Ski Travel Insurance

Discussion in 'Passport' started by wat17, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Dave6

    Dave6 Dedicated Member
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    Pachinko - did you have the MRI overseas or back home?

    Have they covered all you other overseas medical expenses?
     
  2. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    The insurance company looks after the amount of care required to get you home. The costs of care at home are yours.
    My wife did her ACL two years ago, same deal with another insurance company. The cost of getting a knee recosntruction in the US at the time was $15K. In Aust its about $5K and many people have health insurance reducing that cost further.

    My wife is in her second week in a Sapporo hospital after being airlifted from Niseko 10 days ago (yes two majors in three years). The insurance company has been fantastic so far. There will be issues that need care at home but is not normal for the insurance company to cover those expenses.
     
  3. LMB

    LMB Part of the Furniture
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    Sorry to hear about your wife sli1, that is really unfortunate.
     
    #103 LMB, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  4. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    LMB,
    It is a major hassle but perspective is important. People involved in her rescue are probably members of this forum. Like me, they probably thought her chances of survival, or at least recovery to a normal life were very unlikely. At this stage there is no reason to believe she won't fully recover (despite probably requiring an op in Oz).

    Like any insurance company, ours will want us to get home ASAP so their bills stop!
     
  5. LMB

    LMB Part of the Furniture
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    Woah! Sli1... This was a big accident. Did I miss an earlier mention?
    I wish her all the best for a speedy recovery.
    And you sound like you could do with a mate to buy you a beer and listen for a while!!
    [​IMG]
     
    #105 LMB, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  6. SuskiQ

    SuskiQ Part of the Furniture
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    [​IMG] So sorry to hear Sli1 - Wow! That sounds really nasty.

    Wishing your wife the very best possible recovery.
     
    #106 SuskiQ, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  7. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    Those that have said they would never take out travel insurance should also include in their judgement the removal of headache that the companies provide in a really stressful situation. Ie it can be more than a question of pure $. My wife's current situation in Japan was life threatening. Calling the travel insurance company to let them know what happened meant that they were able to tell me that they would take of the hopsital bill directly as well as book the extra accoomodation I needed, pay both those bills directly, and change my flights at their expense. If you are ever put in this type of emergency situation - you will appreciate how much time is taken up with your partner in hospital, getting medical answers, updating family and friends, etc. It is good have some load taken off your shoulders by the company. Additionally, I can only imagine that our bill (if we didn't have insurance)will be $20-30K. I'm not sure how many of the very wealthy tend to have that sitting around as readily available cash.

    I'm different to most. I would say the amount of costs Travel insurance has protected us from is vastly greater than the premiums we have paid.
     
  8. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    I haven't mentioned the accident earlier, there has been so many things to worry about I haven't been looking at the forum. A few times when I was walking to and from the hospital I was thinking about this thread and those who questioned whether travel insurance was worth it. Everyone is different and if you have access to large amounts of cash at short notice then I can see the thinking that leads you to not getting travel insurance. I also think insurance becomes worth a lot more when you are in a foreign speaking country!
     
  9. LMB

    LMB Part of the Furniture
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    I can't imagine the worry!
    Our very best wishes for you both; hoping you can get home soon.
     
  10. skiflat

    skiflat Just Registered

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    sli1 - Hope all works out

    Travel insurance is needed in ANY country

    People that travel without it (except to NZ) are beyond stupid
     
  11. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    Thank you for all your best wishes. My wife is improving slowly. Just have no idea when we can she can get out of hospital or when we will be going home yet !
     
  12. Doonks

    Doonks Let's cook!
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    sli1, WTF happened? (if you don't mind my asking)
     
  13. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    The very short story is that she has hit a tree, with her head, fractured her skull and bruised her brain while off-piste and required an airlift directly to Sapporo.

    The longer story involves the frantic effort of finding her ( I didn't see it happen) and having to skin up to her. From the point of seeing her from some 80 meters below I thought she was gone. She was mangled in a tree, lifeless, not responding to my calls. When I got to her there was blood coming from her ear (her brain was obviously hemmorhagging) and nose and she had blood and puke all down her hair and she was peridically vomiting blood onto herself. She was unconscious but somehow there was pulse. The next two hours were intense - lots happened with the rescuers but she remained unconscious and that pulse somehow kept going until she was winched onto a chopper (it couldn't land where we were). Before she was winched onto the chopper, she was zipped into what we would commonly call a body bag. At that point I didn't know if she was still alive. She had been in the bag for a while and winching people onto a chopper involves an intense operation all spoken in Japanese. It is also noisy and uncomfortable with the amount of snow being blown around. All this time while we waited for her to be airlifted out, I expected the pulse to stop. I also thought that if help arrived in time that she could be saved but would basically be a vegetable.

