plus all the usual travel insurance no-nos like:

  • snowboarding / skiing while under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • skiing out of bounds
  • skiing or snowboarding if the mountain resort is closed due to bad weather
  • driving a snowmobile or any vehicle that you are not legally licensed to drive

Are there any special conditions for getting snow travel insurance?

Yes. Your journey must start and end in Australia. You must purchase your policy before you leave Australia. The exception to this is that some snow policies will allow you to purchase additional cover for Heliskiing after your policy commences. You will need to be an Australian resident.

I’m a senior, can I get cover for skiing and snowboarding?

Yes, there are a number of insurance providers that will offer snow cover to seniors. Punch in your details into Mozo’s quote comparison tool and see the list of providers that will offer seniors cover. Always read the product disclosure statement to ensure you will be covered for all travel eventualities.