One of the benefits of being a DMC member is the liability insurance we get, by virtue of being a Mountaineering Scotland affiliated club.

This important page summarises what the insurance is and what it does and does not provide.

It is based on the information from Mountaineering Scotland. For more details see Mountaineering Scotland's insurance pages.

1. What is it?

The MS Combined Liability Insurance provides cover for your liability in a number of ways.

The most obvious example is the scenario where you are sued by another party after being involved in or present at a mountaineering related incident. It is important to note that without such insurance, given that compensation claims are now in fashion, you could potentially be bankrupted should someone successfully sue you for damages.

Also, in the eyes of the law, the members of a club like ours all jointly share in the liabilities of of that club - so this insurance therefore also covers your share of DMC's liability too (i.e. if someone were to sue the club).

2. What ISN'T it?

The policy is NOT medical insurance, or mountain rescue insurance. Those types of cover are not required in the UK, as medical and rescue services are provided free of charge (note however it is customary to make a donation to the mountain rescue services if you ever have to use them, as they are charities!).

The policy is NOT travel insurance either - although the policy provides the same liability cover for participating in the insured activities even whilst abroad* (with the exception of US & Canada) this is all that is covered. Therefore if going abroad for mountain sports you should take out separate travel insurance (including sufficient medical and rescue cover) for your trip. Note that as a DMC/MS member you are eligible to take out the BMC's special mountaineering travel insurance.

* see point 7 below for exception to this.

3. What activities are covered, and what activities are NOT covered?

The policy covers most mountaineering related activities - See MS insurance FAQ for details.

Note however that mountain biking is ONLY covered when used as a means of gaining access to the mountains for mountaineering purposes. Other mountain biking activities are therefore NOT normally covered - some additional mountain biking cover may be afforded given that DMC's constitution defines mountain biking as one of the objects of the club - see MS insurance FAQ for details.

4. Am I only covered when on club trips?

No, the policy covers you as an individual, so you're covered whenever you take part in insured activities, whether with DMC or not. Note this is NOT the case if you are living abroad and don't have a permanent UK address - see point 7 below.

5. What if I take part in mountain sports with someone who isn't insured?

As a member you would still be insured for any claims against you, but if an incident were to occur and subsequently you wished to make a claim against the other person (who was not similarly insured) then you may be unable to receive any damages awarded, due to the lack of insurance held by the other person, as without insurance it's likely they would be unable to pay the damages. (See MS insurance FAQ for details)

It is a bit like if you are driving a car and are hit by an uninsured driver - you could end up out of pocket even after a court finds the other party responsible, because of their lack of insurance resulting in an inability to pay.

Therefore if there is someone you go mountaineering with regularly who is not a member you may wish to encourage them to obtain such insurance e.g. by joining DMC or another MS club or by joining MS directly as an individual member.

6. Is everyone attending every club trip always insured?

Yes and No!

As a DMC member your own liability is covered by your insurance.

Non-members attending a club meet as a guest (i.e. to try the club out before joining) do actually have their liability covered as well, due to a special clause within the policy which allows for this. This does NOT however allow for repeated attendance on club trips which is an important reason why we ask non-members to apply for membership if they want to come on another meet, having already attended a previous club meet. (See MS insurance FAQ for details)

Note however that activities arranged informally via the club's forum involving a mixture of members and non-members might not always be classified as a "club trip" for insurance purposes and therefore members cannot always assume that everyone else attending such trips will themselves be insured for their liability. Members may therefore, for their own peace of mind, wish to encourage any non-members which they are regularly participating in mountaineering activities with to join MS either directly, or via DMC (or via another MS club) in order that they obtain this insurance cover.

7. I'm a member but not a UK citizen, am I still covered?

It would seem that as long as you have a permanent UK address you are fully covered. If not then you will ONLY be covered whilst participating in club activities in the UK whilst you are visiting.

See the longer MS insurance FAQ page for more details.
See also the other MS insurance information pages regarding the insurance policy.