/ Rescue Costs in the Dolomites

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John Workman - on 17 Jul 2012
Do I need insurance for the cost of mountain rescue in the Dolomites?

What about suscribing to this info@aiut-alpin-dolomites.com


LJC - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: Unless you are prepared to foot the bill of £5000 per minute or whatever the huge cost of heli rescue is, then get insurance.
Al Randall on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: Only if you get rescued.

I used to have an annual policy with the BMC but they got very expensive and reduced some cover so now I'm a member of the Austria Alpine Club(UK). For less than £50/year I get rescue and medical cover as well as 50% off hut accommodation but you will need separate travel insurance and the amounts covered are not as generous as the BMC but I would have thought adequate for most. If I was going to remoter regions or the States I would take out BMC for the period of the specific trip.

Al
JJL - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:

If you have a EHICard then, no, you do not need insurance.

My mate fell off two summers ago and was choppered away to hospital. Nothing to pay.

Switzerland is a different story, as is skiing.
drysori - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:

Even if you don't have to pay for rescue or medical expenses you may still need to pay to be repatriated, which can be very expensive if you need an ambulance ride/flight home.
BillyB - on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: Don't be falling down any crevasses! Though to be fair there aren't many in the Dolomites.
Al Randall on 17 Jul 2012
In reply to JJL: I'm surprised to hear that. If true it makes the insurance premiums look like even more of a rip-off and unnecessary.

Al
goatee - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to JJL: The card is also valid in Switzerland.
Dave 88 - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:

So hang on, are you telling me that if I have a free EHIC card and no insurance, I can go and break my leg half way up the Eiger and won't be charged a penny for rescue and medical care? That's a genuine question by the way, I'd be amazed if that's the case.
bigbobbyking - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to John Workman)
>
> So hang on, are you telling me that if I have a free EHIC card and no insurance, I can go and break my leg half way up the Eiger and won't be charged a penny for rescue and medical care?

No as the Eiger is in Switzerland. The OP and that response were about Italy. I don't know if that's true about Italy... But if you get rescued in Switzerland I think you can expect a bill.

Bruce Hooker - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Dave 88:

I don't know about the Eiger but this is definitely the case in the French Alps - rescue is a free public service... like in Britain surely?

I'm often puzzled at the obsession for insurance that many seem to have on ukc - the insurance companies seem to have done a good advertising job :-)
Dave 88 - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:

Bloody hell, I can't believe that. Yeah Bruce, the insurance companies have been very busy in the rumour mill!
speekingleesh - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Dave 88:
>
> So hang on, are you telling me that if I have a free EHIC card and no insurance, I can go and break my leg half way up the Eiger and won't be charged a penny for rescue and medical care? That's a genuine question by the way, I'd be amazed if that's the case.

No. You'd have to take out a second mortgage to pay for the chopper rescue and the costs of repatriation. The cost of X-raying and casting the leg however would be (mostly) met by by the NHS through the EHIC system though.

(I say mostly as I'm not sure what level of co-payment there is in Switzerland and the EHIC info isn't to clear on this. My mate who had a trip to hospital in Chamonix had to pay 20%)

John Workman - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:
Thanks for the info guys - especially JJL
Dave 88 - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to speekingleesh:

Alrite sorry, the Eiger was a bad example.

What about heli-rescue, hospital treatment (broken bones etc), and repatriation when in an EU country? Would I get charged for anything there?

Sorry for all the questions, just amazed by this revelation!
Al Randall on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Dave 88:
> (In reply to speekingleesh)
>
> Sorry for all the questions, just amazed by this revelation!

So was I but I am not yet convinced.

Al
John Workman - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to BillyB:
Just for general info - as aluded to by Billy - my mate fell in a crevasse returning from the Chardonnet [in France] last year. We called a chopper as he'd badly damaged his ankle. The Cham team did a great job.
After being checked over by a Doc in the team we're thinking - better get out insurance deatils ready - expecting a hefty bill. To our total amazement we were told that mountain rescue - at least on the French side of the main alps - a la Cham - is free.
speekingleesh - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Dave 88:
>
> What about heli-rescue, hospital treatment (broken bones etc), and repatriation when in an EU country? Would I get charged for anything there?
>

Switzerland is in the EEA so has the same rules regarding EHIC as an EU country, so your medical costs would be (at least mostly) paid for. EHIC does not cover repatriation, private medical care (so if you're in a country with no nearby national hospitals you're stuffed) or mountain rescue.

