According to our sporting life, more than 1.5 million people from the UK go on a ski holiday each year. It's clearly become big business, but the cost of skiing accidents can be high because they often involve serious leg injuries that require prolonged medical treatment.

Although the UK has reciprocal health care deals with most other European countries, it is still vital to have proper travel insurance. With a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), UK nationals get free or reduced medical treatment in an EU country and Switzerland (if you are a UK or Swiss national or an EU citizen). However, treatment is state provided and, depending on the country, may not offer the same benefits as the NHS, nor does it provide cover for all incurred costs e.g. repatriation costs back to the UK. While the GHIC does provide medical cover in popular European ski destinations such as Austria and France, it won't pay for getting you to the hospital. So if you're airlifted off piste with a broken arm or leg due to being injured by another skier, you'll need travel insurance to cover the cost. For skiing trips that are not covered by the GHIC - Chile, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Canada or Japan, for example - travel health insurance is even more vital.

Sports-related injuries can be costly, and could make a nasty dent in your holiday budget should you be unfortunate to sustain one. However, with Direct Line Travel Insurance, the policy provides up to £10m cover per person for medical and repatriation expenses. If you need emergency transport to the UK, your policy will cover the cost of your travel plus up to £2,500 for the reasonable travel, and accommodation expenses for someone to stay or go with you.

If skiing is the main intention of your holiday, you need to add winter sports cover to your Direct Line Annual or Single Trip travel insurance policy. This will also cover you for snowboarding, sledging, ski-doing, tobogganing and even going off-piste providing you are with a qualified instructor, and you state what activity you will be doing before you leave the UK.

The cover includes up to £500 if your equipment is damaged, lost or stolen on your journey (subject to a single item limit of £250), as long as it is under five years old. You can also claim up to £25 a day (up to a maximum of £300) for equipment that you reasonably need to hire in the event of loss or damage to your own equipment.

Direct Line's skiing holiday insurance will cover you for up to £250 for the unused part of ski passes, hire or tuition if your pass is lost or stolen or if illness or accident prevent you from continuing your holiday. If your piste closes, we'll even pay you up to £20 a day (up to a maximum of £200) to travel to another resort.

At Direct Line we support the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's (FCDO) 'Travel Aware' campaign.

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