Do I need travel insurance for my family?

If you’re searching for a great deal on family travel insurance, but don’t really know what to look for, then you’ve come to the right place – here’s what you need to know.

Do we need family travel insurance?

Travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement but it is very strongly advised. If something goes wrong, having cover means you could be compensated.

It’s not just about cancelled holidays or lost luggage, your travel policy can also cover you for any medical care you or your family might need while abroad. If you don’t have insurance and you’re unfortunate to fall ill or have an accident, then you’ll be expected to pay for the cost of treatment yourself, and healthcare costs abroad can spiral out of control.


Do I need travel insurance if I’m holidaying in the UK?

While staycations mean you won’t have to worry so much about medical costs, if you suddenly become ill and can’t go away, then travel insurance could cover the cost of a cancelled holiday. UK holidays often have minimum stay requirements, so make sure you check this before buying a policy.

Family flip flops

Who’s covered by a family travel insurance policy?

A family travel insurance policy typically covers one or two adults who live at the same address, plus at least one child (up to a maximum of eight children) aged 18 or under who permanently lives with you.

But regardless of how your family is made up, always read the policy details. Some policies may not cover family members who are travelling separately or children accompanied by a non-family member. And check what the policy says about children who don’t permanently live with you, such as step children.

What type of family travel insurance policy do I need?

You can choose a policy based on where you’re going (UK, European or worldwide cover), how long for and whether you intend to have more than one family break a year:

  • Single trip - If you only want cover for one trip, single trip insurance could be the most cost-effective policy for you and your family (make sure that the policy covers the country you’re visiting).
  • Annual - Sometimes known as a multi-trip policy, an annual policy should cover all your holidays for one year, but bear in mind that there’s usually a maximum length for each trip. This means that each holiday you take can’t exceed the number of days specified in your policy – typically this is 31 days, but you can find policies for 60 or even 90 days. If you intend to be away for longer, then look for a long stay policy. 

What other features should I look for in family travel cover?

All good travel insurance policies will share certain ‘must-have’ features, so it’s worth taking the time to look out for them – here’s what to consider:

  • Medical expenses - Your policy should cover you for medical emergencies, the cost of any treatment, overnight stays and repatriation (getting you back home). Don’t make the mistake of thinking your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) is enough if you’re travelling to Europe. An EHIC will only provide you with the same care offered to locals, so specialist treatment or private hospitals could cost you more.
  • Cancellation and curtailment - This could cover you if you need to cancel or cut short your holiday. Insurance providers are very specific about what counts as a valid reason for cancelling or shortening trips, so make sure you’re happy with what your policy states. For example, you’ll usually be able to come home early if a ‘close relative’ is ill, but double check that your definition of ‘close relative’ is the same as your insurance provider’s.

Plus, it’s important to note that if you know that someone in your immediate family has a pre-existing condition, then you may not be covered for cancelling or cutting short your holiday if they become ill and you need to return home to them.

  • Missed departure or delays - Offers cover if your flights are delayed because of an insured event (such as strike action). You could 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 check you know what’s covered by yours.
  • Luggage - Make sure you have 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 have children with you.
  • Personal liability - This may cover the cost of any damage or injury you unwittingly cause while you’re away.

What else should I consider?

Your policy should also reflect what you’ll be doing on holiday. So if you’re heading to the snow, then make sure it includes winter sports cover if that’s what you’ll be doing; the same goes for any sort of extreme sport, so always check you’re covered before you take part in activities like white-water rafting or rock climbing.

Other policies might also include cover for lost or stolen passports, travellers’ cheques and even cash.

Another area to consider is the excess payable. Some policies charge per claim even if the incidents happen on the same trip, so look for policies where you only have to pay out once. 

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