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The winter 21/22 insurance thread

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
@sugarmoma666, I have insurance (annual policy) with Staysure and I did not notice this!
I have emailed them requesting clarification - if you are skiing ON piste - reply could take upto 5 days.
I will post response as soon as received
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Just a thought .... does the avalanche risk not refer to off piste only??
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Following on from a comment by @T Bar in this thread:

https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=4944788#4944788

I got intrigued and had a look at the InsureandGo policy wording to see if they could really wriggle out of paying rescue costs. The InsureandGo Budget policy wording includes "Search and rescue costs" in the General Exclusions, with "Search and rescue costs" defined as:

"Costs that are charged to you by a government, regulated authority or private organisation connected with finding and rescuing an individual. This does not include the costs of medical evacuation (by the most appropriate transport) from a medical emergency which is covered under section B (Medical and other expenses)"

It would be interesting to know where they draw the line between "rescue" and "medical evacuation".

However, in the InsureandGo FAQs, in answer the question "Do you cover mountain rescue?" the reply is "Mountain rescue is covered on our policy provided you have paid the appropriate winter sports premium." Very confusing.

It's worrying that the InsureandGo policy wording and FAQs appear to contradict each other, and if the policy wording takes precedence, I'd be concerned if there is sufficient cover if venturing off piste, which the policy covers ("except in areas considered to be unsafe by resort management").

Note also that the InsureandGo winter sports cover is only valid if you wear a helmet.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sun 6-03-22 22:20; edited 1 time in total
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Just in case useful, I thought I'd share the outcome of my hunt for insurance too, aided a lot by this thread. I'm looking for an annual multi-trip policy for my OH and I that covers us for a few weeks off piste skiing, plus random holidays abroad (inc. a non-skiing trip to the US later in the year).

LV sound like they're a good outfit, but their policy wording for off piste is the US style version that talks about only being within resort boundaries. They're also clear that they don't cover touring. I don't tour often, but I might do from time to time, and I don't like the 'within boundaries' stuff so they're out for me.

Coverwise (who look like their provider is Axa) have almost the opposite situation - their wording says you're covered off piste and for touring, but not if against local authority advice or warning. That's a bit vague too, and you could try to read Avalanche warnings as being local authority warnings. But given that there's practically always an avalanche warning of some level in place (even if only 1), I think it's a reasonable interpretation of this as them meaning that you don't ski in closed areas or where there are signs saying that there's a particular avalanche risk. The fact they cover touring suggests they're generally ok with you wandering around randomly on skis, whish is good. Little Angel

Austrian Alpine Club look good, but their cover totals are quite low and the worrier in me isn't all that comfortable with that. I'd be tempted to risk it for Europe, but I'd need to find other travel insurance for a trip to the US later in the year, so it doesn't really cover me for multi trips.

Of the other names mentioned, BMC came out really expensive (£600) and also didn't off an option including USA on their website had to call). SCGB were expensive too, if I wanted a decent level of equipment cover (but I did like their no quibble style definitions). Snowcard looked quite good, but I thought I needed Max Adventure, which worked out at £490. Voyager (linked from MPI) also looked ok and came in just over £200, but they seemed to have a limit on 21 days skiing in the year (and optimistically I might breach that in 12 months). Travel Plus (P J Hayman & co) get a shout out for having policy wording that recognises the difference between European and US skiing, but sadly it leaves you needing a guide in Europe which is no good to me.

So ultimately I think we're going to go with Coverwise - I'm ok with their wording, and the price and levels of cover look ok. I suspect I could find alternatives at about the same price point if we did a single trip policy for the US trip and took a European multi-trip, but I can't be bothered to shop around any more (and there's some possibility that we end up skiing in the US next season).
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Dippy, did you get any clarity on the Staysure wording around avalanche warning levels?
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@sugarmoma666, No!!! - I emailed them again after 5 days requesting a reply and still no reply to date.
I shall email, again, today!
I could try ringing but think I would be hanging on forever!
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
ChrisWo wrote:
LV sound like they're a good outfit, but their policy wording for off piste is the US style version that talks about only being within resort boundaries. They're also clear that they don't cover touring. I don't tour often, but I might do from time to time, and I don't like the 'within boundaries' stuff so they're out for me.

Most do use US style references. I have asked a couple for clarification. LV said (also on page 2 of this thread):
Quote:
Question 1a: How does this work in Europe where they don't have in bounds off piste as they do in North America. What is a " a recognised ski resort" in this instance?
Answer: You can go off piste where this is allowed, there will most likely be areas where you are told don’t go to so we wouldn’t want you to go in those areas and you must stay within the boundaries of the recognised resort. You will need to check with the resort what their boundaries are.

Question 1b: If I go to France am I covered for any off piste without a guide?
Answer: Yes but still need to follow ski patrol guidelines


Also asked Columbus and they said:
Quote:
You will not be covered for claims where you have knowingly endangered either your own life or those in your party if your experience or skill levels fall below those required to participate in your activity, particularly when you are not wit a professionally qualified guide or instructor.


