FAQs relating to Insurance

NOTE: The AAC(UK) is not an agent for the insurance companies and nothing contained herein should be taken otherwise. Only the AWS Leaflet is authoritative.

Need to contact the Insurance broker KNOX?

KNOX Versicherungsmanagement GmbH phone number is: Tel:  +43 (0) 512 23 83 00  This number is manned from Monday to Thursday 8am – 4pm, on Friday 8am – 12:30 pm (Austria time).  They do speak fluent English. Or email: AV-service@knox.co.at

Does the insurance start as soon as I apply for membership online?

No, the membership application still has to be processed by the AAC(UK) Office which can take up to 3 working days. In periods of high demand or in the event of force majeure an even longer time must be allowed. The insurance starts at midnight at the end of the day on which the AAC(UK) Office processes the membership application. The safest assumption for you to make is that if you have yet to receive your membership card through the post, you might not be insured. However, if you supplied an email address you should receive an email from the AAC(UK) Office confirming that processing has been completed.

If I apply over the weekend am I covered instantly?

No, the AAC(UK) Office is closed from 13:00 on Friday afternoon until 09:00 Monday morning. The Office endeavours to clear any backlog from the weekend as soon as possible thereafter. Processing an application can take up to 3 working days but in periods of high demand or in the event of force majeure an even longer time must be allowed. The insurance starts at midnight at the end of the day the AAC(UK) Office processes it. The safest assumption for you to make is that if you have yet to receive your membership card though the post you might not be insured. However, if you supplied an email address you should receive an email from the AAC(UK) Office confirming that processing has been completed.

What does AWS Insurance cover?

The scope of the cover provided is explained in the AWS Leaflet. You should read it carefully and consider whether it meets your needs and if necessary take out additional insurance. The AAC(UK) Office cannot give specific insurance advice.

How do I make an Insurance Claim?

See details in the AWS Leaflet. You will need to complete one of the following Claim Forms:

Claim Form – for rescue, repatriation and medical treatment costs – In ENGLISH

Claim Form – for third party liability – In ENGLISH

Claim Form – for legal expenses – In ENGLISH

When you return the Claim Form to Austria you will need to send a copy of the receipt for your current membership fee. If you have lost it, the AAC(UK) Office may be able to provide a replacement.

What contact numbers do I need to remember?

The Europ Assistance phone number is  +43 (0)1 25 33 798  This number is printed on your membership card and is manned 24/7.

The KNOX Versicherungsmanagement GmbH phone number is  +43 (0) 512 23 83 00  This number is manned from Monday to Thursday 8am – 4pm, on Friday 8am – 12:30 pm (Austria time).
These numbers do NOT provide contact with mountain rescue services.

How do I interpret these phone prefixes?

The +43 (0) prefix is in the international standard format for showing phone numbers, which we have chosen because of the worldwide nature of the cover provided by AWS insurance.

The + is the International Direct Dialling (IDD) prefix needed to indicate that you are making an international call. Keying + should work worldwide if using mobile phones or any other phones with a + key, when it will be automatically interpreted for you. From landline phones with no + key, 00 is the correct IDD when phoning from both the UK and Austria, and from a lot of other countries, but there are many exceptions, and be warned that in some countries the IDD has been known to change regularly.
The 43 is the specific Country Code for international calls to Austria, in the same way that 44 is the code for the UK.

The (0) in the second bracket is the National Direct Dialling (NDD) prefix used for making calls within the country being phoned. It is 0 within both the UK and Austria, but again, there are many variations elsewhere. Note that if you are within Austria and dial 0043 instead of 0 , it should still work.

If you are going somewhere new it is worthwhile checking and noting the specific IDD and NDD phone prefixes you might need in each country you are visiting.

What is the procedure if I need hospital treatment abroad?

If you are normally resident within the European Economic Area (comprising the EU plus Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and overseas French Dependencies) or Switzerland, it is essential to produce your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) whenever being treated at a public hospital within another of these countries. This ensures that the cost is paid directly by intergovernmental agencies. Please note that the validity of an EHIC expires after 5 years, so check the expiry date of yours in good time before you depart.

AWS insurance covers other hospitalization costs up to a maximum stated in the AWS Leaflet, which might be incurred at private hospitals within the above countries or at all hospitals elsewhere. In such cases, Europ Assistance deals with invoices directly with the hospital finance department. Be advised that this maximum limit might not be sufficient in countries with expensive hospitals or where prolonged expensive treatment might be required.

What is the procedure if I need repatriation?

If on clear medical grounds you need repatriation by road ambulance, scheduled airline or air ambulance, Europ Assistance handles everything from discussing your condition with your doctors, planning the best course of action, and delivering you to your local hospital or to your home, leaving you with nothing to worry about. Please contact Europ Assistance.  You must do this prior to repatriation or transport (not rescue), otherwise any costs that you incur may not be covered by insurance.

What is the repatriation procedure in the event of a fatality?

In the event of a fatality within Europe, you obtain the agreement of Europ Assistance to place the task with a funeral company and Europ Assistance liaises with them to cover the costs directly. Outside Europe, Europ Assistance liaises with your own local embassy (e.g. the British Embassy for most AAC(UK) members) to fulfil all official requirements.

