The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has warned British travellers to exercise caution as they take to the slopes during the upcoming winter ski season.
Thousands of holidaymakers will take to the pistes over the coming months, but just nearly a third admit to having no travel insurance accordance to research from the government body.
Furthermore, two thirds were unaware many travel insurance policies do not cover accidents that occur off-piste and only 16 per cent said they always read the small print on their insurance documents.
Phil Lord from the FCO Know Before You Go campaign said: “Winter sports come with risks but the fun can soon come to an end if you have an accident and are not insured.
“We strongly advise those hitting the slopes this winter to take out comprehensive travel insurance.
“Many skiers will be unaware that their insurance may not cover them if they have been drinking alcohol or for skiing off-piste. Medical treatment and repatriation can leave you thousands of pounds out of pocket - it’s just not worth the risk.”
European Health Insurance Cards
The survey also reveals some confusion around European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs), with just 53 per cent of those surveyed understanding what cover a card provides.
Many people wrongly believe that the card covers a helicopter ambulance, medical repatriation and transport off the slope with ski patrol.
Dr Laurence Bristow-Smith, British consul general in Milan, said: “Many British visitors on a skiing holiday are not familiar with a mountain environment – freezing temperatures, snow and ice and slippery terrain.
“Many of them are not aware alcohol can have a different effect when consumed at altitude.”
In early December, the FCO working with the ski industry and local authorities will launch safety campaigns in key European resorts.
For tips and advice on preparing for foreign travel visit the FCO website.