So if the country your in doesn't charge for mountain rescue you don't have to pay for it. No country will pay for your repatriation.
jimtitt - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to speekingleesh:
The confusion (and complication) arises in that in Germany and most of the coutries around there is a difference between an injured climber who is rescued by helicopter and a climber who is rescued by helicopter.
An injury where the use of a helicopter is considered to be the better solution is paid for by the social or medical insurance (whether state or private). If it was considered the helicopter was unesscessary then there was no medical claim and therefore the climber pays. The nescessity is decided afterwards (in hospital) and the decision to send a helicopter decided not by the person requiring rescue or the rescue team but the rescue control centre.
Even in Germany where mountain rescue is run by the Red Cross (though the helicopters are often from the ADAC) you can and will be charged, they publish a list of tarifs. In the case of a medical rescue if the costs are above the tarif which your insurance would pay then the extra costs are to be paid by the rescued.
This is a controversial subject in Austria at the moment as there are ca 40 helicopters all trying to pick up people and send someone a bill!
Dave 88 - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:

....I'll be getting insurance then!
stuart58 - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: i think in switzerland you need to make sure you get to a state hospital rather than the medical centres. my mate fell over a wall in saas fee last year and had to pay up front and claim back on insurance. also becareful with austrian alpine they have a limited budget on their medical insurance. to go abroad with out any insurance would be silly.
Howard J - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: An EHIC card doesn't mean you'll get free healthcare, you'll be treated on the same basis as a resident of that country. What's covered therefore varies from country to country. You may have to pay for some costs up-front although you may subsequently be able to reclaim them.

It's not a substitute for insurance and in particular it is made clear that it doesn't cover mountain rescue. It also doesn't cover repatriation or your property.

You might get away with it but it will probably depend on where you are, the nature of the incident and the nature of the rescue service's response. Insurance is a small proportion of the total cost of your trip, why risk it for the sake of a few quid?
speekingleesh - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to jimtitt:
>
> The confusion (and complication) arises in that in Germany and most of the coutries around there is a difference between an injured climber who is rescued by helicopter and a climber who is rescued by helicopter...

Eurgh. I can see why they need to do that but still. Do climbers resident in Germany usually have insurance then (something like the BMC membership thing)?

> Even in Germany where mountain rescue is run by the Red Cross (though the helicopters are often from the ADAC) you can and will be charged, they publish a list of tarifs.

Out of interest is this online anywhere? I've always heard wildly different claims about how much a chopper rescue costs and would be interested to see the figures.
What Goes Up - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: I've been out doing Via Ferrata hike combos in the Dolomites a few times, organised by a mate who lived out there. Even though it was just a one-off within any twelve months he always set it up so that we took out the annual membership with the Alpine club or whatever it was as it still paid for itself through the discounts on VF kit hire and refugio accommodation. As far as I was concerned he had the local knowledge and reckoned that was the way to go, and I was happy to buy into that. So basically all the extra cover - choppers off mountains and that - worked out free for us anyway, plus puts a few quid in their coffers. Was always perfectly happy with the arrangement. I think it cost us about £40 a time.

And I get to flash my alpine mountaineering club card in the pub.
Bruce Hooker - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:

> To our total amazement we were told that mountain rescue - at least on the French side of the main alps - a la Cham - is free.

It is done by the CRS or Gendarmerie, there is talk from time to time of making people pay but each time the mayors of towns like Chamonix kick up a fuss as they depend so much on tourism and so it remains free - whether you are injured or not. There may be possibility of a level of discretion if it was a real case of time wasters or such like but if you need saving they will do their best to save you.

All the same it is better to avoid needing to be rescued though, even if it's free :-) Every year people die, helicopters or not a long spell of really bad weather can make flights impossible.

