International (Europe/Japan/Southern Hemisphere) Ski insurance for off-piste in Austria

Sibhusky

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Somehow I thought that if you were skiing in Austria there was a small add-on you could buy for accidents off piste. But the Safety Card for Ski Arlberg states that it's for on piste only. So I went looking around for insurance and so far I've found that the insurance offered by the Austrian Alpine Club (AWS) is for accidents in your own country, that almost every travel insurance policy either excludes off piste OR is full on travel insurance and priced accordingly. I am already partially covered in that arena and only looking to cover problems off piste. Then I found one for that, but while they will cover my daughter, I'm too old. They refer me to another group, but then it's back to full trip insurance. There seems to be plenty of these policies for the UK. But so far I've come up with nothing for an old lady in Montana skiing in Austria.

Anyone?
 

slow-line-fast

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It's a tricky one, definitely read the fine print as you are doing, regarding off piste as well as home country. It's often classed as 'extreme sports' even though you might be just a metre or two off the piste.

I recall some options from Good Neighbor and from World Nomads, but that was a while ago (and I have no experience with claims).
 

Cheizz

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I have off-piste coverage in my travel insurance. I am not sure if a separate one exists.
You could send an email to one of the guiding agencies and ask them:
1. Whether or not insurance for off-piste is included in their services (or as an add-on);
2. If they know of insurance that you can get for going off-piste without the services of a guide.

For all 'playing just outside the piste markers' you would need the latter.
 

Primoz

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Somehow I thought that if you were skiing in Austria there was a small add-on you could buy for accidents off piste. But the Safety Card for Ski Arlberg states that it's for on piste only. So I went looking around for insurance and so far I've found that the insurance offered by the Austrian Alpine Club (AWS) is for accidents in your own country, that almost every travel insurance policy either excludes off piste OR is full on travel insurance and priced accordingly. I am already partially covered in that arena and only looking to cover problems off piste. Then I found one for that, but while they will cover my daughter, I'm too old. They refer me to another group, but then it's back to full trip insurance. There seems to be plenty of these policies for the UK. But so far I've come up with nothing for an old lady in Montana skiing in Austria.

Anyone?
If you mean with Austrian Alpine Club, this Alpenverein Osterreich (https://www.alpenverein.at/portal/service/mitgliedschaft/membership-benefits.php) then, I have exactly this. I can't say how it's if you are from US, but for EU it's valid in Austria and abroad (worldwide) with almost no limitations. Most of insurances I have exclude off piste skiing and most of them also exclude anything above 3000m. This one from Alpenverein Osterreich has off-piste and ski touring covered, as well as all sorts of climbing and I think limit is 6000 or 6500m, which is more then enough for me, as I doubt I will ever be skiing in Nepal :)
But don't ask me how it's in real life, as I'm happy I never needed it until now, and I hope I never will, so no real life experience except yearly payment and getting their magazine ever month or so :)
 

elemmac

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I looked into this last year for trip to Japan. Japan is similar to Austria in off-piste rescue (also different in many factors), but regardless of the differences, the similarity is that you're on the hook for the cost of a rescue if it's needed.

I looked into Ripcord Rescue, Global Rescue and MedJet as serious contenders. If you go onto any of their sites, they’re pretty easy to navigate, and their customer service was great for questions.

Then I looked extensively at my credit card travel insurance. I called my credit card company to talk about my situation and if there's any caveats that I was missing. They told me that it would fall under the emergency transportation benefit. But....(there's always a but)...you need to call them immediately and have them coordinate the emergency transportation (I believe all rescue insurances I looked into were the same). They have a 24-7 hotline for these situations. So I plugged their number into my phone and hoped we wouldn't need to use it.

It was a tough call to make, since I heard a lot about "normal" travel insurance not covering ski rescue, but I read through the full "Guide to Benefits" and the fine print, and didn't see anything about "extreme" sports as a whole. They did mention things like skydiving, deep sea diving, and some others (no skiing/snowboarding). And the fact that I called and verified that it would be covered (up to $100,000...I think).
 
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Sibhusky

Sibhusky

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I looked into this last year for trip to Japan. Japan is similar to Austria in off-piste rescue (also different in many factors), but regardless of the differences, the similarity is that you're on the hook for the cost of a rescue if it's needed.

I looked into Ripcord Rescue, Global Rescue and MedJet as serious contenders. If you go onto any of their sites, they’re pretty easy to navigate, and their customer service was great for questions.

Then I looked extensively at my credit card travel insurance. I called my credit card company to talk about my situation and if there's any caveats that I was missing. They told me that it would fall under the emergency transportation benefit. But....(there's always a but)...you need to call them immediately and have them coordinate the emergency transportation (I believe all rescue insurances I looked into were the same). They have a 24-7 hotline for these situations. So I plugged their number into my phone and hoped we wouldn't need to use it.

It was a tough call to make, since I heard a lot about "normal" travel insurance not covering ski rescue, but I read through the full "Guide to Benefits" and the fine print, and didn't see anything about "extreme" sports as a whole. They did mention things like skydiving, deep sea diving, and some others (no skiing/snowboarding). And the fact that I called and verified that it would be covered (up to $100,000...I think).
Which credit card? I've got everything booked on one at the moment. I'll have to see if there's travel insurance on it. EDIT: Very minimal, no medical, etc.
 
