A snow skiing adventure is amongst the top holiday choices for Australians, but like any adventure sport – it comes with risks.
Last year, more than 1,000 Cover-More Travel Insurance customers were involved in winter sports related accidents resulting in almost $1.86 million in emergency expenses. The largest claim was for $94,987 for a snowboarding accident in Canada. But these travellers were not left out of pocket thanks to their travel insurance policy.
Another traveller was 14 year old Tom Karbowiak from Central West NSW, who was on a dream ski holiday with his family and some friends in France when things took a rough turn.
An experienced skier, Tom was on his way back from a ski lesson with a friend when he decided to investigate what he thought was some nice looking powder on the side of the slope. Mistaking ice for snow, he lost his footing and hit the ice hard.
After lying there for a few minutes, Tom and his friend skied back to his family who took him to the nearest medical centre. X-Rays showed no broken bones and there were no clear signs of internal bleeding, so he was soon released. However at midnight that night, his symptoms worsened and he was rushed to the nearest hospital via ambulance.
Due to a snow storm, the ambulance took a harrowing two hours to reach the hospital, during which time Tom kept fainting. Tom’s parents were fortunately able to travel alongside him and his mother Alison Karbowiak, recalls the journey as every parent’s worst nightmare.
“The level of stress that comes along with seeing your child suffering, while in a strange country and hours from the nearest hospital, is absolute torture,” Alison recalls.
“We always travel with insurance, I just like that peace of mind. Prior to the trip I’d checked we were fully insured for everything. I didn’t expect we’d need it, but when this happened – it was such a relief not to have to worry about debilitating ambulance or hospital costs so I could just focus on my son. ”
Once Tom arrived at the hospital, further tests revealed his spleen was damaged beyond repair and the doctors had to perform emergency surgery to remove it. The operation was fortunately successful, and Tom then spent the next 11 days hospitalised while he recovered from the splenectomy and abdominal trauma.
Had it not been for the Karbowiak family’s travel insurance policy, they would have been liable for a whopping $62,121 in costs, including emergency medical costs, flights, accommodation, taxi expenses and fees for missed pre booked transfers.
Says Alison: “If we’d had to personally cover these costs, the long term implications on our future would be terrifying. It would have drained our savings, affected our ability to cover everyday bills and taken away our freedom to make education choices for our sons. I honestly don’t know how we would have survived. Fortunately everything was covered so we could just focus on getting Tom better.
“In speaking with friends following the accident, I was shocked at how many people asked us if we had insurance. For the sake of a few hundred dollars, I don’t understand how anyone could risk it.”
Cover-More Travel Insurance announced their top 5 most expensive winter sports related claims for 2017 as follows:
|Snow Boarding||Canada||Tibia & fibula fractures, wrist fracture, rib fracture||$94,987|
|Snow Skiing||USA||Left radius fracture, closedfracture||$76,605|
|Snow Skiing||USA||Injury to knee||$76,167|
|Snow Skiing||France||Abdominal trauma, Splenectomy||$62,121|
|Snow Boarding||Japan||Fractured tibial plateau||$58,326|
With close to 50,000 people taking out Cover-More Travel Insurance for winter related sports during their travels in 2017, it’s clear that many take the risks seriously – but these figures are a wake-up call for anyone considering not taking out travel insurance to save a few bucks.
Cover-More Travel Insurance Executive General Manager, Direct to Consumer, Global, Glenn Broadhurst says, “With travel insurance policies as low as $70 for winter related sports, it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind when you’re looking at cases such as these.
“Imagine having to foot the bill for a $100,000 ski trip accident. It would be life-changing in the worst possible way.
“People work hard for their holidays, and an accident is the last thing you need while you’re trying to unwind and enjoy your well-earned time.”
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