Are you well insured for skiing accidents?

[French podcast]

Every year, some 3.5 million Swiss go to the mountains to go skiing or snowboarding. And every year, there are on average 63,000 accidents* on the slopes. So it is definitely worthwhile to take a look at your insurance coverage before hurtling down our beautiful mountains… This coverage will depend on your status.

If you are a salaried employee working at least 8h/week for the same employer:

Non-professional accidents will be covered by the compulsory accident insurance (called the LAA) taken out by your employer. The LAA provides two types of benefit:
  • A benefit in kind: this means the reimbursement of medical treatment and auxiliary equipment (crutches, wheelchair, etc.) and also the costs of rescue and transport.
  • A cash benefit: the insurer will pay you daily indemnities to compensate for loss of earnings in the event you are unable to work.
Also, you will be able to take advantage of the optional supplementary LAAC contract, if your employer has chosen to subscribe to it. The LAAC also provides two types of benefit: a benefit in kind (for example: the reimbursement of medical expenses in a private ward) and a cash benefit (the extension of the basic coverage).

If you are a minor, a student or a retired person, (meaning without a professional activity) or an employee working less than 8h for the same employer:

It is the compulsory basic health insurance, the LAMal, that covers the expenses generated by the accident. Therefore, the following expenses will be reimbursed: costs of medical treatment, auxiliary equipment, the costs of rescue and transport after reduction for the deductible and the coinsurance. As a reminder, the total deductible can vary from 300 to 2,500 CHF depending on the choice of the person insured at the time the insurance is contracted and the partial deductible can engender a 10% participation in costs with a limit of 700 CHF/year.

You should also be aware of the limitations: the LAMal only covers the cost of a hospital stay in the public division as well as 50 % of the rescue costs in Switzerland (for a maximum amount of 500 CHF for transport by ambulance and 5,000 CHF/year for transport by helicopter).

In addition to the LAMal, you may have taken out supplementary health insurance, the LCA. This provides an extension of the basic coverage, such as hospitalisation in private division or cover for the share of rescue and transport not assumed by the LAMal.

If you are self-employed

You have the same coverage with the LAMal and the same limitations and reductions for the deductible and the coinsurance as those listed in the paragraph above. You can also take out private accident insurance which will cover you for both professional and non-professional accidents. Your medical expenses will be covered, without a deductible or coinsurance, and you will receive a pension if you are unable to work.

Regardless of the status, in the event of a serious violation of basic safety rules outside secured slopes, the person insured exposes themself to a reduction of the insurance benefits (daily indemnity and pension).

Our advice: call on a broker!

It is difficult to navigate through insurance contracts. So a translator is therefore to be recommended – and that is the role of your broker! Asking for advice is even more important as an accident can have severe consequences for your assets due to the costs entailed and also due to the loss of earnings risk. And then, unfortunately, there is the risk of loss of life due to an accident, and it is necessary to think of the survivors (children, spouse) and their protection.

To learn more, contact us:
058 178 85 99
* Source : the Swiss Council for Accident Protection BFU
Questions/answers to go further…
Are any insurances included in the ski pass?
Yes, and also with your credit card if you paid your ski pass with it! You should refer to the specific and general conditions as levels of coverage can be very different.
With the ski pass, you will be covered when you are skiing (and other related snow sports), linked to the use of ski lifts:
  • Reimbursement of the unused ski pass, ski classes not attended, rental of unused sports equipment.
  • Responsibility for the costs of rescue and transport, emergency medical costs (10,000 CHF maximum per season)
Who is responsible for transport by helicopter?

Several million evacuations take place by air every winter. One minute of flight in a helicopter costs approximately 100 CHF. So the invoice can rapidly take off from there. In an easily accessible zone in Switzerland, the average cost of a rescue by helicopter amounts to 2,500/3,500 CHF. If you are employed, you are covered by the LAA (the SUVA insures nearly half of all Swiss employees, or by a private insurer). If you are not professionally active or work less than 8h for the same employer, the cost of the accident will be borne by the LAMal and the LCA, if you have subscribed. Cf. article below

How do you know if you correctly insured?
In general terms, and in any domain, one should always carefully read the insurance contract as one might not be insured for some risks and have double insurance for others. Which is why it is always a good idea to go through an insurance broker.

Typically, the unused passes/classes/rental of material are reimbursed only by the insurances that come with the ski pass. On the other hand, all the other items like search and transport costs may already be covered elsewhere. These insurances come into play as a second line should there be any limitations.
Is the Rega an insurance?

The Swiss Air Ambulance, also known as REGA, like Air Glaciers or Air Zermatt, is not an insurance. However, if you are a donor to one of these rescue companies, you may be exempted from part or all of the costs that are not covered by insurance. We suggest that you refer to these companies.

Safety advice
More than 90 % of snow sports accidents are the fault of the victims themselves. The best insurance is to avoid accidents! To do so, it is essential to act as a “good shepherd” by applying the following recommendations:
  • Adjust your speed
  • Wear a helmet
  • Skiers, have your bindings checked every year
  • Snowboarders, wear wrist protection
  • Follow the rules of the International Ski Federation or SKUS
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