Your skiing insurance stories
Kayley Dhillon was a confident skier when she headed for the slopes on the first day of her holiday in Les Arcs, a popular French ski resort. “I had enjoyed the morning skiing but it was about late afternoon that a blizzard struck and conditions became challenging,” she said. “We had all decided to take a long ‘red’ piste from about 3,250 metres down the mountain and meet again at the end.
“However, halfway down we encountered an unexpected black slope which filled me with fear. I should have trusted my instincts because not long into the descent, I began to pick up far too much speed and was no longer able to hold my edge and carve down the mammoth slope.
“After some time, I realised that if I did not stop picking up speed, it could be fatal. So I forced myself to crash land and tumbled down on my side. My bearings did not unclip on my right side and consequently I tore my anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).”
Kayley, now 21, was carried down the mountain by her then boyfriend’s family, back in 2012. Unsure whether her insurance would cover her emergency descent, she chose not to have an emergency rescue and instead made it to a lift station where she was sent straight to the resort’s doctor. She phoned her mother back in the UK, who set about seeing what the insurance company had to say. Thankfully, she was covered.
“I spent the next day in agony elevating my swollen knee in bed, while the others went off skiing but then I received a call the next afternoon from our insurance company. I was interviewed about details of my accident and waited for a verdict.
“Early the next morning, I was called to be told abruptly, that I must pack my stuff within an hour and catch a flight home to be operated on immediately to prevent further injuries. The flights were booked and paid for by my insurance company.
“The fees of the x-rays, consultation and painkillers in France came to approximately £580, which my boyfriend’s family had to pay straightaway and we prayed that the insurance would reimburse us on our return home. I received this money back about a month later.”
Kayley received specialist attention, scans and surgery, and since has had two ACL reconstructions and two other operations. She says she still suffers from daily pain, and despite her love of skiing, will never hit the slopes again.
Caroline Fischer had her skis stolen from the balcony outside her chalet in Alpe d’Huez in France. Faced with the prospect of losing time skiing, she visited the gendarmerie to file a police report before hiring a new pair of skis in the ski shop. On her return to the UK, she lodged a claim with her insurance company
who paid for her equipment replacement, minus the excess of about £80.
Another confident skier, Beth Jones, was in Limone, Italy, for a long weekend last year. “I was waiting for other members of the trip and I was skiing backwards to see where they were. I caught an edge backwards as the snow was a mixture between ice and slush and my right ski released but the left did not and twisted my leg underneath me.
“All was fine, just twisted and very sore. I continued to ski, then about an hour later I was coming off-piste back on to piste on about a metre jump and my knee gave way beneath me.”
Beth had full travel and medical insurance, which she did not use until back in the UK, when she claimed for an ACL reconstruction operation and physiotherapy. “The process was quick and painless; however I could imagine it would be quite frustrating for a more serious condition. Of course the insurance company would rather not pay if they don’t have to, so you really do get grilled when you ask for cover codes.
“The cost for my physio maxed out at about £1,000 before it had finished but because I did a lot of sport before the accident I was able to recover just about in time. It may have been more difficult for others not as fit as me.”
Thomas Ranstead, 33, stubbed his toe on the night before leaving for the Austrian resort of St Anton with a group of friends in 2012. After a trip to A&E, he was informed that he had broken his toe and was advised not to go skiing.
He had no other choice to but to cancel. To make matters worse, there was a misunderstanding with his friends over who had bought the insurance and it turned out he had no cover.
He lost the money for his accommodation and flights, about £550, but had fortunately not yet purchased his lift pass or equipment hire in advance.
“It was pretty gutting to break my toe, but to then lose the money was incredibly annoying, because I know I could have stopped it from happening by just checking my insurance cover,” he said.
Portia Webb was skiing in Les Deux Alpes in France when her rental skis were stolen from a communal boot room. “I returned from lunch to the room and they were gone. There’s not much you can do in that situation, so I just had to accept my lot.”
Portia visited the local police station to get a crime reference number before visiting the rental shop to buy new skis. She lost about half a day’s skiing but her insurer paid for about two-thirds of the cost of her replacement equipment, after the excess.
This is more usually a feature of car insurance but it can also crop up in contents, mobile phone and pet insurance policies. An excess is the amount of money you have to pay before the insurance company starts paying out. The excess makes up the first part of a claim, so if your excess is £100 and your claim is for £500, you would pay the first £100 and the insurer the remaining £400. Many online insures let you set your own excess, but the lower the excess, the more expensive the premium will be.