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Old 25.09.2020, 16:45
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Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

With the ski season on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about off piste skiing insurance. From my experience, this is a notoriously grey area.

I already checked with Allianz, the provider of my accident insurance (arranged for by my employer), who confirmed that I am NOT covered for accidents occurring off piste. As a newbie to Switzerland, I was wondering what the recommended insurance to use here is? Will I also need supplementary insurance to cover search and rescue?

Thanks in advance for your assistance!
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Old 25.09.2020, 16:50
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

I’ve never heard such a thing. As far as I know Swiss accident insurance covers all medical costs of any accident. If insured through your health insurance rather than work, you may need extra cover for heli rescue - rega!

And by law all accident insurance should have to cover the same things!
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Old 25.09.2020, 16:55
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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With the ski season on the horizon, it's time to start thinking about off piste skiing insurance. From my experience, this is a notoriously grey area.

I already checked with Allianz, the provider of my accident insurance (arranged for by my employer), who confirmed that I am NOT covered for accidents occurring off piste. As a newbie to Switzerland, I was wondering what the recommended insurance to use here is? Will I also need supplementary insurance to cover search and rescue?

Thanks in advance for your assistance!
I don't believe they can exclude anything, I would ask for confirmation in writing & the law that gives them the exemption.
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:02
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

Exclude no, reduce yes.


Check this article: https://www.nzz.ch/finanzen/fonds/we...ung-ld.1419317


Skiing outside the marked piste is explicitly mentioned in the article.
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:19
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

Depends if you deliberately cross red/orange taped areas which clearly say piste is closed, perhaps?
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:25
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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Exclude no, reduce yes.


Check this article: https://www.nzz.ch/finanzen/fonds/we...ung-ld.1419317


Skiing outside the marked piste is explicitly mentioned in the article.
All medical costs will be covered, same with temporary loss of income, it's just long term pension payments if you could never work again could be reduced.
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Depends if you deliberately cross red/orange taped areas which clearly say piste is closed, perhaps?
Depends on the risk & consequences, but I think unlikely, similar risk to installing a washing machine without permission when the landlord said it was not allowed when asked
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:37
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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I’ve never heard such a thing. As far as I know Swiss accident insurance covers all medical costs of any accident. If insured through your health insurance rather than work, you may need extra cover for heli rescue - rega!

And by law all accident insurance should have to cover the same things!
I read somewhere that becoming a Rega patron doesn't automatically entitle you to free rescue. It's basically a donation. I'll see if I can dig up the info.
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:45
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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I don't believe they can exclude anything, I would ask for confirmation in writing & the law that gives them the exemption.
Unfortunately, this seems to be easier said than done. I've already asked them to send me the documents three times, but still waiting
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:49
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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I read somewhere that becoming a Rega patron doesn't automatically entitle you to free rescue. It's basically a donation. I'll see if I can dig up the info.
The way it works is Rega ‘offers’ to pay costs not covered by your insurance. In practice they do, but they are not contractually obliged to.
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:51
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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I read somewhere that becoming a Rega patron doesn't automatically entitle you to free rescue. It's basically a donation. I'll see if I can dig up the info.
I always take French insurance for mountain rescue, either assursport https://www.assurmix.com/sport-insurance or carte neige https://carreneige.com/en/

I can confirm assursport paid €2806.50 helicopter rescue when I broke my back off-piste in February 2018. Turbine was running for 50 minutes & the entire mission was 1hr 28 minutes. They also paid out a further €3000 for ambulances between hospitals & returning home, medical excess not covered by other insurance, loss of use of lift pass. Not bad pay out for a premium of €49.95
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:53
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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The way it works is Rega ‘offers’ to pay costs not covered by your insurance. In practice they do, but they are not contractually obliged to.
Gotcha, thanks!

And please excuse my ignorance, but if you required helicopter-assisted rescuing off a mountain, is it always going to be Rega, or are other helicopter rescue services also used in Switzerland?
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:57
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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I always take French insurance for mountain rescue, either assursport https://www.assurmix.com/sport-insurance or carte neige https://carreneige.com/en/

I can confirm assursport paid €2806.50 helicopter rescue when I broke my back off-piste in February 2018. Turbine was running for 50 minutes & the entire mission was 1hr 28 minutes. They also paid out a further €3000 for ambulances between hospitals & returning home, medical excess not covered by other insurance, loss of use of lift pass. Not bad pay out for a premium of €49.95
Very sorry to hear about your accident, sounds scary. On the flip side, most stock market pundits would be very jealous of that level of return! You win some, you lose some
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Old 25.09.2020, 17:58
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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Gotcha, thanks!

And please excuse my ignorance, but if you required helicopter rescue off a mountain, is it always going to be Rega, or are other helicopter rescue services also used in Switzerland?
It could be other operators, Air Zermatt for example, French operators or whoever is nearest you when you need rescuing. My rescue was carried out by a Police helicopter from Courchavel in France.
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Old 25.09.2020, 18:20
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

My wife and I are members of both Rega and Air Glaciers ...
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Old 25.09.2020, 18:26
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

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Gotcha, thanks!

And please excuse my ignorance, but if you required helicopter-assisted rescuing off a mountain, is it always going to be Rega, or are other helicopter rescue services also used in Switzerland?
It depends on the region. In some areas REGA don't actually operate themselves, as there is an existing helicopter operation. FMF has mentioned several - around us there's another operator called Air Glacier that seems to cover the whole of the PdS region.

But you needn't worry about calling a different number - you can still use the 1414 number which will be redirected to the appropriate operation.
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Old 25.09.2020, 18:31
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

And REGA is not limited to Switzerland. A friend became ill in Tunisia- and REGA doctors communicated about her treatment and were concerned. They went to pick her up from Tunisia in small private plane with a nurse and a REGA doctor. The best membership ever.


OH loves it because the card says 'Gonner' on it. We also have kids and grandkids as members, using our CH address - with their permission. Only issue there is that they would be repatriated to our address, not theirs in UK.
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Old 25.09.2020, 18:58
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

The M-i-L of a friend of ours became seriously ill on a cruise somewhere off the east coast of India. No visa for India either. Rega sorted it all out. Sent one of their Challengers and brought her home.

They are really a hidden jewel.
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Old 25.09.2020, 19:35
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

Bottom line; if you have Swiss accident insurance plus Rega or Air Zermatt membership you’re good to go accident wise! They have to cover any accident, be it off-piste, paragliding, scuba diving etc etc! The person you spoke to is talking bull shit or something has been lost in translation!
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Old 25.09.2020, 21:27
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

Thanks everyone. So the consensus seems to be that my mandatory accident insurance plus Rega should be sufficient. I'm a little surprised that there isn't just a single insurance product aimed at off piste skiers, but you learn something new every day.
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Old 25.09.2020, 21:41
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Re: Off piste skiing/snowboarding insurance

REGA however will not garantee to come to your rescue if you choose to go out in very dangerous areas when high avalanche warnings- they have to put their staff safety first.
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