Contents and personal liability

Millions in damages through theft of boards:| how to properly protect and insure your skis

Fun on the slopes comes to an abrupt end when after lunch in a warm hut the skis are suddenly missing.

Just coming from sipping hot chocolate, now desperately searching for skis in the cold: damages of over one million francs result from ski theft every year in Switzerland. The big question: who pays for the loss? Read what winter sports enthusiasts need to know about liability, ski insurance and ski rental.

To some degree, it is organised groups that are causing trouble at Swiss ski areas: skis, poles and snowboards are being stolen more and more often. Thieves are active not only at racks in front of ski huts. They also take their loot from car roof racks. After the shock comes the question: Who pays for the stolen equipment?

How contents insurance helps
Contents insurance alone does not cover the theft. For that you also need supplemental insurance for "simple theft away from home". This covers financial loss up to the insured amount. You must first pay a 200 franc deductible. Insurance covers excess damage up to a maximum of 5,000 francs. The determining factor is not the original value of skis and snowboards but rather the current value. Important: report a theft immediately to the police.

Protect skis from thieves
You should take precautions to protect your gear from theft so that it does not come to this.

You can help prevent theft with these 6 actions:
  • Keep gear in sight as much as possible. If this is not possible: set down skis and poles separately. Thieves typically do not have the nerve to seek out the matching piece.
  • Do not leave skis or snowboards unattended in or on a vehicle.
  • Use portable locks. These are available in sports stores and can be carried in any ski outfit.
  • Use lockable ski and snowboard stands or place sports equipment in a locked or monitored room.
  • Mark your equipment to avoid mix-up, for example with a sticker, inscription or small band.
  • When renting skis, make sure that the age of the skis is indicated in the rental contract.
Ski rental: does insurance step in?
If the skis are rented, the renter is generally liable. However, the rental outfit is owed only the current value and not the purchase price. Those with liability insurance can report the damages.

But note: in their general insurance conditions, many insurers deny coverage for borrowed or rented items or require a high deductible.  Therefore, it is sometimes not worth reporting a loss.

Does ski insurance make sense?
Ski insurance is often offered when purchasing or renting skis or snowboards. It costs about 10 per cent of the purchase price or rental amount and covers damages from theft or breakage. But note: since supplemental insurance already comes into play for such cases, this sort of precaution is not necessary. Compared to the insured risk, the premiums are often too high.

Tip: The insurance supplement for "simple theft away from home" does not only cover stolen skis or snowboards, of course, but also other personal items and winter sports gear such as your backpack, GoPro camera or helmet. Just make sure to occasionally verify and adjust your sum insured.

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