ABI Warns UK Skiers on Risks of Expensive Medical Bills

December 17, 2010

The UK may not have a lot of mountains, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a lot of people who ski. So it’s appropriate, as the holiday season begins, to warn those who are eager to hit the slopes that they are “unwittingly risking mountainous medical bills,” warns the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

In a bulletin on its web site the ABI notes that “the costs of treating even a minor ski-related injury can easily cost more than the price of the ski trip.

It cited the following as examples:
— £6,000 [$9,337] to treat a ruptured ligament and arrange repatriation back to the UK from France.
— £5,000 [$7,781] for medical treatment for a fractured leg and a nurse-escorted flight back to the UK from an Austrian ski resort.

The ABI also warned that skiers, who don’t take precautions “risk crippling medical bills” due to a number of factors, which it detailed as follows:
— No travel insurance protection. In a recent Government survey, nearly a third (31 percent) of people admitted that they did not take out insurance to cover their winter sports holidays.
— Over-reliance on the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). The EHIC does not pay for private medical treatment, mountain rescue or medical repatriation back to the UK – all of which could easily cost thousands of pounds.
— Too much alcohol. One in five skiers admit drinking too heavily while on skiing breaks, with 40 percent saying that they have skied nursing a hangover from the night before. Accidents caused by too much alcohol are unlikely to be covered by travel insurance.
— Inexperience and tiredness. Ski instructors say that people pushing themselves beyond their abilities and fatigue are the biggest cause of accidents among British skiers.

Nick Kirwan, the ABI’s Assistant Director of Health and Protection, added: “Skiing is exhilarating but can also be dangerous, so it is alarming that nearly a third of people planning winter sports holidays do not intend to take out travel insurance. Skiing injuries can result in financially crippling medical bills, so ensuring that you have travel insurance that covers your ski activities is essential before you set of for the slopes.”

Source: Association of British Insurers

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