The best family holidays are about having a stress-free time with the kids, but it’s not all just fun and games. To ensure you can really relax, make sure you have invested in some top notch travel insurance for the family that will cover you in the case of emergencies. Gretta Schifano, author of Mums Do Travel, tells suitcases&strollers why family travel insurance is so important and some of the things to look out for before you pay.
When you go abroad on family vacations it’s vital to have adequate family travel insurance. The cost of travel insurance for families is minimal compared to the potential cost of not having it if something goes wrong. For example an air ambulance to the UK from the Canary Islands can cost from £12,000 to £16,000.
I’ve had to call my travel insurance emergency number twice when a family member became very seriously ill in the UK while I was in Italy with my husband and kids. On both occasions my insurer arranged for us to be flown home immediately. Both times were awful…but would have been even more stressful had we not had travel insurance for the family.
So here are some travel tips for purchasing family travel insurance.
When You Need Family Travel Insurance
- Make sure you have travel insurance before you actually book a trip in case something happens and you have to cancel.
- UK residents are entitled to a free European Health Insurance Card, or EHIC, to obtain free or reduced cost medical treatment in Europe. If you’re entitled to this card you don’t need to pay anything for it so make sure you apply for it through the official website rather than unofficial sites which may charge you. You need travel insurance even if you have an EHIC because the card doesn’t cover services such as repatriation.
What Type Of Family Travel Insurance To Choose
- Look beyond the price of the policy when deciding which one to take out. The lowest priced policy might not be the best one for you and its cover may be inadequate. For instance, some credit cards offer free travel insurance if you book with them, but the coverage may be very minimal. Read all the terms and conditions. Make sure the insurer offers round-the-clock emergency service, medical evacuation if you are travelling to a developing country and that the policy will cover the value of your possessions if they are stolen or lost. [For more travel tips on travelling to developing countries with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
- If you travel often then annual multi-trip policies can be a great option and offer good value. They provide family travel insurance coverage for a whole year for all countries in the specific geographical area you choose and save time as you don’t have to worry about sorting out travel insurance for each trip. If you want full flexibility, it’s worthwhile investing in worldwide family travel insurance just to be safe.
Declare Everything Upfront
- When you’re applying for travel insurance you should always give full and accurate information about your medical history up front because if you don’t you may not be covered.
Check Your Family Travel Insurance Policy Diligently
- If you’re pregnant then check the policy very carefully because you may not be covered for pregnancy-related issues (such as if you have to cancel your trip or need medical treatment when travelling during pregnancy).
- When you choose the geographical area for your insurance cover make sure you choose the correct one. For example, Turkey isn’t usually included as a European destination.
- If you’re going to be taking part in any family adventure holiday activities such as white water rafting or snowboarding then make sure you tell your insurer up front because you may have to pay an extra charge in order to be covered.
Don’t Forget to “Insure” Your Insurance
- When you travel leave a copy of your insurance and other documents with a trusted friend or relative and make sure you take multiple copies with you on your trip. Keep a copy in each of your bags (including your hand luggage) along with copies of all your passports and other important documents in case any of these – or your bags – goes missing. [For more travel tips on what to pack in your carry on luggage, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
- Find the emergency contact number for your family travel insurance company before you go away and put it with your other important documents so that you can find it easily should you need to.
Even if you have family travel insurance you should always carry a travel emergency medical kit with you on all family vacations. For travel tips on what to include in the kit, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
For a comprehensive list of all the important travel documents you should always have when traveling with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.
For more travel tips, see the suitcases&strollers list of stories here.
By Gretta Schifano of Mums Do Travel