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Sibhusky

Sibhusky

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If you mean with Austrian Alpine Club, this Alpenverein Osterreich (https://www.alpenverein.at/portal/service/mitgliedschaft/membership-benefits.php) then, I have exactly this. I can't say how it's if you are from US, but for EU it's valid in Austria and abroad (worldwide) with almost no limitations. Most of insurances I have exclude off piste skiing and most of them also exclude anything above 3000m. This one from Alpenverein Osterreich has off-piste and ski touring covered, as well as all sorts of climbing and I think limit is 6000 or 6500m, which is more then enough for me, as I doubt I will ever be skiing in Nepal :)
But don't ask me how it's in real life, as I'm happy I never needed it until now, and I hope I never will, so no real life experience except yearly payment and getting their magazine ever month or so :)
After re-reading the AWS (Alpine Worldwide Service), as opposed to the single trip document, this may cover us.
 
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Sibhusky

Sibhusky

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It's a tricky one, definitely read the fine print as you are doing, regarding off piste as well as home country. It's often classed as 'extreme sports' even though you might be just a metre or two off the piste.

I recall some options from Good Neighbor and from World Nomads, but that was a while ago (and I have no experience with claims).
World Nomads re-directs me to Silver Nomads, which is useless.
 

elemmac

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Which credit card? I've got everything booked on one at the moment. I'll have to see if there's travel insurance on it. EDIT: Very minimal, no medical, etc.
I see your edit, but in case you want the info for the future, or if it helps anyone else looking: Chase Sapphire Reserve. It's a bit pricey yearly, but I very easily get it back in travel credit and travel perks.
 

Pat AKA mustski

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We used a policy from Nationwide. They have an exclusion for “extreme skiing” and heli skiing. When I followed up for a definition of extreme skiing, they defined it as anything “outside of the resort boundaries.” Technically off piste is still within the resort boundaries in many cases.
 

Cheizz

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Technically off piste is still within the resort boundaries in many cases.
According to American definitions maybe. But in Europe, there isn't such a thing as a boundary. I can imagine that they would argue that in Europe, the piste boundary is in fact the 'resort' boundary...
 
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Sibhusky

Sibhusky

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I think we'll use the Austrian Alpine Club membership insurance.

I managed to get the insurance I purchased for the cancelled trip extended to new dates and a higher $. So, all I needed was an off piste add-on, which this seems to address. If that hadn't happened, I was looking at Travelex.
 

PowHog

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SAR packages, which are rarely included in any insurance policies, can amount to costs astronomically high indeed, particularly in Switzerland but by now everywhere else also. An Alpine Club membership can fill in here and is pricier but will cover you for the entire Alps for a years. Contrary to many Swiss and French operations there is no add-on to the Arlberg ski pass available covering SAR and I am not aware of an insurance policy like the French Carte Neige.


The Arlberg Ski Club however provides SAR insurance for it's members. You could subscribe for a year (60 €) and will be covered for SAR - in that region only.

 

James

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Well there’s Rega membership for most of Switzerland. It’s a non-profit service which is pretty impressive , esp if you’re a Swiss citizen. I got it and discovered it’s not for the Valais though, where I was going. lol. But it’s so inexpensive I just renewed it.
Air-Glaciers covers most of France I think. I don’t understand if you really need it though in France as I think air rescue is covered? Or only for EU residents?
They have their Carte de Sauvetage. I see they finally updated their website.

 
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Sibhusky

Sibhusky

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SAR packages, which are rarely included in any insurance policies, can amount to costs astronomically high indeed, particularly in Switzerland but by now everywhere else also. An Alpine Club membership can fill in here and is pricier but will cover you for the entire Alps for a years. Contrary to many Swiss and French operations there is no add-on to the Arlberg ski pass available covering SAR and I am not aware of an insurance policy like the French Carte Neige.


The Arlberg Ski Club however provides SAR insurance for it's members. You could subscribe for a year (60 €) and will be covered for SAR - in that region only.

I read you have to ski there 3 years and be referred by a member to join.
 

PowHog

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I read you have to ski there 3 years and be referred by a member to join.
I haven't read through the entire website but if so that disqualifies it then. Try this instead since for 28 € you can insure your entire family for up to a year.


if you stay in Lech though that is the Vorarlberg region, not the state of Tirol. Try to contact them if the entire Arlberg region is covert or else the according insurance policy for Vorarlberg.
The Alpenverein/alpine Club only covers individual members afaIk.
 
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Sibhusky

Sibhusky

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The Alpenverein/alpine Club only covers individual members afaIk.
Well, she's 34, so at that point no one gives you family rates anyway. I think I really don't want to be worrying which side of some province line I'm on. Nevertheless, I'm bookmarking this for a January decision. Would we need both? It look like the Vorarlberg only takes direct bank deposits... I've found that to be really tricky from the US.​
 
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PowHog

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Would we need both? It look like the Vorarlberg only takes direct bank deposits... I've found that to be really tricky from the US.​
As said you need to inquire this with Mountain Rescue Tirol. Ask them whether they cover SAR expenses for the ENTIRE Arlberg ski resort. If not you need them to tell you their Vorarlberg counterparts and inquire with them separately.

EDIT: apparently you are covered all over Austria but to be sure best is to directly inquire with the mountain rescue headquarter in Vienna.

 
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