As said though what applies in France does not necessarily apply elsewhere, in Switzerland or Italy for example. Hospital treatment in France is partly financed by a national insurance scheme but most people also have private insurance to cover what the state system doesn't, and as the economic woes increase the state system covers less and less. You may be asked to pay in advance by a doctor then claim what you can back... Whatever, if you really worry about all this you'll never get up the mountains at all!
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Howard J:
> Insurance is a small proportion of the total cost of your trip, why risk it for the sake of a few quid?

On the other hand, why waste a few quid for the sake of a bit of research? If rescue is free then there's nothing to insure against.
Doug on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Bruce Hooker: But worth pointing out that rescue in a French ski resort isn't free so there's a potential grey area if skiing near a resort in an area used for off piste & ski touring.
speekingleesh - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Toreador:
>
> On the other hand, why waste a few quid for the sake of a bit of research? If rescue is free then there's nothing to insure against.

Apart from the fact that as we've seen there is nowhere where the medical care/mountain rescue/repatriation cost are all actually free.

Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to speekingleesh:
Medical care is usually free (with EHIC), mountain rescue is often free, and repatriation can be covered by standard travel insurance (make sure you get one that doesn't exclude injuries resulting from dangerous activities).
speekingleesh - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Toreador:
> Medical care is usually free (with EHIC),

I think co-payment is quite common in the EU

> mountain rescue is often free,

Apart from Switzerland, Germany and Austria where it might not be.

> and repatriation can be covered by standard travel insurance (make sure you get one that doesn't exclude injuries resulting from dangerous activities).

So if you buy insurance then you don't need to buy insurance then...

Simon4 - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Howard J:

> It's not a substitute for insurance and in particular it is made clear that it doesn't cover mountain rescue. It also doesn't cover repatriation or your property.

Important that people realise that. It also doesn't cover things like seeing a doctor or much routine attention.

On the other hand, many insurance policies will expect anything that CAN be covered by the EHIC to be done by it. You need both the EHIC and insurance, specifically mountaineering/skiing oriented insurance.

Someone has already made the point that ski resorts, very cheekily in my opinion, will charge you for both evacuation and medical care, despite the fact that this is within the resort. They will assume that everyone has insurance, so the charges are likely to be pretty hefty (aka "rip-off").

Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to speekingleesh:
> > Medical care is usually free (with EHIC),
> I think co-payment is quite common in the EU

> > mountain rescue is often free,
> Apart from Switzerland, Germany and Austria where it might not be.

So like I say - do some research to find out the situation where you're going.

> > and repatriation can be covered by standard travel insurance
> So if you buy insurance then you don't need to buy insurance then.

If you by cheap travel insurance for £10 you don't necessarily need mountaineering insurance for £100.

Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:
> Do I need insurance for the cost of mountain rescue in the Dolomites?

Whenever I've been, I've joined the Austrian Alpine Club, as this gets you a discount on the huts without the need for a BMC reciprocal rights card. As a bonus, it also gives you rescue/medical/repatriation cover.
speekingleesh - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Toreador:
>
> If you by cheap travel insurance for £10 you don't necessarily need mountaineering insurance for £100.

Apart from the fact that your cheap travel insurance won't cover you for stuff arising out of dangerous activities. That's why expensive mountaineering insurance is expensive!
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to speekingleesh:
> Apart from the fact that your cheap travel insurance won't cover you for stuff arising out of dangerous activities

check the small print. "stuff" means treatment but doesn't always mean repatriation.
speekingleesh - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Toreador:

Ok then you point me in the direction of a cheap insurance policy that will cover you in this way because as far as I've seen the don't exist.
Simon Caldwell - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to speekingleesh:
I suggested research, I didn't offer to do it for you :-)
Such policies definitely have existed, as I've bought them.
speekingleesh - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to Toreador:
Well if you've bought them you could at least let me in on the secret...

Having just picked a few at random all seem to have the dangerous activities list as part of the general exemptions and will not cover any claim arising out of participation in them. Since insurance companies don't seem to operate as a charity I can't see there being ones that offer all this extra cover at no additional charge.

So unless you want to provide any evidence to the contrary I'd say they don't exist.
jimtitt - on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to speekingleesh:
> (In reply to jimtitt)
> [...]
>
> Eurgh. I can see why they need to do that but still. Do climbers resident in Germany usually have insurance then (something like the BMC membership thing)?
>

Insurance is automatic for DAV/÷AV members, alternatively you can become a supporter of one of the various organanisations that operate rescue helicopters and this will usuallly include cover for all (they operate as an alliance generally). Or of course just pay the extra, insurance only being nescessary for those who canīt afford to pay directly.

