As the January blues set in, many people look to up coming holidays to lift their mood. With winter breaks often incorporating sports such as skiing, skating, snowboarding and sledging, a robust insurance plan is essential.
Snowboarding causes approximately 100,000 wrist fractures a year, and knee ligament injuries are the most common among both skiers and snowboarders. It isn’t just amateurs that are affected. At least 1 in 10 athletes at the 2010 winter Olympic Games was injured training or competing, according to a report published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The most common injuries occurred to the head, spine or knees.
Most national ski associations are calling for helmets to be made compulsory for skiers and snowboarders. In Switzerland, anyone taking skiing lessons must wear a helmet. With head injuries being one of the most common incidents, the speed in which you can get treatment often makes a huge difference to your prognosis.
Travel insurance doesn’t usually include winter sports coverage, and if it does, it is often very basic. For expats living and working in a ski resort over the winter, an international health insurance policy will be needed, rather than simply travel insurance. Whatever your insurance, you should always check the coverage for winter sports if you will be practicing them.
For example, you should consider medical evacuation, as, depending on the severity of the injury, transportation to hospital may require a helicopter or other rapid transport. You will also want the best possible care, something good health insurance will cover. If you’re living abroad, some policies also cover families members flying out to be with you in hospital and medical repatriation.
Steve Nelson, international sales manager at Medibroker said: “Good international healthcare insurance is a must, as transport to the hospital should be as quick as possible, with access to the best possible healthcare. The extremely high number of injuries which take place show that damage limitation is the best possible approach before you set off on your winter break.”