    It would be about 5 or 6 hours later until I saw her in hospital where I was told she was still unconscious. The doctors were confident she would regain consciousness but couldn't give certainty around her brain function. I was allowed to see her in ICU and when I asked her if she could hear me to squeeze my hand - she did! I was shocked and looked at the doctor who said this was normal.

    Anyway the story is way too long to go into all the detail but we are both eternally grateful for all of those involved in the rescue, again I suspect some would be members of this forum. Also the Australian Consulate in Sapporo, who without their help I wouldn't have even found the hospital let alone get into it late at night. They have contiuned to provide amazing support.

    My wife is recovering, her brain will basically recover although her eyes have been dislocated in the head trauma (can't tell externally) and therefore her vison is blurry and double). This will require glasses and (if she wants to ) surgery in Oz to ultimately correct.
     
  14. JoeKing

    JoeKing Part of the Furniture
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    Jesus Christ.
     
  15. Fonty

    Fonty Active Member

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    My best wishes go out to you and your wife Sli 1. I know exactly how you must be feeling. We also spent 2 weeks in Teine hospital in Sapporo with our youngest son 3 years ago. He was transported though by ambulance from Kutchan. It was the worst two weeks of our lives. I honestly thought one night we were going to lose him. [​IMG] The insurance company were great and organised everything for us. I too often think if we hadn't had that insurance we would of had to take a second mortgage out on our house. I really wish you both all the best. You are in great hands, I have nothing but praise for the doctors and nurses that looked after our son.
     
    #115 Fonty, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  16. Whiteman

    Whiteman Addicted Member
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    OMFG Sli, Me & Caz are in shock!!

    We hope everything improves and she is OK in the end. Our thoughts and best wishes are with you and the family.
     
  17. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    Thanks Guys,
    It is easy to think that skiing isn't that dangerous if you aren't hucking cliffs and trying to outrun avalanches but....although my wife has a spirit of adventure, she is no speed demon on skis, yet this happened. For the days after the event I wished that I could unsee her in the condition that I found her. Now I see it differently. That memory makes us more vigilant in asessing risks and having contingencies in place. Fonty, I'm sure you wouldn't have dreamt it was possible for your son to narrowly escape death while skiing and I notice that two people died at Niseko by skiing into crack the day after my wife's accident. The sport does carry danger and insurance is probably the last line of defence with these things - ideally we prevent our holiday from becoming a nightmare before it gets to insurance !

    Whitey, hope all is well and Caz's feet aren't giving her too much grief. I'm sure all will be OK here in the end but there was no certainty in the first 48 hrs.
     
  18. SuskiQ

    SuskiQ Part of the Furniture
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    Holy Cow Sli!
    I did 7yrs of Volly Ski Patrol and thankfully never had to deal with an incident as serious as your wife's. I can only begin to imagine what you have both been through. Hat's off to you and all the team involved in her rescue and recovery.

    You are correct in saying that insurance is a last line of defence but it really is that one thing you want right when it turns pear-shaped.

    My thoughts are with you both and hope she is on the mend and you are both able to get home soon.
     
  19. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    SuziQ, In the end there were 9 other skier/boarders, a fireman, 3 snowmobile mounted paramedics, two parmedics dropped from a chopper and the chopper involved.

    Sounds like the stuff out of a movie or something that happens to someone else doesn't it?

    Yet we were skiing an off-piste slope in great snow on a beatiful sunny day - something we have done many times and we have skiied that area before, and it all went wrong. I can only say take note of what can go wrong and plan accordingly.
     
  20. Dave6

    Dave6 Dedicated Member
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    That just about sums it up.

    Hope everything works out sli1.
     
    #120 Dave6, Feb 4, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  21. Born2ski

    Born2ski Part of the Furniture

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    All the best sli1, I hope your wife continues her recovery.
     
  22. Donza

    Donza Pool Room

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    Mate..
    I just read that post. Just horrific...I put myself in your shoes..
    Imagined what it would be like
    Youre a hell of a man to be so supportive and level headed.


    Horrific
    but oddly inspiring.
    Knowing how the human spirit can endure.

    wish you and your wife the speediest of recoveries.
     
  23. climberman

    climberman CloudRide1000 Legend
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    Fk me sli.

    Hope it continues as well as it can for you and the better half.

