Winter Sports Injuries Could Cost An Arm And A Leg

09 April 2012

The USA and Canada are the most expensive places to have a ski or snowboard accident, according to new claims analysis from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance(1). The research reveals that last winter in the USA and Canada, the average cost of winter sports-related travel claims was £2,863.

Analysis(1) of winter sports injury claims reveals that despite a 40% decrease in the average claims value between the winter of 2009/10 and 2010/11, North America remains the most expensive country to suffer from an injury on the slopes. Over the last two winters, Bulgaria remains the country with the lowest average claim value, of £493, when compared with other top winter sports destinations.

The research also indicates some notable individual country increases in claim value during the 2010/11 winter season. The average value of travel insurance claims in Austria was £1,393, up 7% from the previous year, and in France the average claim during this time was £960, a 13% increase on the previous season.

The analysis from Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance also reveals that the most common travel insurance claim related to winter sports activity is for a knee injury (31%) followed by injuries to the lower leg (13%) and shoulder (11%). The most expensive injuries to treat are those relating to the back, where the average cost of a claim last year was over £2,700. The average cost of a head injury is over £2,280 and injuries to the upper leg, hip or pelvis on average cost more than £2,220.

Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance is urging those heading off to winter sports destinations this Easter to ensure they have their European Health Insurance Cards (EHIC) and also comprehensive travel insurance before they leave.

David Barrett, Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance Manager, said: “When family household budgets are squeezed, naturally people will look for ways to try and cut costs but travel insurance is as essential as packing your passport. As our research shows, medical treatment for winter sports-related injuries can be hugely expensive, particularly if you need to be transported off a mountain by helicopter.

“If skiers and snowboarders are going to a European Union destination they should make sure they have an EHIC, which provides access to the state-provided healthcare in the country they are visiting at a reduced cost or sometimes free of charge. However, it’s advisable to also have comprehensive travel insurance wherever you are skiing or boarding in the world as an EHIC will not cover you for everything, such as being airlifted from the slopes or repatriated back home, for example.”

Sainsbury’s multi-trip travel insurance offers:
• Up to 25% discount when you apply online.(2)
• Take any number of trips per year – up to 60 days per trip (up to 24 days for winter sports in any one insurance period)
• Travel disruption cover, which includes scheduled airline failure cover, is included with the Standard option of a Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance policy(3)
• Tailor your medical care to meet your needs

Winter sports average claims costs(1)
Country Average value of travel insurance claims linked to winter sports injuries during winter 2009/10 season Average value of travel insurance claims linked to winter sports injuries during winter 2010/11 season  Percentage change 2009/10 to 2010/11 seasons
USA/Canada £4,750 £2,863 -39.73%
Austria £1,300 £1,393 7.15%
France £850 £960 12.94%
Italy £1,400 £819 -41.49%
Switzerland £1,250 £737 -41.01%
Bulgaria £750 £493 -34.27%
Top 10 most common winter sports related injuries(1)
Top 10 most common winter sports related travel insurance claims winter 2010/2011 Percentage of winter sports related Sainsbury’s travel insurance claims Average cost of claim
Knee 31% £755
Lower leg 13% £1,235
Shoulder 11% £671
Wrist/hand 10% £484
Upper leg/hip/pelvis 7% £2,226
Head injury 7% £2,286
Ankle/foot 6% £482
Upper arm/elbow 4% £907
Back 4% £2,706
Contusions/lacerations 3% £356
To obtain a Sainsbury’s Travel Insurance quote you can log or call 0800 316 1452.  Lines are open 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am – 7pm Saturday, and 9am – 5pm on Sunday.

– Ends –

For further information, please contact:
Ian Morris / Tom Wilson
Citigate Dewe Rogerson
020 7638 9571

Notes to editors:
1) Analysis of travel insurance claims data linked to winter sports injuries during the 2009/10 and 2010/11 winter seasons. Research commissioned by Sainsbury’s Bank and carried out by FirstAssist Services Limited, encompassing all winter sports-related travel insurance claims received
2) Terms and conditions apply. To receive your online discount, remember to have your Nectar card with you. To receive the 25% online discount you must enter your Nectar card number and quote T1738. For full terms and conditions
3)  Available on Standard cover option; full policy details are available at

Sainsbury’s Bank Travel Insurance is provided by FirstAssist Insurance Services Limited and underwritten by Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC. Both companies are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
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