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Peak conditions mean high costs for winter getaway fans

14 November 2007
Holidaymakers hoping to escape to a luxury ski resort over the winter ski season are being advised to check they have adequate travel insurance in the event of an accident after it was discovered that medical costs at luxury resorts are some of the most expensive in the world.

Research by American Express has found that skiers and snowboarders in search of high altitude resorts where snow is “guaranteed” will need quality winter sports insurance cover as medical costs at these resorts can be a sore point for those who are underinsured.

With resorts in Canada, USA, Japan, Russia and Chile all tipped as top ski destinations for the 2007/08 season, skiers and snowboarders risk hefty medical bills if they injure themselves during their holiday. Statistics show that broken limbs are amongst the top five winter sports injuries, with the average cost of medical treatment varying depending on where you are, but reaching £25,000 in some places. People travelling without adequate insurance cover – particularly for off piste activities - could be liable for their injury treatment and rescue costs.

Joanne Field, Marketing Manager, American Express Travel Insurance advises: “The traditional lower altitude European resorts have suffered from poor snow conditions recently. We are seeing more and more skiers and snowboarders travelling further afield to higher resorts to ensure good snow conditions. With more than a million Britons skiing each year and with one in ten suffering an injury on the slopes, good quality insurance will be vital for destinations like the USA and Japan where a hospital room can cost over $10,000 per day.”

American Insurance Services claims data shows that the average costs for a broken leg can be anything from £10,000 - £25,000 in the USA, around £3,000 in Canada and anything up to £14,000 in Japan. These costs can spiral further if the person requires a hospital room as it can be an additional £5,000 a day in the USA, £2,400 in Canada or an excruciating £7,000 in Japan.

There are currently around 450 travel insurance policies on the market so winter sports’ holidaymakers should check their policy small print carefully as these do vary considerably. Cover can include a range of activities from snowboarding, tobogganing, mono-skiing and outdoor ice skating to bobsleighing, heli-skiing, paraskiing, ski-jumping, ski-racing and ski-stunting.

Find out more about winter sports travel insurance

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