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Travel Insurance For Skiing In The Southern Hemisphere

Apr 2, 2008
Avid skiers will be turning their thoughts to New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, and Chile for summer skiing as the snow thaws in European resorts. Like water draining out of a bathtub their flight instincts will kick in and send the snow-addicted on a migration south. Ski season in the southern hemisphere runs from approximately June through the middle of October.

If your travel plans include some southern hemisphere skiing as part of a general tour of the country, don't forget to add the all-important winter sports cover to your general travel insurance policy. Remember to check the terms and conditions of your policy as there may be limits on the levels of cover for skiing in the southern hemisphere. For example, cover for piste closure may apply for certain periods only, such as April through July, or there may be restrictions regarding piste closure at resorts without skiing facilities above 1,000 metres.

It is estimated that close to half of the people who set off on ski trips do so without sufficient winter sports cover. Treatment for ski-related injuries could set you back anything from 500 to over 150,000! Consider the potential cost of repatriation should you be very unlucky and suffer a serious back injury while skiing in Australia. You may be unable to sit and have to be flown back to the UK on a stretcher with a medical escort. You don't even want to contemplate the financial ruin of medical treatment in the U.S. if you have no insurance! The chances are that your trip will be safe and injury-free, but it's no secret that most winter sports involve an element of risk.

It will come as no surprise that most ski injuries are caused by falls and collisions - usually with other skiers, barriers, or trees. Popular injuries involve broken bones (fractures) - especially of the tibia and femur, torn knee ligaments, back injuries, head injuries (concussion), and sprains and strains of all varieties. It's very easy to 'catch an edge' and twist your knee, fall heavily and dislocate a shoulder, or sprain your thumb joint. Injuries can happen at low speeds or high speeds; they can happen getting on or off a ski lift, or even while walking to or from the lifts! Broken wrists and fractured thumbs have become an increasingly common injury among boarders.

Your chances of sustaining an injury may be reduced significantly if you prepare for your trip. Most recreational skiers admit they don't bother to do any special training to prepare for the slopes. It's unrealistic to expect your body to adjust from doing a desk job and living a couch-potato lifestyle to a week of flat out skiing on your annual ski trip. At the very least, it's a good idea to start on a regular exercise programme a couple of months before you depart. If possible, join a gym and obtain professional advice on the fastest and most efficient way to tone up your ski muscles. Weak muscles can affect your performance and even a badly twisted knee could put you out of action for a few days of your precious holiday. If you have any health concerns, consult with your GP first, especially regarding any adverse effects you may suffer from being at a high altitude.

Injuries sustained on ski slopes account for a high percentage of travel insurance claims. Check your policy to make sure that it provides the levels of cover you need, including adequate cover for medical costs, legal expenses and personal liability. An annual multi-trip policy often includes a certain number of days of winter sports cover for payment of an additional premium. The number of days quoted normally means the total days of cover per year - not per trip. It is important to be aware that if the policy states 24 days of winter sports cover it means the total amount of days per year - it does not mean you can take multiple ski trips of up to 24 days duration!

As with any type of insurance, remember that you - as the policyholder - are expected to act as though you are not insured at all times and take measures to protect your property and yourself. When your flight lands in the southern hemisphere you can explore the Coriolis Force to see if the water in your bathtub really does drain in the opposite direction. Just remember that if you should take a fall while skiing, it doesn't matter whether you fall clockwise, counterclockwise, or straight down - or whether you are in the northern or southern hemisphere - it could be very expensive! Be prepared and don't ruin your trip by becoming a statistic!
About the Author
Jean Andrews is a freelance writer living in the UK. She regularly contributes articles for TIA Ltd who offer great deals on ski insurance.
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