A simples guide

What do I need to look for when choosing family travel insurance?

Going on holiday’s exciting, especially when you go as a family.

There’s all sorts of things to look forward to – the kids repeating ‘are we there yet?’ on loop, the unscheduled loo stops and getting everybody through security without losing any shoes, belts and toys.

As stressful as it can be it’s all part of the adventure – but there’s one thing you definitely don’t want to get caught short on and that’s your family travel insurance.

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What is a family travel insurance policy?

A family travel insurance policy usually covers two adults and up to eight children who are 18 or under and permanently live with you. You can also get cover as a single parent family as well as couple and child cover – if these options are a better fit for your family, it’s worth investigating because it might mean a lower premium.

You’ll need to read the small print though. Some ‘family’ policies may not cover you if family members are travelling separately or if children are accompanied by a non-family member. Also, check what the policy says about children who don’t permanently live with you, such as step children – as some may not classify it as ‘family’ cover.

Families toes
Packed car

What features should my family travel insurance policy have?

Your policy should always reflect the activities you’re going to do. So if you’re all off on a skiing holiday, you’ll need to make sure you’re all covered for winter sports. Winter sports cover may cost you more but it’s considered a riskier activity, and the same can be said of summer sporting activities such as kayaking, rock climbing or even pony trekking. Make sure you choose a policy that covers you the activities you’ll take part in.

But even if your family holidays are just about indulging in some warm sunshine, all good policies will share certain ‘must-have’ features. Here’s what you need to look out for.

Medical expenses

Your policy should cover you for medical emergencies and the cost of any treatment, overnight stays and also repatriation (getting you back home). Don’t be tempted to forgo travel insurance because you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Your EHIC will only give you free or reduced cost basic medical care, you’ll be expected to cough up for anything thereafter.

Cancellation and curtailment

You may want to be covered if you need to cancel or cut short your holiday. Insurers are very specific about the reasons for cancelling and shortening trips so make sure you’re happy with what your policy states. Most will cover you if you have to come home because a ‘close relative’ is ill but double check what their definition of ‘close’ is – you might consider your aunt’s cousin’s daughter to be ‘close’ but your travel insurance provider might not. In addition, it’s important that you’re not aware of any pre-existing illness in your immediate family before you take out travel insurance. If you do know that they’re already not well, they will be excluded from mitigating circumstances if you then cancel your holiday because they’re ill.

Missed departure or delays

This will cover you if your flights are delayed because of an insured event (such as strike action). You’ll also be compensated for any accommodation and additional travel expenses if you miss your departure because of an event out of your control (such as if your car breaks down or delays on public transport). Policies differ over what sort of events will qualify for compensation so always check the fine print.

Luggage

Ensure you’ve got enough insurance to cover the cost of lost, damaged, stolen or destroyed luggage. Don’t underestimate what you’ve got in your suitcase – cameras, tablets, make-up and clothes – it all adds up so make sure you’re adequately insured. Consider any particularly valuable items like jewellery – you might need a separate policy for them.

Personal liability

This means you’re covered if you accidently injure someone else but you won’t usually be covered if you injure someone in your own family.

Anything else?

Some policies will also cover expenses incurred if you lose your passport whilst abroad, or will replace money and travellers’ cheques if lost or stolen.

Watch out for the excess on your policy too – some will charge you an excess per incident so look for policies where you are only charged one policy excess.

Don’t bury your head in the sand – before you pack your bucket and spade, get your family travel insurance sorted – start comparing the market with us today.

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