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Covering your entire brood under one travel insurance policy can help to keep your family protected from the unexpected while on holiday. Family travel insurance policies function identically to singles policies. However, these policies usually have higher cover limits due to the number of travellers they cover.

Do I need family travel insurance?

There’s nothing like taking the kids on holiday to explore new horizons and re-connect as a family. However, things can quickly take an unexpected turn; one of the kids could break a bone on a water slide and need to go to the hospital, your luggage could get lost in transit, or another driver could dent your rental car.

Family travel insurance gives you the peace of mind that everyone on the trip is covered if things don’t go as planned. That means you, your spouse and dependent children are covered under the same travel insurance policy.

Plus, taking out a family travel insurance policy is often cheaper than buying a separate policy for each person travelling.

How much does family travel insurance cost?

The cost of your family’s travel insurance is affected by factors like:

  • the level of cover you choose;
  • the number of travellers on your policy;
  • where you’re travelling;
  • your trip’s duration; and
  • the activities on your itinerary.

Most travel insurance policies will cover dependant children at no extra cost if they’re under 21, named on your policy and don’t work full time; this applies to both international and domestic travel insurance. Some insurers extend the definition of kids to dependants under 25 who live with you and don’t work full time.

In most cases, single parents travelling with their kids only need to buy a single policy, where the cost rarely differs from those who travel without kids. Some travel insurers will cover more than three dependants, so it’s worth reviewing a range of providers if you have a large tribe.

An exception to this rule is when a minor is travelling alone for part of the journey. In this case, they’ll most likely need to be covered by their own policy.

Just as you should shop around when buying flights, it’s important to do the same thing when purchasing travel insurance. Thanks to our free service, you can compare a range of family travel insurance policies in one place.

family canoeing on holiday

Which situations should my policy cover?

Your level of cover should depend on what you’re getting up to on your trip! To help ensure your travels run smoothly, it’s a good idea to have cover for the following (at a minimum):

Medical expenses

If anyone in your family falls ill or is injured during the trip, you’ll need to pay the medical bills – unless you’re visiting a country that has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia. Even so, cover under this agreement is often limited.

As such, travel insurance is crucial in providing cover when you’re sick or injured, so you aren’t left with major out-of-pocket expenses.

Just be aware that certain activities aren’t covered by every policy (e.g. injuries suffered as a result of riding a motorcycle without a licence). Also, insurers may not cover some pre-existing conditions.

Ultimately, be sure to thoroughly check your policy’s Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to know exactly what you’re covered for before purchasing.

Theft or loss of belongings

There’s nothing worse than arriving at your dream destination, only to realise someone’s snatched your luggage before you’ve left the airport. This doesn’t have to be a big issue since you can claim on your travel insurance and get some money back. However, if you left your belongings unattended, chances are you won’t be covered. Just make sure you report the incident to your insurer, the airline and local police within 24 hours.

Cancellations and delays

Postponed flights and missed tours are common. However, in many cases, you can be compensated for this misfortune by making sure your travel insurance policy covers lost deposits and cancellations.

What about group travel insurance?

Group policies are ideal when more than two adults are travelling together (with or without children), with many insurers catering for groups of eight, 10, 12 – even up to 25 people travelling together.

Not only can group policies be well-priced, but you could also save time by buying just one policy to cover all travellers.

However, when children are travelling in the group, remember that a family travel insurance policy may be a cheaper option because dependent children are usually covered for free up to varying ages (depending on your insurer). Additionally, while some insurers offer group travel insurance policies for anyone travelling in a group, they aren’t available through every provider.

Learn more about group travel insurance.

What if I’m pregnant?

Getting travel insurance when you’re pregnant is slightly different from taking out a family policy. Before you do anything, speak to your doctor about your travel plans and see if you’re able to go.

Typically, your first and second trimesters are safe for travel, provided you don’t experience any complications with your pregnancy. Unfortunately, you may struggle to get travel insurance in your third trimester. Find out more about travel insurance and pregnancy.

Not pregnant and not looking for family cover? You’ll have more luck searching for travel insurance by type.

family packing luggage for an overseas holiday

What can a family travel insurance policy include?

