Every winter the Alps lure numerous winter sport lovers from Switzerland and abroad to their snow-covered slopes. In Switzerland, skiing and snowboarding is enjoyed by around 2.5 million people, approximately a quarter of the population.
Like all good things, winter sports have their less-fun aspects as well. Approximately 48,000 accidents result from winter sports every year. Of these, 26,000 affect skiers.
Snowboard accidents, at around 8400 per year, are also common. Even sledding claims its share of serious injuries.
71 percent of those injured in snowboard accidents are between 15 and 29 years old, according to Suva. Ski accidents hit a slightly older crowd, with 38 percent of injuries affecting those between 30 and 44 years old and 36 percent affecting people between the ages of 45 and 59.
Swiss accident insurance
If you are injured while engaging in winter sports, the costs will be covered by the non-occupational insurance coverage you get through your employer. The costs of doctors, hospitals are covered, as are possible search and rescue operations. The latter is a big plus because a short flight with a rescue service like Rega can cost thousands of francs.
Around 4.8 million people in Switzerland are covered by non-occupational accident insurance, either through their employers or as part of their unemployment benefits. Children, students, retired people and unemployed housewives or househusbands, on the other hand, generally are not covered by non-occupational accident insurance through an employer.
If you are self-employed, you can take out accident insurance on your own, or add the accident insurance rider to your obligatory health insurance policy.
Your health insurance does not cover all the costs of an accident
It’s important that you understand that the accident insurance rider for your compulsory health insurance policy is subject to your policy’s deductible and copayment requirements. You also receive less coverage from your health insurance policy than you get from the accident insurance provided through an employer.
The insurer which provides your basic compulsory health insurance policy is only obliged to pay half of the cost of search and rescue operations. Because of this, getting accident insurance through your employer is preferable, if you have the option.
If you cannot get separate accident insurance (because you haven’t been employed in Switzerland, for example) and you have to rely on the accident insurance coverage provided by your health insurance policy, it may be worth taking out a supplemental health insurance policy that covers the cost of search and rescue operations both in Switzerland and abroad.
Liability insurance on the slopes
Only 8 percent of ski accidents and 5 percent of snowboard accidents involve more than one person.
However, the costs for which a guilty party can be held liable for are huge. If you are found to be responsible for a collision on the slopes, you will have to cover the losses incurred by all of the injured persons.
If the accident is serious, these damages can add up to hundreds of thousands of francs. Because of this, liability insurance is an absolute must for anyone who engages in winter sports.
Insuring against ski theft
The theft of your winter sports gear may be less dramatic than an accident, but it can still be very upsetting. Fortunately, the frequency of ski thefts has declined in recent years.
However, more than a thousand ski and snowboard thefts are still reported every year. Train stations and mountain restaurants are regular haunts for sports equipment thieves.
Being properly insured when they strike can help make the incident less upsetting. As a Swiss resident, you probably do not need a separate ski insurance policy like those offered to tourists by ski resort vendors.
A Swiss household insurance policy with the “simple theft away from home” rider (this also covers the theft of bicycles, laptops and other valuables outside of your home) provides sufficient insurance. Different household insurance policies come with different amounts of coverage. The maximum amount insurers will pay out for a claim typically ranges between 2000 and 4000 francs.
The moneyland.ch team