A simples guide

Do I need travel insurance for my family?

Travel insurance is a bit like your toothbrush. It’s not absolutely necessary to have when you go away but it’ll save you time, hassle and money if you’ve already got it.

It’s bad enough realising you don’t have insurance when you’re travelling alone, but not having cover when you’re away as a family could end up being a disaster. Why not read our family insurance travel guide to find out whether you need cover?


Is there a need for family travel insurance?

Buying travel insurance is not a legal requirement but it is very strongly advised. If something goes wrong, it means you’ll be compensated. It’s also important because it should cover you for any medical care you might need whilst abroad. If you’re taken ill on holiday and don’t have insurance, you’ll be expected to pay up out of your pocket and healthcare costs abroad can spiral out of control. Having money worries when the worst happens in the last thing anyone needs. 

Family flip flops

What type of family travel insurance policy do I need?

A typical family travel policy will cover two adults and up to eight children who are 18 and under and live with you all the time. You can also get single parent family cover and couple and child cover. Always choose the policy that fits your family best; you might find it more cost-effective in the long term.

You’ll need to double check your policy wording as to what makes up a ‘family’. Some insurers won’t cover children unaccompanied by a family member and others might not insure children who don’t live with you permanently.

There are different types of insurance policy available depending on the type of trip you’re taking:

  • Single tripif you’re only going away once a year, it may be more cost-effective to get a single trip policy tailored to the country you’re visiting.
  • Annual policies – as you’d expect these policies cover you cover you for a year. There are different maximum trip lengths for annual or multi-trip policies, so if you’re going to be away for a long time (i.e. months) then you’ll need to invest in a long stay policy.
  • European or worldwide – policies are split into European or worldwide cover. The term ‘European’ tends to be used loosely as some insurers will include popular destinations like Egypt as part of their European cover – so make sure you check carefully whether the country you’re travelling to is covered by the policy you choose.
  • Winter sports – if you’re heading off to the snow, you’ll need to ensure you have this cover, most standard travel insurance won’t cover you for any winter sports.

It’s also worth thinking about any other activities you might be doing when you’re away such as hiking or kayaking – you may need to bolt on some additional cover just in case. And if you or a family member has a pre-existing medical condition such as diabetes or epilepsy, you will need to disclose it.

What should I look for in travel insurance?

Regardless of the policy type you should always look out for the following features:

  • Medical expenses – your policy should cover the cost of any medical treatment you need whilst you’re on holiday, it should also give you the means to come back home if necessary.
  • Cancellation and curtailment – if your holiday is cancelled or cut short, you could be compensated. Different policies will have their own rules about what qualifies under this heading so read the small print.
  • Missed departure and delays – covers the cost of you missing your flight for reasons out of your control (such as delayed public transport). You may also want to look for cover that insures you against delay due to (for example) strike action or bad weather.
  • Luggage – make sure you’ve got enough insurance to cover the cost of your luggage if it’s stolen, lost or damaged. Don’t underestimate how much you travel with, especially if you’ve got the kids in tow – bottles, booster seats, clothing – they may be pint sized but children aren’t cheap.
  • Personal liability – this covers you in case you injure someone else whilst you’re away (but it excludes injury to family members).

Other policies may also include cover for things like lost and stolen passports, money or travellers’ cheques.

One thing worth checking for, is the excess payable. It’s easy to get stung if your policy states that you need to pay an excess for each different claim, such as one for lost luggage and one for a delayed flight even though they happened on the same trip – so if that’s important to you, it might be worth choosing a policy with one excess for any claims. In addition, having EHICs for all the family can mean a zero excess for a medical claim on some policies.

But I’m only holidaying in the UK – do I still need travel insurance?

Staycations in the UK mean you won’t have to worry so much about medical costs. But if you suddenly became ill and you couldn’t go on holiday, you’d have to cancel at your own expense. Unless you don’t mind losing several hundreds of pounds and then forking out for another holiday once you’re better, insurance is probably worth at least considering.

What’s next?

So before you pack your bags and dig out your passport, take some time out to comparethemarket for travel insurance – it’ll be one less thing to worry about while you’re looking after the kids and trying to relax.

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