Finding the right insurance for your ski resort is an important step in protecting your business and achieving long-term success.
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Whether your patrons are in need of a relaxing winter vacation or seek an adrenaline-filled adventure, ski resorts provide an ideal getaway location for their many customers. Whichever activity your patrons seek among your various amenities, you will need to have adequate business insurance to financially protect your business during unexpected disasters, accidents, and injuries.
What insurance coverage do I need for my ski resort?
Many types of insurance coverages are important to consider, but the following policies are particularly relevant for ski resorts:
General liability insurance protects your business from accidental third-party property damage and bodily injury liability. Additionally, if your ski resort unintentionally causes personal injury or advertising injury, your insurer will cover the legal fees and damages.
The rigorous physical demands of snow sports paired with such dangerous terrain make it extremely important for ski resorts to obtain general liability insurance. As a business that hosts numerous customers during the ski season, you face a high level of third-party liability risk. A sufficient general liability policy is essential to protecting your business from customer claims that have the potential to financially devastate your ski resort.
Additionally, general liability insurance covers third-party bodily injury or property damage resulting from product liability. You could be held liable if a customer is injured or becomes ill from the ski equipment sold at your facility or from any food served in your ski resort.
- Bodily injury: One of the chairlifts at your ski resort malfunctions and drops a few passengers to the ground. Their severe injuries from this fall require medical attention. Your general liability insurance will cover medical costs and any legal fees if the passengers decide to sue.
- Products and completed operations: Your ski resort manufactures and sells custom snowboards with your logo imprinted on the board. Unfortunately, the snowboards lack proper flexibility which causes many of your customers to injure their ankles. Your insurer would pay for medical expenses and damages if the injured customers sue.
If your ski resort employs ski and snowboard instructors, their advice and recommendations to clients could open your business up to liability. Your instructors are tasked with providing accurate and safe guidance for your guests, but if one of your instructors suggests a trail that is beyond a client’s abilities or if their instruction causes a physical injury, your business could be held liable for damages.
Professional liability insurance can protect your ski resort from the costs of lawsuits and damages related to your professional advice and services, including lawsuits against your instructors for negligence.
- One of your snowboarding instructors decides to take a group of students to an advanced trail. A student injures her wrist during a fall. She claims that she was pushed beyond her skill level and it was your ski resort’s improper instruction that caused her injury. Your insurer would cover the legal fees resulting from this lawsuit.
Recovering from an unexpected disaster that damages or destroys your business property can be both difficult and expensive. Commercial property insurance can help your company recover if your property is damaged by a covered peril, including fire, theft, vandalism, windstorm, and water damage.
Property exposure for your ski resort may be high due to the electrical wiring, plumbing, and heating systems necessary for your business. Ski resorts also include ski equipment and machinery to produce/control snow, which further increases your risk.
- A summer wildfire burns down the main building of your ski resort. Commercial property insurance would provide the funds to rebuild the building and replace any property inside the building that was lost in the fire.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides financial and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related illnesses or injuries during the course of their work. This coverage includes the employee’s medical expenses, rehabilitation, and a portion of lost wages. Additionally, workers’ compensation insurance can provide funeral, burial, and death benefits for the employee’s surviving family in the case of a work-related death.
Cleaning and maintenance operations in a ski resort open your business to a number of liabilities. Your employees are all susceptible to slip-and-fall incidents, sprains, and strains. For example, your parking lot and sidewalk snow removal may be handled by employees, increasing the risk for strains and falls. Ski operations include snow maintenance crews, ski instructors, and ski patrol for emergencies, who are all exposed to bad weather conditions, avalanches, and hazardous terrain.
Each state has its own regulations and requirements for workers’ compensation insurance, so it is important to understand your state’s requirements to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your employees.
- During a ski lesson, one of your instructors tears her ACL because her ski bindings aren’t adjusted properly. The injury requires surgical treatment and physical therapy. Your insurer will provide funds for her medical expenses as well as a portion of her lost income while she is in physical therapy and unable to work.
Business income insurance (also known as business interruption insurance) provides coverage for loss of income and operating expenses if your business must temporarily close to recover from physical loss, damage, or destruction by a covered peril. This coverage includes the business’s net profits and normal operating expenses such as rent, employee salaries, and taxes. Business interruption exposure can be substantial due to a lack of backup facilities and the seasonality of skiing operations.
