Snow sports accident insurance gets left at home as Brits embark on winter breaks to snowier climes this season.

New research from Aviva’s research shows that almost one in seven (15%) winter sports-goers don’t take out the appropriate insurance cover for winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding or tobogganing.

This despite almost half (46%) of snow-lovers admitting to being involved in an accident or a near miss whilst on holiday, resulting in three quarters (76%) of them needing emergency medical treatment paid for by their insurance.

Almost half (43%) of those surveyed who didn’t buy winter sports insurance said it was because they didn’t think they would ever need it, with 36% wrongly believing that they don’t need insurance if they have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)** and 11% forgetting to buy it. Yet when asked if they could afford to pay for any medical treatment themselves, without insurance, 64% of the respondents admitted they couldn’t.

The research from Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, showed that many winter sports fans are unaware of the actual cost of receiving medical treatment abroad for winter sports related injuries.

When asked what they could afford to pay if they needed emergency medical treatment (and didn’t have insurance) the average amount respondents said they could afford was £492 but in fact the average winter sports claim last year was £740 – a difference of £247!

Heather Smith, director of Aviva general insurance, said: “We never like to think about the worst case scenario, especially when going on holiday, but when it comes to winter sports this can be a costly error.

“Even if you consider yourself to be a competent skier remember that mishaps can happen to anyone and the cost of even a minor accident can run to hundreds of pounds.

“It is worth taking the time to make sure you have the right insurance when you book up your winter holiday. It could save a lot of worry and inconvenience should your holiday somehow go off-piste.”

Treatment for extreme injuries, such as a damaged spinal cord, can be very costly. In one actual claim the cost of emergency medical treatment was £31,000.

Given a range of costs to choose from for actual winter sports injury claims the survey revealed that the costs were grossly underestimated for serious injuries– in the case of one specific injury by up to £12,000.

Table of actual claims costs versus what survey respondents thought they would be:

Actual winter sports injuries Average expected cost*** Actual cost of the claim Difference in average expected vs. actual cost
Spinal cord damage £18,917 £31,000 £12,029
Knee damage £13,570 £24,000 £10,450
Dislocated ankle £12,420 £22,000 £9,614
Fracture or brake around the knee £13,665 £16,000 £2,364

For more information on Aviva’s travel insurance go to http://www.aviva.co.uk/travel/

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