Every season I meet many, many people who snowboard without any travel insurance. I’m not even sure where to start with how bad a decision that can be for you.
Here’s 4 reasons why you NEED to have insurance, especially if you snowboard outside your own country:
1) Even the smallest injury can cost you a truckload
Even if all that happens to you is you fall weirdly and just to be safe they wheeled you down and took you to the hospital, you’re going to pay for ambulance and medic fees. That stuff isn’t free and believe me when I say it costs A LOT.
I believe my last 2 minute ride in the Whistler ambulance cost 1k+ just for reference. Don’t forget about x-rays and all the other ‘fun’ things they’ll do in the hospital as well.
Basically, any time you get taken in an ambulance or require a scan it will end up costing more than travel insurance / health insurance. I’m scared to even think how much it would cost you if you required a helicopter to take you off the mountain.
2) It doesn’t cost much especially considering how much you spend on everything else
Snowboarding is an expensive sport. We’re already forking out 1k+ for gear, equipment, lift passes, transport each season, don’t be cheap. Just pay the little extra for health/travel insurance.
I just did a quick calculation on my favourite travel insurance websites, World Nomads, and 1 week of insurance costs $49 and 6 months of insurance costs $291.
That’s nothing compared to how much I end up paying for everything else. Heck, a season pass at Whistler already cost $1,200 or more.
Put it this way, if the worst case scenario happens and you get a major injury that bills you 10k in ambulance and hospital bills, can you afford to pay them off easily?
If you want to snowboard in other countries, travel insurance is one of the essential costs that you have to pay.
3) Even if you can get home – you may end up paying more
Even if you can get home without needing immediate treatment or flight upgrades, you’ll end up paying for it anyway. Most public insurance policies won’t cover all fees for the scans and doctor visits you need to get treated.
You may even end up paying more at home than you would have paid if you just bought and used travel insurance.
For example, let’s talk about one housemate of mine was who was injured in Whistler after a massive crash which tore his ACL among other things. Well, he had travel insurance and was treated by one of the best ACL surgeons in the country. All of this was paid for by his insurance.
You know the price of getting private ACL surgery by a top doctor, including scans and other treatment? Your first born child.
If he had managed to get home and be treated under public health care, he would still have paid WAY more and had to wait for months to get treated by a doctor that wasn’t as experienced.
Fun fact: Some of the best knee/shoulder doctors and physios are in ski field heavy regions.
4) Travel insurance will cover you for A LOT of extra things
People think of their injury expenses as just the cost of ambulance and hospital care/treatment. That’s not all you’re paying for. Don’t forget that a major injury most likely means you have to change your flights, cancel your trip, fly home early etc etc.
For example, one of my housemates broke his ankle last season. It was a major break requiring surgery. He was in NZ, home to some of the most amazing health care ever.
The NZ government will cover treatment, surgery and all sorts of other things if you get injured visiting NZ, even if you don’t have travel insurance, however my housemate still got his value for money from his travel insurance.
Why? Because a good travel insurance will pay for your other expenses which are not directly part of treating your injury.
Two big extras that a good travel insurance will cover:
- Change of flight costs plus an upgrade to business class if it’s a painful injury
- Change of plan costs (bookings you’ve already paid for and other costs of changing your trip)
When I was injured in Whistler during my first season, my travel insurance refunded the amount I would have paid for an entire month of snowboard training plus accommodation at Camp of Champions and believe me, that isn’t cheap.
Not to mention the insurance company offered to upgrade me to business class on my return flight.
In closing, don’t be a cheapo, buy travel insurance.
ps – I highly recommend this post if you want tips on picking travel insurance, ‘How To Pick Travel Insurance‘