We at the Ski Club have put together the following FAQs to help you navigate the sometime complex world of refunds and to explain some of the decisions effecting your insurance Claims following and as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic. We have also answered several of your most pressing questions regarding our insurance policies sold via TIF Group as Ski Club Insurance or as Platinum Membership.

It seems somewhat cliché to say, but we are living through a once-in-a-generation event that is causing severe disruption to both us as individuals and companies within the ski and wider travel industry. Many companies are trying to find their way in unprecedented circumstances, so we ask for your patience when dealing with them as you seek to resolve any issues you may have.

FCO – Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The government body in charge of representing British nationals and residents overseas, as well as wider government interests. Issues and maintains travel advice and information for every country and is seen as the key barometer for gauging the suitability of international travel. 

Holiday Cancellations and Refunds

Q - My holiday is cancelled - what should I do to claim a refund?

A - In the first instance, you should always look to your suppliers for refunds. Airlines are obligated to provide monetary refunds if your flight is cancelled, so you are not obliged to accept a credit voucher if offered.

If your accommodation or travel providers are unable to offer refunds, then look to your insurers. Please note, that often a partial refund or credit note will invalidate any claim you may have for compensation from your insurance. It may be possible as well to arrange a refund via your Credit Card provider under Section 75 of the Consumer Rights Act – this legally protects your purchases if you do not receive them in an appropriate manner, and is provided by law for purchases over £100 and less than £30,000. You may also be able to action a “Chargeback”, which, whilst not being a legally mandated service such as Section 75 protection, allows you to claim for unsatisfactory goods within a certain period following purchase. This is available on both Credit and Debit cards without the purchase cost limit, but please note that this is a goodwill gesture provided by card issuers and not a legal protection for your purchase.

q - I want to cancel my holiday in advance

A - If you choose to cancel your holiday, or any elements of it, unilaterally, you are not entitled under law to a refund. You will have to negotiate with either your package holiday provider or the supplier of each element of your holiday.

As FCO advice has been extended indefinitely, different tour operators are taking different approaches to cancelling (or not) their holidays. It is important to stay in close communication with your tour operator as they evaluate your trip much closer to the time of departure.

If you are unsure as to the viability of your holiday in advance, it is worth negotiating with your tour operator or suppliers to see what they can offer. British Airways are offering to waive flight change fees, for example, and some hoteliers are happy to be flexible with their customers and their bookings.

Q - I've booked a package holiday - what are my options?

A - Package holiday – i.e. flights, transfers and accommodation all in one purchase – are obligated to offer a full refund or re-arrangement if they have to cancel your holiday. In June of 2018 this protection was extended to cover holidays where you booked any of the above elements through the same company, but at different times.

Please note that current circumstances are not covered via various travel protection schemes, such as ABTA or ATOL, which are designed for when companies or airlines enter insolvency. Owing to the huge scale of cancellations and refunds that are necessary, some industry bodies are authorising the use of credit notes to customers; these are covered by the protection schemes such as ABTA, ATOL or ABTOT so that in case of insolvency they are refunded. This does not, however, negate the right to ask for a monetary refund. As companies will be trying to resolve a huge number of cases, they will be extremely busy at this time; please be patient whilst trying to contact them and arrange refunds.

Q - I've booked with a debit card - what are my options?

A - There is much less in the way of purchase protection on a debit card vs. a credit card, as debit cards lack what is known as “Section 75 Protection”.

You may be able to action a “Chargeback”, which, whilst not being a legally mandated service such as Section 75 protection, allows you to claim for unsatisfactory goods within a certain period following purchase. This is available on both Credit and Debit cards without the purchase cost limit, but please note that this is a goodwill gesture provided by card issuers and not a legal protection for your purchase.

Q - I’ve booked holiday elements separately i.e. not a package holiday – what are my options?

A - Again, there is less in the way of protection for elements of a holiday that are booked separately or through different companies. It depends on the individual company as to what they are willing and able to offer as refunds.

Airlines are obliged to offer a monetary refund if your flight has been cancelled under EU law– you are not obliged to accept a credit note if one is offered. Some airlines, such as BA, have removed any booking change fees where your flight is not cancelled but you wish to change your travel dates.
Hotels are similarly obliged to offer a monetary refund if they are closed and unable to offer the contracted service, although this is not EU law and varies from nation to nation. However, if they remain open - even if resorts and entertainments are closed, and national/regional restrictions on movement are in place, it becomes trickier. As they are they are still open and able to provide the contracted service, they are not obliged to offer a refund, and it may only be possible to re-arrange your booking at the goodwill of the hotelier.

q - My hotel is refusing to offer a refund?

A - Hotels are under very similar obligations to airlines, in that they are obliged to offer a monetary refund (not a credit note) if they are closed or cancel your booking, meaning they are not providing the service contracted for.

Some hotels and accommodation providers may still be open during this period, despite resorts and other entertainments being closed. As they are still able to provide the contracted service, in these instances they are not obliged to offer a refund unless in line with the terms and conditions of the booking. This makes is substantially harder to claim a refund and you may have to settle for a re-arranged booking, at the goodwill of the hotel.

q - What do I do if I’m stuck abroad due to quarantine restrictions?

