What is the difference between ski touring and ski mountaineering?
Off piste skiing is any skiing or snowboarding activity away from marked and controlled slopes. However, ski touring is a ski journey that includes the use of skins, sometimes ropes or crampons for safety but ascents of peaks that are walking ascents that do not include technical mountaineering in the climbing or alpinism style of ascent. Often the terms 'ski touring' and 'ski mountaineering' are used interchangeably but from the insurance perspective, we differentiate 'touring' from 'mountaineering' because technical alpine ascents that combine climbing with ski touring approaches present higher underwriting risks. The ski mountaineering option should therefore be used if you are engaged in alpinism, technical alpine ascents, in winter conditions where you are using traditional ski touring travel to approach your climbs.
What is an excess?
Insurers usually ask you to pay the first part of a claim to keep claims administration costs down. The excess is per person claiming under each section of the policy. If you make multiple claims under different sections, the excess will apply to each section as specified in the policy wording. When you order your policy, you can select your own excess from zero to £250.
What happens if I need to cancel my trip or come home early?
• The health statement is relevant to the cancellation section as well as to the medical expenses section. • You will need a doctor’s certificate to make a cancellation claim. • Familiarise yourself with the definition of a close relative. • We do not cover the financial failure of your travel agent, tour operator or airline. • Ensure you only book travel services with a company holding a bond to protect your money. • If you have to cut short a trip, you must seek agreement with Assistance International before making return home arrangements.
What are the main exclusions for baggage and equipment cover?
• You must always take proper care of your belongings and not leave things, particularly valuables, unattended. Leaving something behind is not covered. • Valuables like cameras, jewellery, money (see definitions) are not covered when unattended except in locked accommodation. • Fragile items are not covered against accidental damage. • For equipment, we specifically exclude damage whilst being used for racing or competition. • Damage in use of mountain bikes and cracking, scratching and denting of canoes or kayaks in use are not covered.
Terrorism or travel against Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice.
It is a general condition of cover that you follow FCO or government advice, which is detailed in a free 50 page booklet available to download from www.fco.gov.uk If FCO advice is that ‘they advise against all travel’ or ‘they advise against all but essential travel’ then we will not insure the journey at all. Where caution is advised, you must follow more specific suggestions like using the services of professional guides or local agents. The FCO often advise against travel to certain areas in a country that they otherwise do not advise against all travel to. Please ensure that you have read the FCO advice and can comply with such restrictions prior to travel. If in doubt, you should contact the British Embassy at your intended destination and clear your itinerary with them. In the event that it becomes too dangerous to visit a country you have booked to go to, in the first instance you must seek either a refund or an alternative holiday from your tour operator. It is normal that where it becomes impossible to provide travel services because of hostilities or negative FCO advice that tour operators provide such assistance. Where you make independent travel arrangements or book directly with service providers overseas, you may not have such protection and it is advisable to use a tour operator where there is a higher than normal risk of terrorist activity interfering with your journey.
Mountain biking categories
Adventure Plus - Cross country and trail riding - riding a mountain bike on tracks or trails which are marked as suitable off road cycle routes is covered by the 'Adventure plus' policy. Whilst you may be riding up and down hills on the trails, specialist protective body armour is not normally necessary (although you may choose to use it) and you will NOT be engaged in tricks, jumps or using 'park' equipment put in place to add challenges for riders, e.g., man made or non natural obstacles and hazards. This type of riding is normally called 'cross country' or 'trail riding'. Extreme Adventure - All Mountain, Downhill, Enduro, Freeride and Dirt Jumping are the higher risk forms of MTB riding which normally necessitates wearing body armour or additional protection. Riders seek off road adventure, using natural and man made hazards to jump or do tricks. This form of MTB riding is the greater source of accident claims and is in the 'Extreme adventure' policy level. If in the past you used the 'downhiller' policy, you should use the 'Extreme adventure' policy if you require the same cover. The above descriptions have been added to the web site June 2016 - policy coverage has not changed and if you have previously bought a policy with the old descriptions, you will find that nothing has changed, we have just expanded the descriptions to help clarify which types of riding fall into each category.
Mobile phones, Video recorders and Laptops – are they covered?
Electronic/Techno Pack equipment, as defined here: see definitions, is covered upto the amount specified on your Insurance Schedule. High value items should be insured separately under a home contents insurance. Theft of unattended electronic/techno pack equipment is excluded, see Small print – Personal belongings and equipment for cover limitations.
Is theft of ski or snowboard equipment covered from outside restaurants?
Yes, your ski equipment is covered if you leave it outside a restaurant/bar whilst you stop for a break. If you leave your skis outside, unattended and unlocked overnight, you may not have your claim paid. It is advisable to use ski locker rooms at your accommodation. Do not leave skis unattended in public areas for extended periods of time without locking them away. A useful loss prevention measure is to split your skis with another member of your group to deter theft. Report thefts to the police immediately.
Is theft of climbing equipment covered whilst left unattended at the bottom of climbs?
As from vehicles and tents, if at all possible, you should lock unused equipment in your car. If this is not possible, cover is not excluded but the problem with police reports is an ever present reality. Keep an eye on your equipment at all times and do not leave it unattended if at all possible.
Is theft from unattended vehicles covered?
Only during the daytime and if the vehicle is locked. Theft of valuables and Electronic/Techno Pack Equipment (as defined in the policy, eg. money, jewellery, camera equipment, electronic equipment etc) is not covered unless from a locked room or building. If you have to leave your vehicle unattended overnight, remove your belongings and take them in to the building you are staying in. On outward or return journeys, if you stay in a motel on an overnight trip, we do not expect you to unload the whole car but any valuables should be removed.