Prior to repatriation, transfer, in-patient medical treatment abroad or transport within the country of permanent residence (not rescue), it is absolutely imperative that contact be made with Europ Assistance +43 (0)1 25 33 798 (otherwise a maximum of only EUR 750  will be reimbursed for repatriation).  Have your membership number to hand, before phoning. Tyrol Air Ambulance will check that your membership is current.

What is the procedure in the event of rescue?

Because rescue is urgent, you must organise it yourself locally without contacting Tyrol Air Ambulance, who neither gets involved with payment guarantees either before or during a rescue operation, nor gets involved in any decision as to the necessity for a rescue. Rescue operations are covered up to a maximum stated in the AWS Leaflet. Wherever possible the insurance company (Generali Versicherungen AG) will establish the facts justifying the rescue as quickly as possible and pay them directly; in other cases you might need to pay them yourself initially and then seek re-imbursement from Generali Versicherung AG (see Claim Form – rescue, repatriation ane medical treatment costs).  Study Paragraph 1 of the AWS Leaflet for full rescue terms and conditions, which this explanation does not supplant. The phone numbers for emergency services vary from country to country, and you should find these out yourself locally.  The phone number for Tyrol Air Ambulance is printed on the membership card (in small print).

The telephone number on your ÖAV membership card is NOT an emergency number for alerting the mountain rescue services.  So before your visit to the mountains, you do need to find out the contact details for the mountain rescue services in the area you are going to.

For alpine rescue in Austria, the emergency number is 140.  In Austria, 112 will put you through to the police instead. They may not be interested in your situation.  Each Austrian province (Land) has its own rescue arrangements, and you may be well advised to check with the local tourist office on arrival.

For other Alpine countries, 112 is the well-known number, but it is NOT necessarily correct in all areas.  Do your research before travel, or on first arrival.  Outside Europe, the same applies.

[There is a list of numbers at https://www.thebmc.co.uk/Handlers/DownloadHandler.ashx?id=1066, but this dates back to June 2013]

If the mobile phone signal is weak, a text message might get through, when a voice call will not.



  • If an overdue party (for example) is unnecessarily ‘rescued’ when there was no clearly demonstrable need, such a rescue might not be viewed by KNOX Versicherungsmanagement GmbH as justifiable and you might end up paying for it yourself.
  • Remember that rescue insurance is exactly what it says it is. It reimburses the cost of rescue, it doesn’t provide it, and it cannot pay for what doesn’t exist. So if you are operating in a very remote part of the world which lacks any rescue facilities, your party might need to be self-sufficient for getting off the mountain.
  • Your passport and membership card presented together provide ID for using the rescue services covered by the insurance. Both must be carried and the name must be exactly the same on both.

How do I extend or change the insurance cover? What if I am travelling for more than 8 weeks and/or over 6000m?

It is possible to purchase an extension to the normal AWS insurance if your trip is more than 8 weeks long or if you will be going above 6000m.  (However, if during the course of an organised trek, single day attempts on summits over 6,000 metres are included in the standard insurance cover , provided that a high altitude camp is not envisaged in the route plan).  Such an extension only applies to a single trip, as opposed to the year long AWS cover provided to all members.  It is only available to current members.    See Alpenverein Premium Single Trip cover.  An extension must be purchased  before your trip commences and must apply to the whole of your planned trip.  Premiums are payable directly to KNOX who can be contacted directly on Tel: +43 (0) 512 238 300 or by email  on AV-service@knox.co.at

I have made an insurance claim and have not heard anything?

Please do not contact the AAC(UK) Office regarding specific insurance claims (except to ask for a claims form) since the Club is not an insurance company agent. Contact details can be found in the AWS Leaflet.

What is the difference between an expedition, a trek and a tour in the context of the insurance?

Very little, each having elements of all three. In conventional UK parlance, the term ‘tour’ is most frequently used in connection with a hut tour in the European Alps and the term ‘trek’ in connection with something similar in the Greater Ranges, which may use bunkhouses, hotels or tents, and which is the sort of activity promoted by adventure holiday companies. The term ‘expedition’ is more usually encountered in connection with serious mountaineering in the Greater Ranges. The distinction between treks, tours and expeditions, in the insurance context, is explained in the AWS Leaflet.

Is caving covered?

The AAC(UK) is a mountaineering, alpine sports and walking club. The only activities which are covered are those described in the AWS Leaflet , and only includes those caving activities which are organised by the AAC(UK) itself. Caving insurance is highly specialised and if you are a UK resident should be arranged through the British Caving Association or through any bone-fide UK Caving Club.

What if my insurance-related question is not in this list?

For insurance related questions please contact the Insurance broker KNOX Versicherungsmanagement GmbH directly.  The phone number is:
Tel:  +43 (0) 512 23 83 00  This number is manned from Monday to Thursday 8am – 4pm, on Friday 8am – 12:30 pm (Austria time).  They do speak fluent English. Or email: AV-service@knox.co.at

[Updated 21 November 2017]

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