    Who were (are) you insured with?
     
  24. Sandy

    Sandy Dark Sith Lord of the Pool Room
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    Sheesh..... [​IMG]

    I hope everything goes extremely well from here on.....
     
    #124 Sandy, Feb 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  25. skiflat

    skiflat Just Registered

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    sli1 I can't begin to imagine how you felt dealing with this both then and now!

    Glad all seems to be going well [​IMG]
     
    #125 skiflat, Feb 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  26. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    Thanks guys,
    I don't want to jump the gun on giving roses to the insurance company until we leave hospital and Japan. At that point it will be fair to say they have taken care of the majority of things and there will be a relatively small portion of expenses left for me to claim. They have been very good to now and deserve public credit.
     
  27. skichanger

    skichanger Dedicated Member
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    Puts a dislocated shoulder or a broken wrist in perspective. And may explain why the person with the broken wrist got temporarily sent away (I am assuming it is the same hospital and I note they told us rather than complained about that happening [​IMG] )

    Hope it all continues as best as possible.

    At some time in the future when things are relatively resolved and if you are so inclined, I reckon it would be beneficial to lots of us, to recount what has happened, what went well and what you would do differently to do things better.

    So important to realise that even when you are in the same place doing the same thing and doing nothing extreme - stuff happens!

    And I think I will be reviewing our travel insurance!
     
    #127 skichanger, Feb 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  28. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    Yes Skichanger, the incident deserves a separate post, I am keen to hear people's thoughts. I'm sure it would create lots dicsussion and debate. You can imagine I have spent a lot of time alone since the accident to think how risks can be mitigated in the future. I have held off on writing a post to this point for various reasons.

    I will probably put it in Backcountry although many of the issues in this case are around language and may deserve to be in the Travel/Japan thread.
     
  29. skiflat

    skiflat Just Registered

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    Pretty much all travel insurance excludes OFF-PISTE and when I confirmed about 8 policies what they meant by OFF-PISTE

    That is ANY skiing not on a marked groomed run

    Between the trees between marked runs = OFF PISTE

    Down a marked run that has not been groomed = OFF PISTE

    Columbus covers OFF-PISTE but only with a guide [​IMG]

    http://www.ski-insurance.com.au/ Cover anywhere in the resort boundaries [​IMG]

    NB: Do you own research before buying [​IMG]
     
    #129 skiflat, Feb 5, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  30. skichanger

    skichanger Dedicated Member
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    I would leave writing that sort of post for a while. And there will be other relatively trivial things that would have different outcomes that you will know about by then. Hindsight is always amazing.

    And because I am one of the few Aussies with a lodge where I am in Japan you have me thinking about some little things I may do here to have things in place that would help someone in your situation.

    Really brings home the point about not skiing alone as well. I am about to give one of my boys a big talking to about this as he wants to be allowed to ski alone.
     
  31. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    skichanger - I don't know if this service exists but here is something I have been thinking about. Is there an emergency number for the Niseko/Iwanai/Rusutsu/Yotei area where one can call an english speaker in winter for such an emergency. Or do people just rely on calling their lodgeowner/someone else who might be able to speak both languages if something goes wrong.
     
  32. skichanger

    skichanger Dedicated Member
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    Hey that is a very good idea. And exactly the sort of improvement that can come from what has happened to you. You would think that the embassy would help but I think it is outside their brief.

    I am in Myoko Kogen so not near Niseko but I have some contacts in the Australian businesses up there and will pass that suggestion on to them as well as raise it with some people here.

    I speak no Japanese myself and rely on the staff at the tourist centre, the other westerners who run businesses here and a few Japanese who speak English. And I know how difficult it is - try getting building work done!
     
  33. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    It could be that english speakers getting into real trouble off-piste just doesn't happen enough to warrant a service.
     
  34. skichanger

    skichanger Dedicated Member
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    I am inclined to think that is more that no-one has really thought about it. In Niseko there are a lot of Westerners some of whom speak some Japanese. Where I am there are 2 I know of who live here permanently - married to Japanese women. And until this season there have only been a few westerners come to ski. This season it has gone besirk. So it is only a matter of time before we have some accidents here - stuff happens regardless of how careful or prepared or experienced you are. We have had 2 relatively minor shoulder injuries at my place alone.
     
  35. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    I previously didn't want to give a public bouquet to the insurance company in this event too early. However, they have been excellent through a trying time and have covered enough expenses and issues to this point that I am comfortable with everything working out.

    We insured with www.travel4less.com.au who have a policy that clearly covers off-piste skiing.

