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20% of Brits ski without insurance

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Almost 20% of skiers taking to the pistes this winter will risk going skiing without travel insurance, according to research.

Around 400,000 Britons could face massive bills in the event of a skiing accident, according to esure travel insurance.

A poll found that one in five skiers do not take out travel insurance while on holiday, with 5% wrongly relying on their European Health Insurance card (formerly E111) for cover, 11% choosing to take a risk, and 4% forgetting to buy it.

However, if a skier does become injured without the adequate medical cover they could be left seriously out of pocket as treatment could run into thousands of pounds.

A helicopter evacuation alone costs around £1,500, and repatriation costs could top £4,000 from Europe and £8,000 from the USA and Canada.

The survey also found that 17% of UK adults would try out more extreme sports - such as off-piste snowboarding, ice-lake diving and tobogganing - even if they knew that they wouldn't be covered by their travel insurance and would have to foot the bill if they were injured.

Mike Pickard, head of travel insurance at esure, said: "No matter what your level of competency on the slopes, accidents do happen and huge medical bills can easily rack up. It's crucial to ensure you're fully covered with quality insurance that includes specific winter sports cover."

© Press Association 2009