Your family travel insurance policy should offer comparable protection to a standard travel insurance plan, and could include cover for:

  • overseas medical and hospital expenses
  • trip cancellation costs and delays
  • lost, damaged or stolen luggage and personal belongings
  • theft of cash
  • rental car excess
  • some out-of-pocket or additional expenses
  • some sports and activities
  • personal liability
  • permanent disability and loss of income
  • accidental death
  • dependents under 21
  • 24-hour emergency assistance.

All cover is subject to the limits of your policy (i.e. its terms, conditions and any exclusions), which is outlined in your product disclosure statement (PDS). Carefully read this document before purchasing travel insurance.

Family travel insurance: Policy exclusions and what to watch out for

Travel insurance policies come with common exclusions. To put it plainly, they don’t typically cover:

  • losses caused by pre-existing medical conditions
  • lost, damaged or stolen belongings that were left unattended
  • claims due to unlawful or reckless behaviour, intoxication or drug use
  • unapproved high-risk sports or activities
  • travelling against government advice
  • acts of war, terrorism or civil unrest.

Cover for certain pre-existing medical conditions and high-risk sports or activities can be added to most travel insurance policies at an extra cost. Before purchasing any policy, ensure you read and understand all exclusions on the PDS.

Four top travel tips for families

1. Choose the right destination for your family

Some destinations are better suited to families than others. For example, if you have young kids, a trip to Disneyland might be preferable than a trip to Vegas. Similarly, if you’re travelling with a pram or toddlers, you probably don’t want to be trekking the Himalayas.

If you’re going on your first family trip, maybe you’d like to go somewhere closer to home and avoid long-haul flights. Travelling as a family is also more expensive (more plane tickets to buy and bigger hotel rooms, etc.), so a destination like Asia might be more budget-friendly than, say, Europe.

Get the whole brood together and plan out the type of holiday you want for your budget. Ask the kids what they’d like to do most and ensure every family member has an experience to look forward to.

2. Register your travel plans with the Australian Government

Let the Australian Government know a) where your family is travelling to and b) how long they’re travelling for by registering your trip with Smartraveller. Through Smartraveller, you can provide the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with your trip itinerary and both your contact details and your family’s or friend’s details back home, so they can be easily reached in case of an emergency.

You can also subscribe to receive free travel advice, alerts and the latest updates on the part of the world you’re travelling to. However, you should know that registering with Smartraveller doesn’t guarantee your family consular assistance if you get into trouble abroad.

3. Ensure your family’s vaccinations are up to date

Before you head off on your family trip, make sure everyone in your clan is up-to-date with their travel immunisations, routine childhood vaccinations and boosters.

Depending on which destinations you’re travelling to, your family could be exposed to infectious diseases that are (generally) preventable by immunisation. According to the Department of Health, the following may be recommended for you and your children before you head overseas:

  • combined hepatitis A/B vaccine
  • cholera vaccine
  • meningococcal vaccine
  • typhoid vaccine
  • tuberculosis vaccine (BCG)
  • rabies vaccine
  • yellow fever vaccine
  • Japanese encephalitis vaccine
  • influenza vaccine.

There are also certain vaccines needed for different countries, which is why you should visit a travel health clinic or your general practitioner for advice at least six weeks before you depart from Australia.

4. Arrange your own in-flight entertainment and snacks

We know that kids and long-haul flights don’t mix well. Little ones tend to become restless when they’re confined to a small space and need to stay put for long periods. To help avoid tantrums and disruptions, bring extra in-flight entertainment and snacks.

Firstly, ensure you fully charge your electronic devices; hell hath no fury like a child with a dead iPad. Pack other forms of entertainment too like stickers, colouring books, Legos, puzzles, etc.

While most flights these days provide passengers with in-flight meals and refreshments, you should always have your own supply of snacks in case the kids don’t like plane food or get peckish in between meals times. You can always buy nibbles on the plane, but you’ll pay top dollar!

Compare family travel insurance to find a great deal

Looking for travel insurance that will protect everyone in the family?

Our free travel insurance comparison service helps you compare a range of policies in minutes, based on your preferred level of cover. You can also easily weigh up policy features, premiums and the excess amount (the amount payable to your insurer when you make a claim) so that you can find a family travel insurance policy without any hassle.

Sources

Australian Government Department of Health – Immunisation for Travel

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