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Does Winter Sports Insurance cover Avalanche?

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There are three ways you might be reimbursed by travel insurance if an avalanche wreaks havoc on your holiday. Depending on your plan and how you're affected, you may be able to claim under piste closure, avalanche delay and/or travel disruption. Your travel insurance policy may include none, some or all of these protections. To find out if your specific policy offers avalanche protection, have a look through your policy documents.

How Travel Insurance May Cover Avalanches

An avalanche can ruin your winter sports holiday, but travel insurance can at least provide a financial buffer in a few different ways. Clearly, the emergency medical component of cover should pay for treatment fees and any required repatriation back to the UK, should you be caught in an avalanche and injured (but make sure you have your EHIC card with you in Europe!). But what about the more likely scenarios of an avalanche (or risk of an avalanche) closing the piste or causing your trip to be delayed or even cancelled? Here's how travel insurance might cover you (if included on your policy).

Natural Disaster (aka Travel Disruption or Catastophe) Cover

If an avalanche at your destination means you need to cancel a trip (before you leave home) or curtail your trip (that is, return home before originally scheduled), some travel insurance policies will pay for your unused travel, accommodation and other pre-paid charges that you can't claim back elsewhere, and reasonable additional travel and accommodation costs needed to get you home. (These need to be the same standard as your original booking.)

As this type of cover can be called lots of different names (e.g., catastrophe, natural disaster, travel disruption, etc.), we've written an article to help you find out if natural disasters like avalanches are covered on your policy.

When (Risk of) an Avalanche Causes Piste Closure

If your resort is closed either because an avalanche has occurred or there is risk of an avalanche, then you may be entitled to compensation for the days you cannot ski or snowboard. This compensation may take the form of transportation to and from an alternative site that is open. You can read more about Piste Closure in our article about lack of snow (another cause of piste closure).

Avalanche Delay

If your travel plans interrupted by an avalanche causing you to be delayed for more than 12 hours, you may be entitled to reasonable additional accommodation (possibly room only) and travel expenses necessary to help you get home or reach your booked resort.

How Much Can You Claim?

The amount you can claim in the event of an avalanche depends on the limits of your policy for the relevant section. Travel delay and piste closure . Check your policy documents to find out your limits. Here is a very rough idea of what you can expect:

  • Natural Disaster: The amount you can claim if your holiday is canceled or curtailed may be up to the Cancellation limit on your policy, or perhaps a smaller limit for catastrophes—regardless the amount is typically in the thousands of pounds to compensate you for flights, accommodation, etc.
  • Avalanche delay is typically paid on a daily basis up to a maximum limit (e.g., up to £20 per day with a £200 maximum).
  • Piste closure is also paid on a daily basis up to a maximum limit (e.g., up to £20 per day with a £200 maximum).

Evidence Required

In order to make a successful avalanche claim, you may need to provide proof such as written confirmation from the relevant authority, your tour operator's representative or the ski lift operator (as appropriate) confirming the event. In the case of piste closure the statement should also include the number of days that skiing facilities were closed.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.