Skiers heading to Italy will now need winter sports insurance, according to a new law.
The travel insurance add-on is usually an optional extra for those visiting winter sports resorts, but skiers caught without it in Italy will face u20ac150 fines and ski pass cancellation.
Here, Which? looks at what the new rule means if you're planning a trip to Italy, and how you can get ski insurance for less.
Winter sports insurance, or ski insurance, is travel insurance that covers specific incidents that could happen on ski holidays.
This could be medical expenses that arise from an accident on the slopes or lost equipment. It could also be for cancellation if the piste is closed or delays due to avalanches - two very ski-specific scenarios.
Ski insurance is important because standard travel policies won't always cover these and the new , which replaced the Ehic, doesn't cover the cost of rescue from the slopes, so relying on this alone could be an expensive mistake.
It will cost you a bit more to get insured for skiing because of the added risks compared to other holidays. Even so, we'd advise you to get it whenever you're skiing, even outside of Italy, as you'll save in the long term if anything goes wrong.
Getting winter sports insurance is easy. You'll usually just have to tick a box on a comparison site or insurer's website when you take out a new policy.
If you have an annual policy that doesn't already include winter sports, contact your insurer to add ski cover to it. You may be able to do this online.
Often you'll be adding a set number of days of winter sports cover to your annual policy as insurers know you're unlikely to be skiing all year round.
The text of the new Italian law, according to the International Travel & Health Insurance Journal (ITIJ), says:'The skier who uses the alpine ski slopes must have a valid insurance plan that covers his civil liability for damages or injuries caused to third parties.' Winter sports policies will usually cover more than just this.
However, the new law also stipulates that ski area managers should offer civil liability and damage insurance to skiers when they buy their transit permits. The ITIJ says this will cost around u20ac2 to u20ac3 a day.
Keep in mind that this won't cover you for other things like cancellation, theft, or injury to yourself so taking out more comprehensive ski cover is the safer option.
There are 30,000 accidents on Italy's ski slopes every year, according to the ITIJ, with 5% of those leading to hospital treatment.
The best way to get cheap ski insurance is to shop around. It's easiest to use a comparison site and to check directly with insurers that aren't listed on them.
Rather than simply looking for the cheapest policy, you should try to get better value for what you pay. Find the best-priced policies with these minimum levels of cover:
You may also save money by getting single-trip policies instead of an annual policy if you only go on a few holidays a year. However, if you travel a lot, annual cover with a period of winter sports included could work out cheaper.