    My wife was checked out of hospital this morning. Insurance covered the bill of $AUD 17,500 and my initial estimate of the whole event costing about $25K look pretty accurate. They are now looking at flights home for us.
     
    #135 sli1, Feb 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  36. spaceman347

    spaceman347 Active Member

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    Good to hear that your wife is on the mend sli1. [​IMG]
     
    #136 spaceman347, Feb 8, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2013
  37. conradskis

    conradskis Dedicated Member

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    Do you mean Insure4less?
     
  38. Whiteman

    Whiteman Addicted Member
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    Yes, I'm pretty sure he does mean Insure4less.

    That is great news Sli. Hope it all goes well.

    It is certainly a big reality check for those of us that naively think that travel insurance is for lost luggage or cancelled flights. When something goes seriously wrong it's nice to know you have good back-up.
     
  39. LMB

    LMB Part of the Furniture
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    thanks for the update. SO glad to hear that. You and your wife have often crossed my mind this week, and have been the catalyst to discuss insurance options with sons mates who are currently planning/booking trips and were intending on going insurance-less, coz you know...late teen/young adult = bulletproof.
    Thank you for sharing your experience, and may your wife continue to improve rapidly. [​IMG]
     
    #139 LMB, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2013
  40. hpsauce

    hpsauce Dedicated Member

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    It is so refreshing to read the policy statements from them re backcountry skiing.
    It must be a clear market leader in coverage for this activity
     
  41. Rimey

    Rimey Dedicated Member
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    Sli1 ... Gulp.
    Looking forward to the happy ending.

    Sli, you were on the first AST course at Jindy in 2011 ?
    When did you move to Brisbane ?
     
  42. EquatorBunny

    EquatorBunny Active Member

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    Gosh...I don't know how to react to the accident Sli.

    The will strength of both of you is just remarkable! I wish for speedy recovery for your wife.

    Now it's time for me to really read the PDS!
     
  43. dawooduck

    dawooduck Pool Room
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    Sli1, quick a story. Best wishes from my clan to yours on the speedy recovery of your wife.

    Thanks for the issure4less reference. I note they have “rescue†cover of $5k included in their top level including snowsports.

    Did you make a claim under the “rescue†section ?
     
  44. Incider

    Incider Dedicated Member

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    Thanks for the story. And wishes for a speedy recovery.

    As a result I've just arranged insurance with Insure4less.
     
  45. Incider

    Incider Dedicated Member

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    I'm not interested in baggage claims, passports stolen, mugging allowance, etc - as far I'm concerned these events are a case of "sh!t happens" - the only reason I bother with insurance is for medical bills.
     
    #145 Incider, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  46. dawooduck

    dawooduck Pool Room
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    Yeh me too. Its a pity I cannot opt out of some of the fluff and add more of the important items.
     
  47. hpsauce

    hpsauce Dedicated Member

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    ...on that note...another refreshing thing was that it actively prompted you to nominate dates for general travel insurance...and the snow sport component. So you wouldn't have to pay for snowsports cover for whole time away if not required.

    Maybe others do this also but this is the first quote work up I've don't that actively prompts it.
     
  48. dr80

    dr80 Well-Known Member
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    Just checked out their online quote; excellent stuff!
    Totally agree hp.
    Great to have peace of mind knowing exactly what they are covering you for.
    No fuzzy, murky definitions.
    None of this 'am I, am I not - will they, won't they - do I have drag myself in-bounds and on-piste with a broken leg to be covered' crap.
    Will definitely go with them next trip.
     
    #148 dr80, Feb 11, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2013
  49. sli1

    sli1 Dedicated Member

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    Sorry, hadn't looked at the forums for a few days. Thanks for all your wishes, we are back in Oz now. Wife is struggling quite a bit but we are yet to start treatment from oz doctors.

    Travel Insurance was insure4less not travel4less.

    I didn't claim under rescue as the helilift is tax payer funded in Japan (I found this out afterwards).

    FastLimey - yes I was on the first AST course in 2011 where we had all the rain on the lecture day and then about 10cm of snow on the field day. Moved to Brisbane (effectively)from March 2012.

    Also, the insure4less help line when you are OS goes to OneAssist in the UK. They were excellent at responding to my emails within minutes. When we needed to talk about my wife's condition they asked me to nominate a time and then they called me (saves hassle when you are in a hospital and can't turn your phone on).
     
  50. stuadams

    stuadams Just Registered

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    I've never found it to be particularly worthwhile, but I guess it's better to be safe than sorry.