If sloping off for a ski or snow holiday in Italy for the first time in a couple of years, make sure you are aware of wintersports insurance-related changes in regulations that came in at the start of 2022, which may have passed you by.
Italian law now expects something of all those engaging in wintersports’ activity and, if you do not comply, it could mean fines.
As a response to 30,000 snowsports accidents per year – including 20 fatalities on average – the Italian government recognised the fundamental need for skiers, snowboarders and others who engage in wintersports such as sledding, to be holders of third party liability insurance.
With a ski or snowboarding accident potentially resulting in the need for in-depth and extremely expensive medical care, long rehabilitation periods, loss of earnings and other costs, many of those suffering an issue caused by the actions of a third party, needed a means of compensation. However, that is typically only possible if the individual involved has any private funds. If they don’t, it’s hard to get anywhere.
Similarly, anyone whose property is damaged by a fellow slope user would struggle to cover the loss, if the third party did not have insurance to cover it.
Italy’s wintersports insurance and safety laws
For the reasons above, the Italian government has made it compulsory for anyone engaging in wintersports activities to have third party liability protection, which would provide the required payout, if necessary. It has also raised the age at which it is compulsory for a child to wear a ski helmet to 18 (for any wintersport activity) and made it illegal to use the slopes under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.
If you are found not to have any third-party liability protection, or have not equipped your child with a ski helmet, you will be fined between €100 and €150. If you are tested and it is discovered that you have consumed alcohol, to more than the limit permitted for driving in Italy (0.5mg per litre of blood), or to have taken drugs, you can be fined between €250 and €1000. If your alcohol reading is more than 0.8 mg/l, it can be deemed a criminal offence.
Why travel insurance is the best way to fulfil Italy’s legal requirement
Whilst it is possible to purchase third-party liability cover, on a per-day basis and alongside a ski pass, at the Italian ski resorts now, it makes little sense to do that, when you can buy a wintersports add-on to a Europesure Travel Insurance travel insurance policy. If you do this, you can not only benefit from good third-party liability protection but also enjoy comprehensive medical expenses cover, baggage protection, ski equipment cover and a host of other elements of protection.
All skiers and snowboarders would be strongly advised to take out such wintersports travel insurance anyway, given the prevalence of injuries on the slopes, the types of injury – which often necessitate transport by air or road ambulance and a delay in travelling back home following an operation or fracture – and the regularity of incidents such as avalanches and piste closures.
All users of wintersports facilities should also be very aware that consuming alcohol or drugs typically invalidates the wintersports insurance cover provided, as well as being highly dangerous.
Warning for European residents visiting Italy’s ski resorts
Europesure Travel Insurance is particularly keen to ensure that residents living in the EU, EEA, Monaco and Gibraltar are aware of this key regulatory change in Italian ski resorts. It believes that many, especially if fairly competent at wintersports and travelling to resorts by road transport, are too reliant on the limited medical cover provided by the EHIC.
As Europesure Travel Insurance’s Paul O’Sullivan, explains, “This means they lack protection for elements such as air ambulance repatriation and private healthcare costs. Should they need to be transported home following an incident, an air ambulance might be the only option. Furthermore, many medical facilities in ski resorts are privately run. Add to this the fact that the EHIC offers no liability insurance and it is a risky strategy to rely on in most places and now one that would be illegal in Italy, unless separate liability insurance is purchased.”
Do not take the risk to travel for a wintersports holiday without the right protection in place, whether that is a legal requirement or not. Wintersports injuries are typically fairly complicated and expensive to put right from a medical point of view and making an error judgement on the slopes, then injuring another person, is relatively easy to do. For these reasons alone, skiing or snowboarding, without comprehensive travel insurance in your salopettes pocket, just does not make sense.
To buy your wintersports travel insurance, select the grade of cover you require from Europesure Travel Insurance, at either a Silver, Gold or Platinum level. Then just add on the wintersports protection before checking out.
You can do this with either our single trip option – for those only making one trip a year – or our annual multi-trip insurance option, which is ideal for those travelling more frequently.
Head to www.europesuretravelinsurance.com to buy.
Photo courtesy of John Cameron on Unsplash