What is family travel insurance?
Protecting our families and their interests are amongst our top priorities in life and remain at the forefront of all our minds, all of the time. It’s both instinctive and human nature to safeguard our own as much as it is to love them. While we can’t permanently wrap them in cotton wool or bubble-wrap, there’s nothing to say we can’t take other preventative measures to ensure our family’s continued safety.
Although there are potential dangers at every turn in our family homes, there are many more potentially witnessed when we travel further afield and into new territories. And not ones which we are habitually programmed to be aware of.
Not that, before we go any further, we want to put the frighteners on anyone planning on travelling/holidaying any time soon, as none of the dangers are akin to horror stories please let it be known, we merely wish to raise awareness that issues – ranging in severity from the inconvenient to the emergency situations – have a tendency to crop up from time to time, and therefore need to be prepared for.
"By bundling cover for all of your family into one policy, rather than buying separate cover for each individual, you could save a lot of money."
And the most fool-proof way of doing this, and protecting your family, is of course by having a far-reaching travel insurance policy in place prior to heading off on your family holiday.
Family travel insurance is a specialist form of travel insurance cover which throws a legally-binding protective arm around families travelling together – to shield them and their financial interests from unpredictable forces of nature. As well as an exhaustive list of other mishaps and misadventures, ranging from lost luggage and delayed flights to cancellations and emergency medical care. Pretty much everything any parent would want in place to help them look out for their loved ones while in unfamiliar surroundings.
Traditionally a family travel insurance policy would be made available to those with what might once have been deemed the typical nuclear family (i.e., consisting of 2.4 children), yet today conventional families come in all shapes and sizes and are all welcomed by travel insurance providers.
Typical qualifying criteria includes any parent who is living with their children at their address, with policies readily available to cover one or two parents along with their dependent children up to the age of 18 years. Although in some cases this can be extended to 22-years.
Please note that single parents can also apply for family travel insurance policies with most leading insurers. Family travel insurances usually come in the two different packages – as do most travel insurance plans to be fair – namely a single trip policy and a multi trip policy. However these can be broken down further to determine whether you need UK only, European or worldwide cover.
‘Single trip’ cover is geared up towards those family units who are planning the one, or maybe two, holidays in the forthcoming year, while ‘multi trip’ cover will be of most interest to those families who are looking forward to jetting off with a little more regularity than that; or even as the mood takes them if they’re fortunate.
To better clarify, imagine if you were planning a last minute two-week family holiday. If so a single trip travel policy allows you to snap up a quick deal literally just before you travel and covers you specifically for the duration of that holiday.
Alternatively the multi trip plan (also referred to by some insurers as ‘annual’) would make more sense to you if, say, you had a fortnight in Greece booked for June, a long weekend away in the Cotswolds in August and another 2-week break in America later in the year to look forward to.
In terms of monetary appeal, the single trip family travel policy comes into its own if arranging it as a comprehensive deal, but either way buying an all (family) consuming family travel insurance policy per se works out a lot more cost effective than wasting time (and money) sourcing individual plans for each member of your family.
What’s more – and as you’ll agree, much more – in some instances it’s more than possible to receive increased levels of cover on family policies to boot, including alternative accommodation, upgraded cancellation and additional baggage cover to name but three.
Do I need family travel insurance?
We’d say so. As we said at the start, there’s nothing more precious in life than our families, so why in that case risk their wellbeing (and your family’s wealth) by finding yourself short in both departments whilst you’re all on holiday, should an unpredicted situation take a turn for the worse? It doesn’t make any sense, does it?
Look at some of the eventualities you could easily find yourself and your family pitched against and then arrive at your own conclusions. Take for example if one of the party becomes unwell or are injured, either scenario sufficiently enough to warrant a visit to a medical centre. GP and hospital admissions abroad aren’t free, with most overseas countries routinely charging for consultation and subsequent treatment or resultant medical procedures if you can’t provide proof that you’re insured. What’s more, a good family travel insurance policy will repatriate anyone named on the policy should they fall seriously ill.
And then there’s the not-unheard-of instances where families misplace or lose their passports en route. Hardly surprising given all the organising and on-going commotion which manifests when kids and the prospect of a holiday start to collide. Once more, a good family travel insurance plan will account for any lost documentation and get you out of a hole with the minimum of fuss.
We’ve mentioned baggage, travel cancellations and delays previously, and alongside public liability and legal expenses cover these vital elements are all normally covered by a thorough family travel insurance package. And don’t forget, if you really want to cover all angles, families can also adapt their bespoke travel policies to include that most modern of plans, catastrophe cover.
Yes, that’s right, you can now pre-empt the financial fall-out from ash clouds and earthquakes by adding catastrophe cover as a specific bolt-on policy feature if you feel the need.
How much does family travel insurance cost?
Obviously this depends implicitly on the type of family travel insurance you opt for by and large – single or multi trip/annual – and whether it’s a basic cover or a more comprehensive plan.
Multi trip family travel insurance can be had from under £30, with watersports cover thrown in for a few pound more. Which would be prudent if one of your forecast breaks included participating in any watersport activity, just to be on the safe side and add further protection against injury.
‘Winter sports’ and various ‘activity travel’ insurance policies can be figured into a family travel insurance plan and if you are planning on adding a bit of extra excitement to your holiday we’d always recommend spending that little extra in terms of premiums to get the additional cover.
Some existing family travel insurance packages do include certain activities from the outset, yet many more are excluded and require the would-be policyholder to opt-in.
While on this subject, cruise holidays (although not necessarily known for the risk element, the holiday is typically played out in the open seas for the most part) often require an extra premium, and of course can have dedicated specialist cover taken out as a stand-alone insurance product entity, don’t forget.
Speaking of going a bit further afield, and know your limitations. Or rather, have a fair idea of where borders and boundaries start and finish from your family travel insurance providers point of view, so as to avoid confusion at a later stage – and the probability of having to stump up higher premiums. Geographical limits are everything you see. Some travel insurers classify Turkey, as a point in question, as a worldwide destination, whereas others consider it as part and parcel of Europe. The underlying fact that it bridges Asia and Europe proves a bit problematic to some travel insurance purveyors it would seem. Irrespective of this, you’ll notice a huge difference between premiums for Europe and worldwide, understandably, so don’t get caught out.
What can I do to reduce the cost of family travel insurance?
The biggest mistake many people looking to arrange family travel insurance make is to cut financial corners from the outset and purchase a policy purely on price alone. Yes, you can buy a cheap family travel insurance plan, but does it comprise ALL of the cover that you require it to? Have you read ALL the small print?
In most instances the cheaper the price, the more compromised the cover and the falser the economy; which will inevitably cost the unwitting policyholder in the long run. The more ‘competitively’ priced the plan is, the lower the levels of cover and the higher the excess payments will be should you have to make a claim in the future. Our advice to you would always be to compare a range of like-for-like family travel insurance policies, even those you consider are more expensive, as nine times out of ten you’ll learn that they give you much higher levels of protection and have lower excess limits for only a small additional premium. Plus, at what cost is peace of mind for you and your family when you’re a long way from home?
Incidentally, some family travel insurance plans also allow the adults to travel separately within the year if taken as an annual policy and a number of insurers offer free cover for those under the age of 18; all of which are save the policyholder money in one aspect or another.