Another aspect to consider is who handles the claim and what their reputation is like. Because more often than not, it will not be the company that sold you the policy. For example LV claims are handled by a company called CEGA.

I am currently insured with LV and ski off piste without a guide.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@sugarmoma666, Finally update(s) received after sending further request.
So - my question was as follows:-

With reference to policy wording - Page 36, Section 17, a)
The following quote:-

You are not covered when engaging in organised
competitions, or when engaging in an activity
against local authoritative warning or advice.
Resort authorities classify avalanche risk as follows:
1 = Low, 2= Moderate, 3= Considerable, 4= High,
5 = Very High. You are not covered in areas
classified as avalanche rating 3 or above

Could you please clarify - if you are skiing ON PIste and the avalanche risk is 3 or above this would invalidate any claim?

This was the first reply I received -

If you choose to Ski in an area not covered by the policy, then you would not be able to claim for anything relating to this incident. i.e. a broken leg whilst on a rating 3 area

I then replied that this did not answer my question and received the following reply:-

I apologise that my email did not provide you with the information you needed. When I stated not covered by the policy, I meant an area of avalanche 3 or above.

You are not covered if you ski in an area with an avalanche risk of 3 or above.

Ahhh!!! - so do they class on piste as an area??
rolling eyes
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Quote:
You are not covered in areas classified as avalanche rating 3 or above

This is ludicrous anyway and I wouldn't touch that policy.
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The final reply to my query with Staysure as copied below -

Good afternoon,

Thankyou for getting back to me.

Whether you are on piste or off piste - You are not covered in areas classified as avalanche rating 3 or above.

Areas are defined normally defined and catagorised by resort authorities, and this is information they can provide you with. These are usually marked clearly to make sure people know which areas to use.
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'Whether you are on piste or off piste - You are not covered in areas classified as avalanche rating 3 or above.'

This is like saying your buildings insurance is invalid for storm damage if the Met office issue a Red warning for your area.

Either they're incompetent in terms of drawing up their Ts&Cs, or dishonest.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Staysure. As a company ever been more inaptly named.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@LaForet, I honestly think there has been no real knowledge gone into these replies to my question as the reply came back so quickly!
It feels as if they have replied just to close my query!
And yes I agree with your comments.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Layne wrote:

Most do use US style references. I have asked a couple for clarification. LV said (also on page 2 of this thread)

Yeah, I did see that. Still with the 'boundaries' thing...not overly helpful without having an idea of where various resorts consider their boundaries to be. Out of interest have you ever asked a resort where their boundary is? I've only seen it explicitly set out once in a European resort, in Galtur, and my memory is they drew the boundary right on the edge of the pistes on either side of the resort (which ruled out some very acceptable side country!).

As an aside, I had a conversation with a travel insurance underwriter through my work a few years ago, when they had a US-style definition as LV do. He had no idea about off piste (fair enough), and confirmed they'd just taken the definition from a standard wording. Once I'd explained the issue he really helpfully asked me to write down a description of what I was likely to be skiing, and then quoted me an additional premium for specifically that (which was about £15 pa, to cover me for pretty much any back country with or without guide provided I had avvy kit with me)...amazingly helpful! Sadly they stopped doing our work policy and they don't do personal insurance Sad
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

'Whether you are on piste or off piste - You are not covered in areas classified as avalanche rating 3 or above.'

Shocked Laughing Shocked Laughing

Presume they just have no idea what they're saying. You wouldn't want to take the chance though, would you?!
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Feck Staysure if that's their policy. Uninsured if its snowed recently or been windy or warm.... rolling eyes
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
LaForet wrote:
'Whether you are on piste or off piste - You are not covered in areas classified as avalanche rating 3 or above.'

This is like saying your buildings insurance is invalid for storm damage if the Met office issue a Red warning for your area.


I suppose their argument is you make the choice to ski in an avalanche 3+ area, but you can't decide to move your house outside a red weather warning area.

My argument though is you should be able to ski anywhere the resort staff mark as open. If avalanche risk is high and an area is closed, then fair enough (in US you lose your pass for ducking ropes anyway, Europe maybe too, not sure). If risk notice is high but they've opened the area because it has been bombed and all that, then surely it's the resort's liability.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Anyway, LV coming out popular. How do they compare to Insure&Go? I've had Travelinsurance.co.uk for many years but binned it during Covid being unable to go, and that's basically I&G (almost identical policy and has I&G on the documents).

I was never too sure I&G covered me adequately, especially off-piste. Recovery off a mountain seemed dubious and anyway some resorts in France insist you must have carte(carré?) neige regardless of the travel insurance, and on that note... any equivalent for Austria?

The in-boundary off-piste stuff was fine when I skied North America as their boundaries were large and off-piste in them generally very good. Europe it's more of a problem. But then if you can get additional resort insurance to cover it, I'm happy to do that if not silly money.

