Having no insurance could prove costly wipe-out for skiers

Poll shows Londoners and Welsh most likely to attempt tricks on snow

10 February 2015

Skiers from London and Wales could be left trading stories in hospital as research* suggests they are most daring when it comes to attempting jumps, tricks and going off the beaten track. The poll, commissioned by Nationwide Building Society, also highlights the need for winter sports insurance for all ages, with 15% of skiers aged 55-plus intending to attempt risky manoeuvres.

Half-term is one of the busiest periods for winter sports, with many families heading to Europe and beyond at a time when conditions are ripe. However, not all travel insurance policies include winter sports, whether those bought as standalone policies or through a packaged current account. Nationwide is therefore suggesting customers check their insurance is adequate for their planned activity.

The research reveals one in ten (11%) are unaware whether their travel insurance covers winter sports when they hit the slopes. This is despite a quarter (25%) of people who have participated in winter sports having been injured; with bruising, knee damage, sprains, dislocated shoulders and injuries to the coccyx - an issue linked to snowboarding - being the most commonly experienced.

This injury roll-call isn’t helped by the risks taken by skiers and snowboarders across the UK. According to the poll, more than a fifth of London and Welsh winter sports enthusiasts (22%) signalled their intent to attempt jumps, tricks and ski off-piste. Second most daring are the Northern Irish, at 21%. This compares to just one in ten people living in the East and North West (10%), and only 7% in the South West (see full table in Notes to Editors)

Paul Wootton, who heads up Nationwide’s FlexPlus packaged current account, which provides winter sports cover for the family as standard, said: “As thousands of winter sports fans head to the slopes during half-term, it can be all too easy to assume we’re covered for our chosen activity. We would always advise making sure before it’s too late. As confident as people are at skiing or snowboarding, it really isn’t worth the risk for the sake of a few pounds. Aside from the obvious risk of injury, there’s also the risk of unexpected issues such as piste closures and avalanches. With the Nationwide FlexPlus packaged current account, a range of benefits are on offer for just £10 a month. This includes worldwide family travel insurance, which covers winter sports as standard.”

Despite just one per cent of those surveyed stating that their winter sports insurance claims were rejected, only about a third (35%) believed that their policy would cover all costs in the event of injury. Equally, only a third (34%) of respondents said they believed their travel insurance would cover all their transport costs back home.

Nationwide’s FlexPlus packaged current account was ranked the “best on the market” by Which? in 2014. It offers Worldwide Family Travel Insurance and is the only provider to offer combined winter sports, golf, wedding and business cover as standard. It will cover ski pack, ski equipment, hired skis, piste closures, avalanche closure, physiotherapy following a skiing accident and delayed ski equipment as well as medical expenses up to the value of £10 million. Off-piste skiing under the supervision of a professional guide is also covered.

Notes to Editors:

According to the survey, the regional breakdown of people’s commitment to attempt jumps, tricks and go off-piste is as follows:

London: 22%;
Wales: 22%
Northern Ireland: 21%
North East: 20%
East Midlands: 20%
Yorkshire/ The Humber: 15%
Scotland: 15%
West Midlands: 15%
South East: 14%
Eastern: 10%
North West: 10%
South West: 7%

* Research provided by Consumer Intelligence. Total sample size was 2,651 UK adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th – 21st January 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults (aged 18+).

FlexPlus Key Information

Full information can be found at http://www.nationwide.co.uk/products/current-accounts/flexplus/features-and-benefits

Account Eligibility

  • FlexPlus is open to new and existing customers aged 18 years and over
  • Single and joint account options available

Account Fee

  • FlexPlus has a £10 per month fee

Credit Interest

  • 3% AER (2.96% gross p.a) on credit balances up to £2,500
  • Credit interest is not payable on balances over £2,500


  • Worldwide Family Travel insurance (provided by U K Insurance Limited)
  • Worldwide Family Mobile Phone Insurance
  • UK and European Breakdown and Recovery Assistance
  • Extended Warranty Cover
  • ID Theft Assistance
  • Worldwide Emergency Card Assistance

Exclusions and limitations apply to all FlexPlus insurances. 

About Nationwide

Nationwide is the world's largest building society as well as one of the largest savings providers and a top-three provider of mortgages in the UK. It is also a major provider of current accounts, credit cards, ISAs and personal loans. Nationwide has around 15 million customers.

Customers can manage their finances in a branch, via the mobile app, on the telephone, internet and post. The Society has around 18,000 employees. Nationwide's head office is in Swindon with administration centres based in Northampton, Bournemouth and Dunfermline. The Society also has a number of call centres across the UK.

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