Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia

Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia is a myth

Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia

Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia

Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia

This is a myth.

In Slovenia, mountain rescuers increasingly assist poorly equipped, inadequately conditioned, uneducated, and irresponsible hikers. There’s a belief that this is only possible in Slovenia, where rescue is free, unlike abroad, where rescue is chargeable, leading to fewer such cases.

It’s important to clarify that the misconception about free mountain rescue in Slovenia and abroad isn’t entirely true. Bills for mountain rescue have been issued in Slovenia as well, and rescue is also free in some foreign countries like Croatia.

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Countries regulate mountain rescue services differently, leading to various cost coverage models. Besides the model where search and rescue costs are covered by the state budget, some models involve co-payments, while in others, the rescued individuals must cover the costs.

EU citizens are entitled to necessary medical services while temporarily staying in another EU or EEA country, Switzerland, and the UK under the same conditions as local citizens, according to the Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (ZZZS). This means EU citizens are generally entitled to free mountain rescue in Slovenia. For Slovenian citizens in other EU countries, it depends on each country’s regulations. Costs can typically be avoided by purchasing additional personal insurance or joining mountaineering associations.

Although mountain rescue in Slovenia is practically free, the law allows for the issuance of rescue bills, but this hasn’t been practised since 2011. Slovenian mountain rescuers are volunteers, funded mainly by the Administration for Civil Protection and Disaster Relief, with helicopter rescue costs covered by the state budget. At the end of a rescue operation, the rescued person typically doesn’t receive a bill, as explained by the Ministry of Defence.

The law stipulates that anyone who intentionally or negligently causes an incident must cover or partially cover the intervention costs. The government determines the amount to be paid in such cases. From 2006 to 2011, 12 claims were issued, but since losing a lawsuit in 2011, no further claims have been made.

Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia

That Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia is a myth.

Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia is a myth

In Italy, Austria, Germany, and Croatia, rescue regulations vary. Rescue is free in Croatia and in emergency cases in Germany, partially in Italy.

In Austria, rescue and transport costs in case of sports and tourist accidents are generally not covered. However, exceptions exist for severe injuries or urgent rescues. Each case is reviewed individually, so there is no general rule for cost coverage.

In Italy, urgent medical services, rescues, and transport are generally free, but regions can determine which services require payment. Mountain rescue in Alpine regions typically involves a co-payment, except in Liguria and Friuli-Venezia Giulia, where only non-urgent rescues incur charges. Each region has its own pricing, with helicopter rescue in Veneto costing 25 euros per minute, up to a maximum of 500 euros.

In Germany, mountain rescue is categorized into emergency, non-emergency, and extrication rescues, each with different public and individual cost coverage. Public insurance generally covers medically necessary rescues. For minor injuries, costs are typically shared. Extrication rescues, for non-injured individuals needing assistance, are not covered by the state, and search costs for missing persons are not reimbursed.

Mountain Rescue is Free Only in Slovenia is a myth

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With respect and best wishes,

Iztok
Caretaker of Erjavčeva Mountain Hut


Iztok

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