© Fotolia_50559888
© Fotolia_50559888
Oliver Seuffer-Wasserthal

Skiing and insurance

Properly insured? An interview with expert Katrin Eschelmüller from Allianz insurance. Properly insured? An interview with expert Katrin Eschelmüller from Allianz insurance. It is a sensitive issue, but an important one. Where sport is practiced, injuries also occur. So also in skiing.

It is a sensitive subject, but an important one. Where there is sport, there are injuries. This also applies to the sport of skiing. The hard-statistical facts – a winter sports accident happens every 4 minutes here in Austria during the winter months. More than 52,000 winter sportsmen and women end up in hospital year upon year. It only takes a short attention lapse, to be suddenly cut up by someone or you hit a bump, and that it is all it can take to end up in hospital.

You see, it can happen quickly. Therefore, I have pursued the question: Which insurance should skiers most definitely take out: An interview with the insurance expert Katrin Eschelmüller from Allianz insurance.

Have you got the right insurance?

An Interview with an expert

What should I do in the event of a skiing accident?
First of all, you should mark the accident spot with a pair of crossed skis or ski poles and protect the injured. The next step is to call 140 on your mobile phone and inform the mountain rescue about the accident. Then you give first aid: talk to the injured, check their vital signs and protect them from the cold. If you yourself are the injured party, then after your medical treatment at the hospital, take your medical documents with you and register the accident with your insurance company.

Which insurance should local winter holiday makers and foreign guests have?
To be optimally insured for your winter holiday, we recommend a liability insurance, an accident insurance and a travel insurance. The Allianz offers an insurance calculator, which easily calculates the price for a combined accident, sickness and travel insurance. Holiday makers from abroad can additionally get a so-called “visitor” insurance. This is a health insurance for persons living abroad who enter the Schengen area or the EU.

When do I need liability insurance, when do I need sickness insurance and when do I need accident cover?
And what do these cover me for in the case of a skiing accident? In the case of a skiing accident, where you were the cause of a skiing accident and thus caused injury to others, then you are covered by the private and sport liability insurance, which is included in your household insurance. However, it only provides compensation for personal injury and damage to property of injured third parties. Your own damages are not covered by this.

The statutory health insurance covers the costs of treatment in the event of an accident or illness, but does not always compensate for possible consequential damages (such as, for example, invalidity). There is also no lump-sum payment or annuity benefits.

A private accident insurance reimburses retrieval costs, accident costs (such as, for example, tooth replacement, therapy costs or special operations) and covers therapeutic products. For permanent invalidity the causalities get a lump-sum payment or a monthly pension.

Moreover, a travel insurance is highly recommended. The one from the Allianz includes, for example, a travel cancellation insurance, which covers the costs of unused travel services, either in the case of sudden serious illnesses, injuries caused by an accident or also incidents, which put your physical safety in danger at the holiday destination.

That means, that a travel insurance would cover the costs of a week’s ski pass, if I were to hurt myself on the first day?
Yes. A travel cancellation insurance would cover the costs for not entirely used travel services in the case of sudden serious illness and injuries caused through an accident.  

What happens with costly transport costs, such as a helicopter or a rescue sled (Akia)?

The average costs of a helicopter rescue run at about 3,500 Euro’s. In the case of Alpine cases with very serious injuries, the health insurance will pay a flat rate of 894,93 Euro‘s for the transport to hospital. The outstanding costs have to be paid by the patient or their private insurance. In the Allianz accident insurance, for example, search and rescue costs are included. Thus, your retrieval, regardless whether injured or not, also by means of Akia or helicopter, is included.

What do credit cards, the ÖAMTC assistance cover and the Alpine club membership cover in normal cases?
Many credit cards include a travel insurance. Depending on the card, there are certain conditions which apply: You have to use them regularly, to have a minimum purchase amount and you have to have paid for the holiday shortly before you travel. The services and scope of cover also vary from provider to provider. It is best to obtain information from your bank in advance.

Members of the Alpine club are automatically insured for rescue costs, and a liability and legal cover, are also included for all types of sport in the membership. In the ÖAMTC assistance cover, helicopter rescue, retrieval of the sick and the journey home after an accident are all included. However, neither provider can replace a full accident or travel insurance.

Do I carry any blame, if I sustain a head injury when I am not wearing a helmet? Is the insurance then void?
For skiing, in nearly every state, there is a law that you have to wear a ski helmet up to the age of 15. With the Allianz accident insurance, it is not compulsory to wear a helmet and therefore there will be the full compensation payment. Of course, we advise every skier and snowboarder to wear a helmet for their own safety.

What happens if alcohol is a contributing factor. Will the insurance then pay?
You should be careful when it comes to alcohol consumption and to end the ski day beforehand. If alcohol is a contributing factor, then the cause of the accident will be assessed and a decision will be made on a case-by-case basis.

Thank you very much for the interview!

Source: KFV, IDB Austria. Figures from 2015

Oliver Seuffer-Wasserthal

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