- A fire breaks out in your ski resort causing structural damage to the cabins and buildings and making many trails unavailable for skiers and snowboarders. There are no nearby backup facilities available to temporarily rent, so you are forced to close down your ski resort until the damage is repaired. Your insurer would reimburse you for lost income, rent, and other operating expenses until the damaged property has been repaired.
Commercial auto insurance financially covers damages if you or one of your employees are at fault in a collision while driving a company vehicle. This coverage includes medical costs if the other vehicle’s occupants are injured and damages to the other vehicle. Commercial auto insurance also covers your company vehicles if they are damaged or lost due to theft, vandalism, collisions, or other covered hazards.
If your business owns or leases company vehicles or has employees use their personal vehicles for business purposes, it’s important to secure the right auto coverage. The need is especially acute given that driving may take place in snowy weather and dangerous terrain.
- One of your employees uses the company car to drive a patron from the check-in cabin to his lodgings. The fresh snowfall has not been adequately cleared from the road, so the company car loses traction and collides with an oncoming vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle requires medical attention. Commercial auto insurance would cover damages to the vehicles, as well as the medical expenses of the injured driver and any legal fees.
Equipment breakdown insurance covers the repair or replacement of malfunctioned or damaged equipment. Breakdown and loss of your ski resort’s equipment—including heating systems, hot water systems, electrical control panels, and snow-producing equipment—can result in a significant loss if the equipment is not properly insured.
A standard commercial property insurance policy will not cover the breakdown of equipment, so it would be wise to consider adding equipment breakdown insurance to your commercial property insurance policy as an endorsement or purchasing this insurance as a standalone policy.
- Your ski lift breaks down and accessibility to certain slopes is halted for hours. Your equipment breakdown insurance would provide funds to repair or replace the damaged equipment and cover lost business income while the ski lift is out of commission.
- Commercial crime insurance provides protection for businesses from financial losses resulting from criminal acts. This includes forgery, robbery, burglary, theft, and employee dishonesty. If employees have access to cash registers or safes, there may be a heightened risk for employee theft.
- Inland marine insurance covers products, equipment, and other forms of business property that are not tied to a fixed location and are not covered by commercial property insurance. Bailee’s customer insurance is an important form of inland marine insurance to consider if your ski resort offers lockers or storage areas so that members can temporarily stow their personal belongings. Your customers’ property is under your care, custody, or control, and you may be held liable if that property is damaged or lost.
- If your ski lodge serves alcohol on its premises, liquor liability insurance is essential to protecting your business from liability in situations stemming from guests who consumed alcohol that your ski lodge sold or served. These covered incidents include third-party bodily injury and property damage. If a guest becomes intoxicated and injures another guest or damages property, your business may be held liable.
Pricing and Quotes
Pricing for business insurance will vary based on the type of insurance coverage and the risk profile of your business. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a ski resort with a history of frequent claims will face higher premiums. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer coverage for ski resorts and lodges:
|Provider||Business Interruption||Business Owner's Policy||Commercial Auto||Commercial Crime||Commercial Property||Cyber Liability||Employment Practices Liability||General Liability||Product Liability||Professional Liability||Workers' Compensation|
Business Insurance and Coronavirus
COVID-19 has had a major impact on businesses, including ski resorts, and you may be wondering how business insurance can provide any financial relief. While there is some protection that can be provided, in most cases, insurance will not cover coronavirus-related losses.
You cannot purchase a new policy to cover coronavirus-related losses that have already occurred and insurance policies will not cover losses that have already been discovered.
If you have business interruption insurance, the losses you’ve suffered from temporary closures due to COVID-19 are not typically covered. Unless your policy specifically includes coverage for losses caused by communicable or infectious diseases (which is rare), your business interruption policy will likely only cover losses caused by a direct physical loss or damage.
Workers’ compensation for COVID-19 greatly varies depending on the state. If your employees contract COVID-19 while working, they may be eligible for workers’ compensation payments in some states.
If a client or other third party sues you claiming that they contracted COVID-19 after visiting your business, some commercial general liability policies will provide coverage. Once again, this depends on your individual policy and the laws of your state.
Consult our FAQ on coronavirus and business insurance for more information.
It is important to consider all the various liability risks posed by your ski resort in order to obtain an adequate amount of business insurance coverage. Your ski resort can take many steps to mitigate risk, but it is impossible to avoid all accidents and injuries—especially on the slippery slopes of a snow trail. Make sure your business is properly prepared for any unexpected catastrophes.