A - It is important to follow all local and national regulations when abroad, should restrictions be imposed. If local emergency restrictions mean you are unable to return home within the term of your policy length, you should contact your insurer’s emergency line and arrange for an emergency extension to your policy as soon as reasonable possible.

Insurers may not be able to assist in re-patriation costs, except in circumstances where you are ill or injured per the terms of their emergency medical expenses cover. To arrange repatriation in circumstances outside of injury or illness, you should contact your tour operator or flight/transport provider.

Your insurer may not normally be able to arrange extensions to your policy whilst abroad – the exception to this may be in emergency situations where you are unable to return home within the term of your policy due to circumstances beyond your control. You should contact your insurer at the earliest possible moment to arrange extensions – emergency or otherwise, as appropriate.

Please note, FCO advice to “avoid all but essential travel” does not preclude you from travelling back to the UK – this is considered “essential” travel.

Ski Club Insurance

Q - What is FCO travel advice?

A - The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues advice for people travelling overseas from Britain. They impose non-travel advisories against specific regions of the world they deem to be unsuitable for travel, such as Eastern Ukraine or Syria, as well as all-but-essential travel. Where a non-travel advisory is put in place, your tour operator should re-arrange travel to an area more appropriate. As of late March, the FCO extended an all-but-essential travel ban over the entire rest of the world. This is a completely unprecedented situation and renders it impossible for tour operators to rearrange travel.

q - What is covered by Ski Club Insurance?

A - Ski Club insurance provides exceptional cover for a range of on-snow related eventualities; if you are injured whilst skiing or snowboarding (or a whole range of other on-snow activities) you are covered for medical expenses up to £10,000,000 – this includes when skiing off-piste without a guide, something that makes our insurance stand out versus many others.

Our insurance provides cover if your holiday is unable to happen in the way that you expect it as a result of unforeseen circumstances. It is important to note that these policies do not, and have never, covered for every possible eventuality – this would raise the price of our policies to an unacceptable level, or force us to trade off the quality of our on-snow cover.

Ski Club insurance provides cover if you are unable to go on your trip because of illness, injury or death of yourself or a close family member, or as a result of obligations such as jury service or the requirements of HM armed forces. Furthermore, if the resort you are planning on going to is suffering from too little or too much snow, or an avalanche has rendered it unvisitable, you are covered for curtailment/cancellation of your holiday as well as refunds on your “ski pack” i.e. lift tickets and equipment hire. These are considered normal, unforeseeable eventualities that are priced into the “risk pool” that TIF Group are creating and is reflected in our policy prices.

Q - Can TIF Group assist in getting me home?

A - Unfortunately, TIF Group are unable to assist in the re-arrangement of flights or transport in the event of changes to your holiday caused by changes to regional or national restrictions. You should contact your tour operator or flight/transport provider to arrange this at the earliest possible opportunity.

TIF Group can continue to offer assistance in repatriation should you become injured or due to illness, per the terms of the Emergency Medical Assistance cover of your policy.

q - I’m stuck abroad due to local emergency restrictions – what should I do?

A - You should follow all local and national emergency restrictions when abroad. If this means you are unable to return home within the dates of your travel insurance policy - all Ski Club Multi-Trip policies have a 31 day trip length, single trip policies allow for an unlimited length, single trip between the start and finish dates of your policy – you should contact TIF Group as soon as practicable on their emergency line 0203 829 6735 to arrange an emergency extension to your policy.

TIF Group are not normally able to arrange extensions whilst abroad – the exception to this is in emergency situations where you are unable to return home within the term of your policy due to circumstances beyond your control. FCO advice to “avoid all but essential travel” does not preclude you from travelling back to the UK – this is considered “essential” travel.
TIF Group are unable to assist in the re-arrangement of travel – except as a result of illness or injury. You should contact your tour operator or flight/transporter provider to arrange this.

q - I’m stuck abroad and my single-trip policy is about to expire – What do I do?

A - All Ski Club Single-Trip policies allow for one single trip of unlimited length, between the dates of the policy. If you are stuck abroad and your policy is about to expire, you need to contact TIF Group on their emergency number, 0203 829 6735, to arrange an emergency extension to your policy.

TIF Group are not normally able to arrange extensions whilst abroad – the exception to this is in emergency situations where you are unable to return home within the terms of your policy due to circumstances beyond your control. FCO advice to “avoid all but essential travel” does not preclude you from travelling back to the UK – this is considered “essential” travel
TIF Group are unable to assist in the re-arrangement of travel – except as a result of illness or injury. You should contact your tour operator or flight/transporter provider to arrange this.

q - I’m stuck abroad and I’m about to reach the single-trip limit on a Multi-Trip policy – what do I?

A - All Ski Club Multi-Trip policies include a 31-day limit to any one single trip abroad. If you are stuck abroad and you are due to reach this limit, you need to contact TIF Group on their emergency number, 0203 829 6735, to arrange an emergency extension to your policy.

TIF Group are not normally able to arrange extensions whilst abroad – the exception to this is in emergency situations where you are unable to return home within the terms of your policy due to circumstances beyond your control. FCO advice to “avoid all but essential travel” does not preclude you from travelling back to the UK – this is considered “essential” travel
TIF Group are unable to assist in the re-arrangement of travel – except as a result of illness or injury. You should contact your tour operator or flight/transporter provider to arrange this.