Every winter, 8 million people visit the slopes of French ski resorts and areas, half of them during the 4-week winter holiday. A popular but sometimes dangerous hobby that deserves to be well insured against damage.
Skiing remains a pleasure for its millions of practitioners, especially during the winter holidays, provided they take a few precautions to first avoid injury and then ensure that they are well covered in the event of an accident on the slopes. Collision, fall… The 2021-2022 winter season was characterized by a high number of visitors to mountain resorts and slopes, but also by a significant increase in the number of interventions by the piste service (+13%) and the number of injured (+8%, or almost 150,000) ) compared to the average of the five years before Covid, according to the National Mountain Safety Observation System (SNOSM) report. In addition to wearing a helmet and good physical preparation, here’s what you need to know about ski insurance, a service that all ski resorts and areas offer when purchasing a lift pass.
Is it necessary to be insured for skiing?
Insurance for the practice of winter sports is not mandatory, but highly recommended. This protects you and your family from financial costs in the event of an accident (fall, collision, breakage, etc.).
Are we already covered by other contracts with a risk of overlap?
Some contracts actually already cover part of the risks associated with winter sports. “The Multi-Risk Home (MRH) policy includes liability cover which covers the costs if you cause an accident to a third party. The Life Accident Guarantee (GAV) or “Individual Accident” contract allows you to be covered yourself in the event of an accident (e.g. fall). But you should check your contract carefully to make sure that the practice of winter sports is not excluded.”, recommends Catherine Dibouès, Head of the Mobility-Leisure Market in the Marketing & Digital Department at Allianz Partners. The individual accident generally covers bodily injury, medical expenses and the lasting consequences of the accident for the life of the victim and his family (disability/death benefits, family assistance, etc.). It is often offered as an option in MRH contracts. Finally, if you have mutual health insurance, it will cover the costs of hospitalization and care if you have an accident.
And bank cards (Visa, MasterCard…)?
Your credit cards include insurance and assistance guarantees as well as reimbursement of accommodation expenses in the event of an accident or cancellation. But the conditions for intervention and especially the ceilings are different according to the cards. “Top-of-the-range bank card includes payment for search costs, rescue on the track, as well as transport home and damage to rental equipment, provided you have used your bank card to pay for the rental of your equipment. and its ski lift card » explains Catherine Dibouès.
Will I be rescued on the slopes even if I am not insured?
In the mountains, as elsewhere, it is up to the municipality to organize rescue on public property. But it can then turn against you to get a refund of the costs incurred. However, the average cost of mountain rescue in France varies between €180 for an evacuation at the bottom of the slope and €3,000 for an evacuation by helicopter. Even if you think you are insured, be aware of the costs of mountain rescue (travel from the ski slopes to the hospital), which are often excluded from individual accident contracts and classic bank cards, which only offer home transport (from hospital to home).
What is the point of taking out specific insurance for skiing?
The different guarantees that are fragmented in different insurance contracts and it is sometimes difficult to have an overall view of your protection before departure. If you are not sure about the guarantees included in your insurance contracts, it is more reassuring to take out an “all inclusive” winter sports insurance for the entire duration of your stay, to avoid possible “holes in the racket”. Its average price is estimated at €3/day on skis. Package solutions such as Carte neige or Carré neige (see below) have the advantage of bringing together all the aforementioned guarantees, as well as theft and breakage of equipment, loss or theft of lift passes, reimbursement of ski lessons, rental of equipment and unused lift passes. We should also mention the AssurGlisse insurance offered at the counters of the Orion Ticket Neige resorts with the lift pass (risks covered by WTW Montagne and Mutuaide Assistance). Some insurance companies also offer daily insurance before departure, such as ski insurance from APRIL International and Voyageo Neige from Axa (which also includes a stay cancellation guarantee, added since Covid).
In what cases am I liable if I hit a skier?
You are responsible if:
- you arrive from upstream and you deny priority to a downstream skier;
- you are skiing or driving too fast on a slope reserved for beginners;
- you take a break in a place with no view;
- you make a dangerous overtaking;
- you lose one of your skis, which injures another skier.
Is off-piste skiing covered?
“Practised outside the marked or supervised trails of a resort, off-piste skiing is not always covered by insurance contracts. You should carefully check the terms of your contract if you wish to practice it. says Catherine Dibouès. Snowboarding, which equates to alpine skiing, is covered, as is the practice of sledding, cross-country skiing or hiking.
Where and when should you take out ski insurance?
For MRH, Individual accident and mutual health insurance, it is possible to take out all year round with the various insurance companies, online or in an agency.
For specific ski insurance, you can take out a subscription when you buy your stay in the mountains, from a travel agency or an online agency, or once on the spot, when you buy the lift pass directly in the resort or even online.