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 organized 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 the supplement for "simple theft away from home". This covers financial loss up to the insured amount. First you need to pay the deductible, which varies from one provider to the next. Insurance covers excess damage up to the maximum amount. Nowadays, skis and snowboards are usually insured at their original value an no longer at their current value like they used to be. It is worth checking the terms of your contents insurance in advance in order to avoid nasty surprises in the event of damage. Note: 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.
  • Do not leave skis or snowboards unattended on or near a vehicle.
  • Use a mobile lock such as the Safeman ski lock (in German only).
  • Use lockable ski and snowboard stands or place sports equipment in a locked or monitored room.
  • Mark your gear using stickers, labels or ribbons,for instance, to prevent mix-ups.
  • 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. For this you need a police report (just like when you lose your ID).

A word of caution, however: 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 roughly 10 per cent of the purchase price or rental price. It covers damage if the gear is stolen or broken. But carefully note: As the supplement “simple theft away from home” applies in the event of theft anyway, this type of insurance is not necessarily worthwhile. Compared to the insured risk, the premiums are often too high. What is more, contents casco insurance also covers broken gear.  

Tip: The insurance supplement for "simple theft away from home" not only covers 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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