Otherwise I'm tempted to go with a dedicated insurer covering winter sports, Snowcard, BMC, AAC etc, but each has their own issues (price for one).

p.s. what's happened to Dogtag?

"All new sales have been temporarily suspended
We are currently undertaking some business changes relating to our insurer and as a result are unable to offer new policies or convert quotes at the moment"
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@tjmoore, I've not heard of any French resort insisting you have Carre Neige. Where was that?

See my post above re InsureandGo which I think aligns with your views.
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@tjmoore, I used Snowcard for a while (but expensive), then MPI (price went up and now using a third party so no go for me), then I bought an Asda policy (which is effectively I&G but allows you to ski with no helmet iirc) and now with LV.

A lot of people use CN because they regard as not much cost for a simplified blood wagon process. Personally I think it's paying double which doesn't sit well with me. I did a couple of trips with EHIC and CN only though.

Dogtag afaik are no longer in business.

It's a bit "you pays your money and makes your choice"
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Does Carte/Carre Neige offer any cover for medical costs once back in the UK? I've always assumed not, but that once repatriated you'd then be able to use NHS for anything major. I assume you wouldn't be able to rely on other insurance if they didn't cover you for the circumstances of the original accident.

I've never really engaged with CN though as I've always had other insurance, so not totally sure about that?
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
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ChrisWo wrote:
Does Carte/Carre Neige offer any cover for medical costs once back in the UK? I've always assumed not, but that once repatriated you'd then be able to use NHS for anything major.

Correct, once you are repatriated you revert to standard NHS cover.

ChrisWo wrote:
I assume you wouldn't be able to rely on other insurance if they didn't cover you for the circumstances of the original accident.

Not sure what you mean by this.

ChrisWo wrote:
I've never really engaged with CN though as I've always had other insurance, so not totally sure about that?

Most people get CN has an add on to their existing travel insurance for convenience in getting treated on the mountain and if necessary being transported off the mountain to a medical facility and/or their accommodation.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@ChrisWo Carre Neige and the equivalent Swiss assurance with the ski pass is just a mechanism for streamlining your treatment on and transfer off the ski area to a hospital. Their responsibility ends once they've delivered you to A&E or to a waiting ambulance.

Travel insurance responsibility ends once they've delivered you back to the UK. At which point the NHS and/or any supplementary personal health cover takes over.

You could do a lot of this with CN and GHIC plus a contingency for associated costs, but the big advantage with travel insurance arises from the 'all costs until you get home' cover, because they have a massive incentive to get you home if things are serious, as the costs of supporting you abroad escalate the longer you're there. Thus your priority and theirs (to get home) coincide. This is why they're happy (so to speak) to charter a dedicated medical flight back home, or to pay a premium for adjacent seats on the way home and for a helper to travel out from the UK to assist you etc. For me, the stuff that people often pour over between policies (like damaged skis, lost baggage, cancelled accommodation, poor weather etc.) is secondary against the quality of service and cover for the massive potential costs of repatriation. And having been through this a couple of times, the other discriminator is the quality of claim management and the support and advice available after the incident, when everyone is stressed-out dealing with a serious accident that's befalled a loved one. It's hard to judge this latter, and this is where SnowHeads feedback can be very useful.

As I've posted elsewhere, our experience with LV= handling an accident was first rate, in comparison to a cheaper insurance on a previous occasion. They did a lot more to support us in the immediate aftermath and organised pretty much everything needed to get my wife home, including four seats for the two of us at short notice on a packed return flight that when I looked, didn't have any space available. Yes, this was all in the policy cover, but at the time, it was much more significant than the £3K they paid out for the heli-evac, as was the fact that they had a French-speaking medic who read the hospital discharge report as soon as they got it, to double-check that she wasn't just being jettisoned from A&E without proper treatment.

Even though LV= reimbursed the heli-evac costs (and ours were about the minimum you'd expect as the hospital was relatively near. Think £100/minute flight time), I'd still recommend getting the CHF 5 / day assurance as it streamlines the admissions process and is one less thing to worry about at what is a stressful time. Heli-evac is just for the patient, who will usually arrive at the hospital some time before everyone else (there's no space for a passenger on the medical helicopter), so minimising admin is a significant thing as they'll be in pain and/or drugged up.
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sugarmoma666 wrote:
@tjmoore, I've not heard of any French resort insisting you have Carre Neige. Where was that?


Not so much insisting you have it but insisting you won't get rescued off the mountain without it, and they will refuse to accept travel insurance. Or at least will leave it up to the insurers to organise a rescue rather than a quick helicopter or whatever ride out.
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@LaForet, my travel insurance includes cover for private physio in the UK if required.
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@tjmoore, where are these mythical resorts that are refusing to rescue people?
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@LaForet, as @sugarmoma666 says, I'd had in mind that some insurance covered elements of treatment back in the UK too. Although I haven't checked that for my current policy, now I think of it.

I totally get the importance of claims handling. It's no good if the instance doesn't cover you for what you need though! Which is the problem with LV (for me).
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