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A Complete Guide To Winter Sports & Ski Holiday Insurance for Manitobans

Person on a Ski Holiday
December 24, 2021


Itching to get out and play winter sports this season? Dying to pack up your ski equipment and hit the slopes? We’re with you! But don’t forget to buy your travel and health insurance before you go. This post will help you navigate winter holiday obstacles like getting sick, getting hurt, having your trip cancelled on you, and losing your equipment—with the confidence and grace of a winter Olympian!

Travel Health Insurance 101

No matter how you live your life, accidents and unforeseen events can happen. But if you’re into winter sports, extreme sports, and booking skiing holidays in the mountains, you probably know you’re taking on a little more risk. And even though the risk is what makes the reward, if you’re not covered by the right insurance, the risk can also cost you a lot of money! Whenever you travel out of the province, if something goes wrong, you may be responsible for any additional or excess costs of emergency medical care—which can make even the best skiing drip go downhill way too fast. We want to help you avoid these worst-case travel scenarios—or at least mitigate their effects on your life!—by making sure you’re as prepared as possible. That’s why whenever you leave Manitoba, we always recommend buying travel insurance.

Basic travel insurance protects you from having to pay out of pocket in the event that you get hurt or sick while outside of Manitoba. Standard coverage includes all of the usual, customary, and reasonable hospital, medical, and related expenses you would expect to incur following an unexpected, sudden, or unforeseen emergency illness or accident outside of Manitoba. (Things like hospital stays, medical treatments, and prescription drugs or devices.) Without basic travel insurance, you would likely have to cover all of these costs out of pocket.

Standard Travel Health Insurance Coverage for Manitobans

The basic version of travel health insurance coverage includes:

#1 Hospital & Medical Services Coverage

You’ll be covered for hospital services, paramedical assistance services, any drugs or medicines you need, medical appliances, any child care you require during hospitalization, private-duty nursing, eyeglass and contact lens replacement, and, you’ll receive a hospital in-patient allowance.

#2 Boarding & Lodging Coverage

Any required boarding or lodging, like in-patient hospitalization, will be covered.

#3 Transportation Benefits

If you require ambulance services, a dependent escort, an emergency remote evacuation, a medical evacuation or air ambulance services, or if you need your personal items returned home for you, you’ll be covered. Transportation benefits also cover repatriation if a person is deceased while traveling, as well as any return of pet/vet charges, return of vehicle, and any required transportation to identify a deceased person.

#4 Emergency Dental Care Coverage

Basic travel insurance will cover any accidental or emergency dental care while away. (Hockey players, rejoice!)

#5 Automatic Extensions

Basic travel insurance also grants you access to automatic extensions—but only for covered circumstances. Check with your Insurance Consultant when purchasing your plan to make sure you’re getting all the coverage that you need based on your specific circumstances.

Does Travel Health Insurance Cover Skiing?

Simply put, no. Your basic travel health insurance will not sufficiently cover skiing or a ski holiday (but there are travel insurance add-ons and extensions that will!). Other things that basic travel insurance does not cover include:

  • Abuse of Alcohol, Drugs or Intoxicants
  • Charges for Travelling Time
  • Continuing Health Care
  • Driving While Impaired 
  • Expected Medical Treatments
  • Flight Accidents
  • High-Risk Sports and Sports Activities

High-risk sports and sport activities includes any extreme sport and any activity involving a level or risk like hang gliding, paragliding, mountain climbing, mountaineering, combat sports, competitions, speed events, or other high-risk activities involving the use of a motor vehicle on land, water, or air—including training activities. (Whew! Did you get all that?)

Does Travel Health Insurance Cover Backcountry Skiing?

Sorry, this is another no. When insurance companies say they won’t cover “high-risk sports,” that includes participating in, training, or practicing in any areas that have been closed off to public access or can only be accessed by crossing a fenced, gated, or roped-off area that has been marked as off-limited according to safety authorities. That means no backcountry skiing and snowboarding, no downhill freestyle skiing and snowboarding (even if organized competitions), no high-risk snowmobiling, and no ice climbing, mountaineering, or rock climbing. (Even if you’re playing the sport professionally!)

This might all feel like a major letdown—but thankfully these sports are only off-limits insurance-wise if you have basic travel insurance. There are plenty of travel insurance add-ons and extensions that will give you the coverage you need!

Winter Sport & Skiing Insurance Options That Are Worth The Cost

Basic travel health insurance coverage is good—but it’s not always enough. Especially for winter sport enthusiasts, since it doesn’t cover skiing, weather-related trip cancellation, or high-risk activities. Thankfully, if that’s you, you still have options!

Some insurance companies offer extensions to their basic travel insurance coverages—things like Sports and Activities coverage—which will cover the costs of any “reasonable and customary expenses” for medical and related expenses up to your coverage limits. That means with these insurance add-ons, if you suffer an acute, sudden, and unexpected medical condition while participating, training, or practicing for a specified list of sports or activities, you won’t have to pay out of pocket for medical care.

Want to ski through life without all the hassle and stress unforeseen events can cause? Although we can’t promise you a stress or hassle-free life (but wouldn’t that be nice!), we can help ease the pain caused by not having the right coverage.

