New research from Travel Insurance Explained reveals how thousands of UK winter sports aficionados could find themselves out-of-pocket if they injure themselves on the slopes this winter.

The survey of holidaymakers shows that over half (54%), do not appreciate that they have to buy a specialist policy, and expect their standard travel insurance policy to cover them if they break an arm or a leg while skiing.

The study also shows that, although the majority of Brits, on a winter sports holiday, are still sticking to traditional activities such as skiing and snowboarding, winter sports devotees are also trying alternative sports when in resort. These include paragliding (15%) and visiting terrain parks (10%); which allows skiers and snowboarders to perform tricks over jumps and rails. However, these and many other risky winter sports activities – which are becoming more and more available – are not generally covered as standard on a winter sports policy.

With the average cost of piste (ski run) rescue in Europe costing roughly £445, repatriation by land in Europe set at around £7,000, and being brought back home by air ambulance in Europe costing an eye-watering £12,000, Travel Insurance Explained is warning winter sports holidaymakers to make sure they get the right cover for skiing and snowboarding and for any other activities they are planning to take part in.

Fiona Macrae, from Travel Insurance Explained, says:

‘When buying travel insurance people should not make assumptions, standard travel insurance will not cover winter sports activities. And, although specific winter sports insurances will cover you for most activities, such as skiing and snowboarding – some activities may be excluded, such as using terrain parks or skiing off-piste without a guide. This means that you might need to buy extra cover if you are tempted to try some of the more extreme or riskier winter sports activities. Some providers will allow you to add this cover on when you are in resort, but check before you buy your policy as not all of them do.

‘That’s why taking the time to choose the right insurance for your winter sport holiday is just as important as choosing the holiday itself. While it may cost a few extra pounds, it is always better to be ‘safe than sorry’.’