Although many parts of this country have lacked the necessary snowfall for a really great ski or snowboard trip, some have received plenty of snowfall. Of course, there are always other options for excellent skiing as well, including our neighbor to the north.
So, if you, your significant other, your buddies, or your family are planning a ski or snowboard trip this spring, what do you need in the way of travel insurance to be protected?
Letâ€™s go over what coverage you may want with your travel insurance plan and the reasons. Hint: weâ€™ll also tell you where you can save money by avoiding coverage you donâ€™t need.
If you have to cancel the trip, trip cancellation coverage can save you lots
When youâ€™ve arranged for the airline tickets, lodging, ski passes, rental equipment, transportation and more, stop and add up the total of your pre-paid non-refundable costs. They can be quite significant.
Now, stop and think about whether you can toss that money away if you suddenly, and unexpectedly, have to cancel the trip. If youâ€™re thinking, â€œIâ€™ll never have to cancel the trip!â€, consider the following scenarios:
- Someone not on the trip but very dear to you is in a serious traffic accident and you want to be with them instead.
- Something happens at work and you have to cancel your trip to attend to things – this can happen even if youâ€™re not management.
- Someone who planned to go on the trip is suddenly very, very ill and cannot travel.
Even worse, what happens if while youâ€™re enjoying your trip youâ€™re called home to handle an emergency. Someone is ill or someone is hurt, but you have to get home quickly. Will you lose the remainder of your trip investment?
When we book a vacation, we try to save as much as we can, which means that our airline tickets are often non-refundable, our hotel rooms or other lodging is often non-refundable, and our ski pass purchases are often non-refundable. Sure at least some of these travel suppliers will give you a voucher for future travel, but what about those that wonâ€™t – can you afford to lose that money?
If not, take your total pre-paid costs and plug them and the details about your trip into our travel insurance comparison tool and get some quick and easy quotes from many travel insurance providers. You might be surprised to find that you can cover your travel investment for very little extra payout.
After that – and before you choose a travel insurance plan for your snowboard or ski trip – see the remaining points weâ€™ve outlined here.
Even for a domestic trip, you may want travel medical
If youâ€™re traveling abroad, itâ€™s likely youâ€™ll be traveling outside your health insurance network range. What does that mean? In many countries, it means youâ€™ll be paying up-front for your medical care if you hit your head, break a leg, or need stitches while on your ski or snowboard trip. In some countries, they require you to show proof of travel insurance at the border before theyâ€™ll let you in!
If youâ€™re traveling inside your home country for your snowy vacation, you may still want to check the travel medical options. After all, if youâ€™re headed outside your health insurance network youâ€™ll be paying the much higher out-of-network costs for your medical care and if youâ€™ve tapped your savings to afford the trip you may not want to put it on your credit card – especially if a bunch of you are in a traffic accident, for example.
Important note: Itâ€™s typical for travel medical to automatically be your secondary coverage when other coverage is in effect, but donâ€™t worry. That simply means your own health insurance will pay first and travel medical will pick up the rest – including deductibles from the first go-round.
See our review of travel medical coverage for full information and a list of plans and their coverage limits.
Evacuation doesnâ€™t apply in your home country
Itâ€™s important to understand that with nearly all travel insurance plans the emergency evacuations – medical and non-medical – do not apply when youâ€™re traveling inside your own country.
Unfortunately, in most cases you also cannot separate travel medical from the medical evacuation coverage, so save where you can by getting only the travel medical you think youâ€™ll need and the lowest amount of evacuation coverage.
If youâ€™re headed overseas to enjoy the snow, youâ€™ll want evacuation coverage in case you are badly injured, and repatriation if the worst happens. A medical evacuation can cost anywhere from $50,000 to upwards of $150,000 depending on your location and injuries. This benefit pays for medically necessary evacuations to a medical facility where your injuries can be adequately treated – plus it will take you home when you can safely travel, so you donâ€™t have to worry about re-arranging your return flight.
See a full review of medical evacuation and repatriation coverage for more details.
See also, our recent article: How Much Travel Medical and Evacuation is Enough? for more information.
Travel delays can cause losses too
Travel delays can come in many forms – especially in the cold months of winter. Roads get closed, flights are cancelled, and all that can really eat into your vacation.
Travel delay coverage can reimburse you for unexpected costs like hotels when the flight is cancelled if your trip is delayed for a covered reason. Many travel insurance plans do provide coverage for flight cancellations due to weather, and since the airlines arenâ€™t required to help you out when they canâ€™t fly due to the weather, itâ€™s a good idea to have travel insurance as your backup.
See our full review of travel delay coverage for more details and a list of companies with the best coverage.
Coverage for your ski and snowboard gear
The coverage for checked luggage is often confusing to travelers, so weâ€™ll break it down into smaller bits. Many people prefer to avoid the fees imposed on checked luggage by the airlines, but ski and snowboard equipment is simply too big to fit anywhere else, so you have to check it. Most travelers are aware that the airline coverage for lost, damaged, or destroyed checked luggage is limited and there are strong limits on their liability if the contents are expensive.
Travel insurance also places a per-item maximum on items. Specifically, a few travel insurance providers allow up to $2,500 for sports equipment, but most give an insured traveler only $300-$500. If you want extra coverage for your gear, youâ€™ll want to look into a sports equipment rider (it will increase your premium a little).
See our full review of sports equipment coverage to know what to buy and get a list of companies that offer it.
Last, but not least, check to be sure skiing/snowboarding is covered
The last step before you finalize your plan choice is to be sure that skiing and snowboarding are covered activities in the plan details. Travel insurance works differently than some types of insurance; specifically, the activity must be included as a covered activity for the insurance to be effective.
If skiing or snowboarding are not covered activities, theyâ€™ll be listed in the exclusions in the plan documents.
Donâ€™t worry, if you buy your travel insurance and review the plan within the review period (usually between 10 and 15 days after purchase), you have time to make changes or cancel the plan for a refund. See our tips for 100% confidence in your travel insurance plan.