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September 6, 2020

Coronavirus: how to book a ski chalet holiday with a refund or flexible cancellation terms?

Would you want to cancel a ski chalet holiday without any refund due to coronavirus? If your insurance is not willing to take up the case, then we have an alternative solution. Who would want to lose their missed ski holiday money to a ski chalet rental company? After all, if you are paying for a luxury ski chalet holiday in Switzerland, France, or Austria, you should be aware, that they do not come cheaper as one would expect. Price guidance for ski chalet rentals in the Alps can be seen below.

How to book your ski holiday with a guaranteed refund plan?

The Best option to book a luxury ski chalet holiday with a refund, Free or fair cancellation plan is to ask your chalet accommodation provider (agent) in the UK to negotiate with the chalet owners, local operator, and partners to offer flexible cancellation conditions in the event of future travel restrictions as a result of Covid-19. Most of our luxury ski chalet owners, operators, and partners have agreed to work on more flexible cancellation policy, allowing fairness with refunds, or even for a full refund. (List of those chalets will be out soon). When most insurance providers are not willing to cover, this seems like a perfect option to pay with more confidence.

At the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic (for the Ski season 2019/20), many Ski chalet rental companies struggled to offer an equitable arrangement for skiers and snowboarders for their Luxury chalet holidays in the Alps. The reason for this is, with sudden weight felt from UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)’s travel advice (declaring unsafe to travel unless for essential travel only) and insurance companies failing to offer cover against FCO’s travel advice (specifically against the COVID-19 Pandemic), many ski holidaymakers were left wondering if they will be able to book their next ski holidays with a trusted ski chalet company.

Simply said, if you travel against UK’s Government travel advice while it’s still in place, most insurance policies would not cover you for anything. We have mentioned a few insurance agents who are willing to offer cover at the time of writing. We advise you to contact them directly to check the full coverage details.

What options are left when cancelling a Ski chalet holiday due to COVID-19?

The first question is; who will cover travellers when they cancel their ski chalet holiday? If insurance agents are not an option to cover your holiday, except for a very few like the Nationwide, MPI, and Staysure who probably will cover a part or full (please check directly) of your holiday cost, there are few options left other than opting for either a Credit note or a Travel voucher (with some agreeing to this option). This would work out well if you are flexible with your travel arrangements such as date flexibility. However, stories that are seen on the BBC, paint an actual picture, when you are looking for refunds, and how difficult to recover your Ski holiday money. One thing for sure, each day most insurance companies are withdrawing from covering cancellations due to the Coronavirus Pandemic (COVID-19). The Government’s advice on travel changing daily does not seem to help plan any holidays with certainty.

What happens if I chose to travel against FCO’s Travel Advice?

This is becoming a common question for those skiers and snowboarders who are aware their favourite ski resort is open for business but are unable to travel as a result of the FCO’s travel advice, which does not share the same view as the specific ski resort. While this is a frustrating scenario, some travel insurance companies in the UK like Campbell Irvine are offering a new cover, if you travel against the advice of FCO’s advice to European (ski) destinations they are willing to offer cover. Although, if you do catch the Coronavirus there is no cover. For those who wish to drive to their ski destination in the Alps, this could be a great option, rather than having to risk taking a flight with airlines still flying to these destinations without offering any refunds, on the other, a Private Jet is a good option if you feel like a Millionaire or if you are Sheikh from the Gulf. Another option worth checking is battleface, which provides full benefits, up to the policy limits, for destinations including those under FCO and government “do not travel to” advisories.

Coronavirus Insurance or Assurance?

Bear in mind, insurers will only re-cover costs that are not recoverable (or refunded), so all points in one direction (on the condition ski accommodation is booked apart and not as a package holiday), which is to check with your chalet rental company before you book your luxury chalet, if they are able to offer you something more than the insurer can offer.

As luxury ski chalet accommodation providers, we always bring accommodation owner or local operator directly in touch with our customers and to their terms and conditions, during the booking process so your contracts are always with the chalet owners or local operators, but in this case, we take you further by persuading such chalet owners and providers to agree beforehand for flexible cancellation policy or refund of funds collected, assuring peace of mind if insurance is not an option.

Although the Association of British Insurers assures a positive outcome on refunds, it does say if you purchased the insurance policy prior to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), it will cover for the claims. However, if the policy is taken after the Covid-19 outbreak it is unlikely will cover anything. 

However, it warns that while your current policy – if bought before the pandemic – will cover you for COVID-19-related claims, a new policy likely will not. So you should think twice prior to canceling your ski holiday.

How much does it cost to book a Luxury Ski chalet in Switzerland, France, Austria, and Italy?

Luxury Ski chalets do not come cheap, but this depends on when you plan to travel. Our Budget affordable chalets in the Alps start from Euro 475 per night in the lower season to Euro 3,375 a night for the same chalet in the high or peak ski season. Our Mid-high range chalet prices range from EUR 1,000 a night to EUR 4,000 towards the peak, while the Fully catered VIP Alpine chalets or the Ultimate Super luxury chalet prices start from Swiss Francs (CHF) 4,500 a night and upwards in the lower seasons to CHF 40,000 a night towards to peak season, or a weekly rate of Great British Pounds (GBP) 250,000 (Approx. as of 2020).