If you’re in your 20s or 30s and are just starting to think about insurance beyond what you may have gotten from work/ your province, we recommend downloading our free Guide To Insurance For Manitobans in their 20s and 30s. Here, we outline some coverage that is definitely worth the cost, especially when you’re young and can capitalize on lower premiums!

Sports & Activities Insurance

If you’re a winter sports enthusiast, we can’t recommend the Sports & Activities travel insurance extension enough! It covers those higher-risk sports, including:

  • Backcountry skiing/snowboarding
  • Ice climbing
  • Mountaineering
  • Rock climbing
  • Downhill freestyle skiing/snowboarding in organized competitions
  • Downhill mountain biking
  • High-risk snowmobiling
  • Motorized speed contests
  • Skydiving

Just remember that this coverage only applies if your medical expenses result from an emergency that occurs after coverage begins (including after any waiting periods). And, that emergency must have taken place while you were travelling outside of your province or territory of residence. That means if you have a pre-existing or chronic condition, or if you get sick or injured before your coverage is locked in, you won’t receive financial support.

Related: How To Insure A Snowmobile in Manitoba

Extreme Sports Insurance

“Basic” sports refers to any recreational activity or traditional sports, and these types of activities are almost always covered by basic insurance. But if you’re someone who engages in extreme sports regularly or while traveling, you could benefit from extreme sports insurance.

“Extreme sports” refers to any sporting or recreational activity that lies outside the normal rules or limits of traditional sports. It can also refer to an activity that’s made extreme or dangerous by modifying equipment and locales, or where there’s a high probability of physical danger, or risk of injury or death, as a result of participation. If you like taking extreme risks, you won’t want to pass up extreme sports coverage.

Related: A Guide to Extreme Sports Insurance

Trip Cancellation & Interruption Insuranced

Winter trips can be cancelled, postponed, or derailed for all kinds of reasons. There are the big ones, like pandemics, and the smaller ones, like bad snow conditions. If you think you may want to reserve your right to cancel or reschedule your winter holiday or ski trip, then you may want to invest in Trip Cancellation or Interruption Insurance.

Trip Cancellation Insurance is a pre-departure benefit that can reimburse 100% of your trip costs if you need to cancel your trip for a covered reason. (The most common covered reason is unforeseen illness, injury, or death of the traveler, a traveling companion, or a non-traveling family member.) 

Trip Interruption Insurance covers the costs of travel plans being unexpectedly cut short, where the traveler must return home. It also covers you if an unexpected interruption, like a major weather event, forces you to stay at your destination longer than you’d originally planned.

Manitoba Winter Sport & Ski Insurance FAQs

Q: If I get hurt playing a winter sport like skiing, am I covered?

A: Yes! Travel health insurance covers you in most emergency medical situations while traveling. So whether you break an arm or leg skiing, you fall and break your hip on the ice, you contract an illness or a disease, or you break a tooth, you’ll be protected financially.

Q: If something happens and I have to cancel my holiday, am I covered?

A: Under regular travel insurance, no, you won’t be, because trip interruption and cancellation insurance is not included with standard travel insurance. However, you can buy Trip Cancellation Insurance, Trip Interruption Insurance, or Cancel Anytime Insurance, which would cover you in these scenarios. Just be aware that there are time limits around when these add-ons can be purchased. Typically, you need to purchase within 72 hours of your first travel insurance payment.

Q: If my airline or the country I plan to visit cancels my holiday, am I covered for hotels, lift tickets, etc.?

A: If you purchased Trip Cancellation insurance before your trip, then yes, you could submit a claim to be reimbursed for costs like hotels and lift tickets. Simply contact your travel insurance company or broker who will support you in making the claim through your Trip Cancellation insurance.

Q: What if after I go, something happens and I need a new flight back? 

A: If you purchased Trip Interruption Insurance before your trip, then yes! You could claim the additional travel expense through that policy. 

Q: What if I get there, but my ski equipment doesn’t, and I need to rent for the trip? 

A: Same as above, if you purchased Trip Interruption insurance before your trip, you could claim the additional costs that way!

Accessing Health Care Outside of Manitoba with Travel Insurance

Once you’ve secured your travel insurance, If you’re visiting another Canadian province or territory and need hospital or medical care, all you’ll need to do is show your Manitoba Health Card. In most cases, the doctor and hospital bills will be sent directly to Manitoba Health and/or Seniors Care for processing.

If you’re admitted on an emergency basis to a hospital outside of Canada, Manitoba Health and/or Seniors Care will pay for the services you need based on established daily rates established in Manitoba. If you need to make a claim, the doctor or hospital bills you for the outstanding premiums. If your claim is approved, you’ll be reimbursed when you get home.

Some Risks Are Worth Taking. Traveling Without Insurance Isn’t One Of Them.

We’re all for taking calculated risks on the slopes—but when it comes to your finances and your health and well-being? Not so much! If you’re Manitoban and you plan to travel for winter sports or skiing this season, we can help you ensure you have the essential travel health insurance you need, plus any add-ons like Sports & Activities coverage, or Trip Interruption and Cancellation insurance.

Contact us today or request a free travel health insurance quote online to get started!