The amounts listed are tarifs, not costs. These are arranged between the insurance companies and the rescue organisations and may or may not reflect the true cost of an individual rescue. The highest tarif in Bavaria is Ä3,185 but if your rescue costs more you may be asked to pay more, lots more!
pec on 18 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: "It is absolutely essential that you take out appropriate travel insurance - EHIC is NOT a substitute."
Taken from the NHS website here:
http://www.nhs-services.org.uk/

As an aside, someone on here once tried to argue that you could rely on an EHIC card for free treatment, even in Switzerland if its a state, not private hospital. For what its worth, when I was rescued in Italy I was taken to a hospital in Switzerland by air Zermatt (that's who turned up and I wasn't going to turn them away) which turned out to be private (and I coudn't have checked first even if I'd wanted to as I was unconscious) and hence was given 2 bills for c.£2,000 for the helicopter and the hospital.

In emergencies, things happen which are beyond your control, get proper insurance.
mike kann - on 19 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: Rescue in the Dolomites is free. Medical treatment is free with an EHIC card. Repatriation, loss of earnings, limbs, etc is not. You make the choice and take the risks. End of the day insurance is not just about being heli vaced...
mike kann - on 19 Jul 2012
In reply to mike kann: Just another note, bear in mind that BMC reciprocal rights cards and OAV alpine club cards are not going to be valid in all huts in the Dolomites. A large majority of huts there are privately owned, and the cards will only be valid at CAI huts. You may be able to negotiate a discount, but it would be at the owners discretion...
Carolyn - on 19 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:

As an aside, insurance might (depending on whose....) cover other stuff - I know someone who was seriously injured in Alps, and by the time she regained consciousness (24 hours or so, I think), the insurance company had arranged and paid for a relative to be flown from UK to the hospital.
John Workman - on 19 Jul 2012
In reply to mike kann:
Well. I stirred up a bit of a debate - didn't I.
I've been going to the Alps on and off for over forty years, mostly climbing / mountaineering, and also climbing in UK. Last year was first time ever rescued - after the crevasse fall- bad judgement by us.
In the past Iíd join the Austrian Alpine Club for the year.
This year itís the Dolomites again with family - we're planning gentle walks with a couple of short-ish easy rock routes, may stay at one hut for one night, maybe . On the basis of whatís been said and my own judgement, we're not taking out mountain rescue insurance [cost for me £120 and £70 for my partner with Snow Card]. If things go wrong, small risk I reckon, we hope for - no rescue charges, EHIC card will cover any hospital costs, after that we'll be stumping up out of our pockets.
Just thought Iíd let you know.
If you donít read any more emails on UKC from me after 6 Aug you can expect that the worst has happened. Iím either dead or bankrupt.
John Workman - on 19 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: Or even possibly both?
Bruce Hooker - on 19 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman:

> ...Iím either dead or bankrupt.

At least in the former case you won't have wasted money on insurance :-)

JJL - on 19 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman and the thread generally:

There's a really helpful table for various countries here:

http://tinyurl.com/d48o5qh

The key elements to be considered are:
- cost of injured rescue
- cost of uninjured rescue
- cost of subsequent medical care
- cost of repatriation

I'd be cautious about the "if no insurance then government" type remarks. I think you should interpret this as "individual liable"

It would be really helpful if people could add to this thread to both extend the countries covered and flesh out the details on rough costs etc.

Thanks

j
Rob Thornton - on 23 Jul 2012
In reply to John Workman: Austrian Alpine Club (UK) is the way to go,joined myself this year at 65yrs old due to skyrocketing BMC-Insurance costs at my age. Absolutely shameless that Austrian Alpine Club (UK) can give Brits a good deal on Rescue and Repatriation,yet our own BMC cant get us a decent simple deal? Bloody shameless! There is no excuse for this these days,talk about rippoff Britain.The BMC costs more to join as an individual,than AAC (UK) to join "and insure"for an entire year!!? Allso the AAC(UK)gives you much more worldwide.

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