Alpine Ski chalet sale and offer for COVID-19

Some if not most chalet Owners are willing to consider various ski chalet sale prices and discounts during the coronavirus pandemic. There are EBO (Early bird offers) and Last minute super Ski deals. Although refund policies may vary, and cannot be guaranteed as a standard ski chalet holiday, this would offer some flexibility in planning your next ski chalet holidays to France, Switzerland, and Austria for the coming Snow season 20/21. Keep an eye on our next post to see this hot luxury ski chalet holiday deals with chalet owners.

How to book safely your ski chalet holiday for Ski season 2020/21

While some ski chalet companies may fail to adapt to the pandemic crisis or in arranging any refunds (or for that matter refusing any refunds), we worked out with some luxury chalet owners and operators some flexible cancellation policies and refund options for the coming ski season 2020/21.

Now guests are able to book their luxury Ski holidays in chalets in Switzerland, France, and Austria: where a future travel restriction occurs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are able to recover paid monies. This will vary by the chalet owners and operators in each ski destination.  So, if you are unable to travel due to COVID-19, and if you are unable to get travel insurance, at least this option of the flexible cancellation policy and some chalets allowing you to have refunds would allow you to book for your next ski season 2020/21 with a peace of mind.

Latest advice by FCO for travelling to Switzerland, France, Austria, and Italy.

Things could have not got worse when the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ((FCDO) advised British nationals against all but essential international travel to various Ski destinations in the Alps, like Switzerland, France, Austria, and Italy. While the below information is correct to the date of 5th September 2020, it is advised to refer to relevant links here to see any changes in travel advice by FCDO.

COVID-19 travel guidance for Switzerland

  • Still current: 6th September 2020
  • Updated: 27 August 2020
  • Latest update: The FCO advise against all but essential travel to Switzerland, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against all but essential travel to Switzerland. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

The FCDO is not advising those already travelling in Switzerland to leave at this time. You should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect yourself and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus. Contact your travel operator if you have any questions about your return journey.

For more detail information on visiting Switzerland, click here.

COVID-19 travel guidance for France

  • Still current on: 6th September 2020
  • Updated: 2 September 2020
  • Latest update: Addition of information and advice on a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in France during recent weeks. (‘Summary’ page)

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against all but essential travel to France (including Corsica). This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. Check separate travel advice pages for overseas territories of France

There has been a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in France during recent weeks, with a significant number of French departments now at ‘heightened vulnerability’. In a number of areas, the French Government has brought in extra measures as a consequence. Check local guidance for more information.

The FCDO is not advising those already travelling in France to leave at this time. You should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect yourself and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus. Contact your travel operator if you have any questions about your return journey.

For more detail information on visiting France, Click here.

COVID-19 travel guidance for Austria

  • Still current on: 6th September 2020
  • Updated: 20th August 2020
  • Latest update: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise against all but essential travel to Austria, based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advise against all but essential travel to Austria. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

The FCDO is not advising those already travelling in Austria to leave at this time. You should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect yourself and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus. Contact your travel operator if you have any questions about your return journey.

For more detail information on visiting Austria, click here.

COVID-19 travel guidance for Italy

  • Still current on: 6th September 2020
  • Updated: 18th August 2020
  • Latest update: Addition of information about completing a self-declaration form before travelling to Italy (‘Summary’ and ‘Entry requirements’ pages)

From 4 July, Italy is exempt from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice against all non-essential international travel. This is based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks.

For more detail information on visiting Italy, click here.

Which luxury ski resorts are open for rentals during the COVID-19?

One of the top questions asked by skiers and snowboarders are “Will I still be able to visit all the same resorts?’’ and be able to ski safely? Most of the ski resorts in the Alps are accepting bookings for ski chalet holidays for the winter 2020/21 and 2021/22 ski seasons, with the hope things, will get back to normal again, whatever one might think that would be. It sure feels like some relief to have a sense of hopeful thoughts.

If the UK Government decides to lift travel warnings, it is most likely that all the chalets we operate in the Alps would function as usual with specific safety protocols (Stay tuned for our next Ski post on chalets that work with safe hygienic standards). That said, you need to check if the Ski resort near the chalet in the following destination list would operate and if ski lifts and passes all can be booked in advance or online. No one wishes to end up in a ski chalet, and to find out the resorts are not operating, right?

Switzerland, France, and Austria offer the best luxury ski chalet in the Alps. In Switzerland – Verbier, Zermatt, Crans-Montana and St Moritz, In France, three Valleys; Courchevel 1850, Courchevel 1550, Meribel, Saint-Martin-de-Belleville and Val Thorens. Then Chamonix, Tignes and Val d’Isère, and Avoriaz and Morzine in Portes du Soleil make the best luxury chalet destinations in France. While in Austria, St Anton, Zurs, Lech, and Kitzbuhel are among the top ski regions for luxury chalet rentals in Austria.

So, before you book your next ski holiday, check if the resort is open and the chalet is welcoming, and if you choose to ignore the FCO’s Advise then contact the few insurers to find out if you can visit the Ski destination and if they are willing to offer a cover before you travel. Rates are within the normal range.

Conclusion

Holidaying against government advice is not illegal, opposing to common belief. You can still visit a destination to which the FCO advises against travel without nullifying your insurance, but if many of those insurance companies would not provide cover, check with us if your chosen ski chalet is willing to offer flexibility in cancellation or offer refunds.

This flexibility should encourage any ski chalet holidaymaker to book with confidence. The downside of booking with a standard tour operator who offers package style trips (Air ticket, Accommodation, and other extras), is that the operator would not offer those ski holidays or cancel such trips in line with FCO’s travel advise, unlike independent chalet accommodation providers.

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