Am I Covered For Off Piste Skiing?

Off Piste Skier

Dear Essential,
A crowd of us are keen skiers - we fly to Europe and America at least four times a year (more if we find a last minute deal), always skiing off-piste to find the best powder and most extreme skiing. Over the last few years, we've invested heavily in our gear and I wanted to check what equipment - and medical - cover you offer, and is that cover still valid if anything happens off-piste? Cheers! Neil Stocks, London

Stuart Bensusuan, Essential's Insurance Specialist replies:

Dear Neil,
Thanks for your email. Most travel insurers don't cover off-piste skiing but we are keen skiers and snowborders ourselves, so understand the appeal.

Our Essential ski cover policy is designed to cover every level of skier: from the absolute beginner to more experienced people, like you, who enjoy off-piste skiing.

We define off-piste as outside the boundaries of the prepared piste and marked runs, and beyond the area controlled by the ski patrol. You will be automatically covered for off-piste skiing under our Wintersports Grade 2 Policy provided that you are accompanied by a qualified, resort-approved guide or instructor. (See the full details here). Don't forget though - if you ski without a guide - or the resort has published warnings against skiing off-piste in a particular area (such as in the case of avalanche warnings) - you won't be covered at all.

As for your equipment, we know the misery and blood-boiling rage of turning up at the resort only to find your skis are back at the airport, or worse - in the back of someone else's speeding car! We offer up to £750 to cover the repair or replacement of ski or snowboard equipment, and up to £510 for hired equipment.

Finally - although I hope there'll be plenty of powder this year - we also offer insurance if the piste closes, of up to £50 for every 24-hour period with a limit of £500. And if you've ever spent a ski holiday wandering around looking for somewhere to go other than another bar, then you'll know that's money well spent.

Have a good run! Stuart

PS. Go to our winter sports travel insurance page for more information and a quick quote.

Last Updated: October 2008