Your child is about to travel without you for the first time? You’d like to buy the right travel insurance that’s tailored to his age range and kind of trip? You don’t know if your annual family travel insurance covers him for his trip abroad?
You’ve come at the right place.
In the below guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about children travel insurance: is it compulsory, which cover should you get, what travel insurance terms you should pay attention to, etc.
Table of Contents
Why does children need travel insurance?
Children need travel insurance just like anybody else to be covered for unexpected event that can go wrong such as:
- medical treatment abroad
- lost or stolen baggage
- repatriation in emergency
- accident while practicing sport etc.
Just to show you how important applying for travel insurance is, here are a few examples of what an unfortunate and unexpected event might cost you during an example holiday:
|How much will you have to pay if you’re travelling in the USA without travel insurance?||How much will you have to pay if you’re travelling in the USA without travel insurance (but with an EHIC card)?||How much will you have to pay with travel insurance?|
|Air rescue in a winter skiing station||£5000||£3300||£0|
until medical expense limit is reached
|4 days at the hospital on a school trip||£32 000||£0 in a public hospital only*||£0|
until medical expense limit is reached
|Repatriation to the UK for a child on a school trip||£100 000||£38 000||£0|
usually real fees
|Bagage lost at the airport||£1000||£1000||£0|
until personal belongings limit is reached
|Cash or money stolen||£300||£300||£0|
until cash limit is reached
|School trip cancellation due to unexpected event||£10000||£5000||£0|
until cancellation limit is reached
depending on personal belongings disclosure
Did you know that a survey conducted by Which in 2018 showed that of 10 000+ UK travellers of all age ranges, 64% had medical treatment while they were travelling abroad? The average medical spend abroad is around £1300 but it can be much more.
Depending on your trip destination, the medical expenses or trip cancellation fees you may have to face could really leave you out of pocket. This is why a comprehensive travel insurance – providing you with financial compensation and assistance – is a must-have, especially for children, less experienced travellers.
Compare best travel insurances for children
In order to save you time (and money!), we’ve came up with a non-exhaustive list of companies to help you finding the right travel insurance for your child.
|Insurers||Price||Reviews||Covers children travelling alone||See offer|
Prices above are for a 7 days single trip to Europe for a 15 years old child.
Always carefully check insurers’ policy booklets before leaving your child alone on a trip. Understand the exclusions of the travel insurance you applied for.
What are the different types of travel insurance for children?
Children holiday insurance policies are split between those categories:
|Travel insurance type||Good to know|
|Single trip insurance||These travel insurance policies are for one-off holidays.|
Your child will be covered from the start of the journey until the end.
You can decide the number of days you want your kid to be covered for.
There is usually no minimum age restriction to apply for single trip travel insurance.
Purchase can be made on behalf of a teen.
|Annual multi-trip insurance||These policies are made for frequent travellers going away several times a year.|
It will cover your child for a period of 12 months with a limited duration for each trip which usually varies from 10 to 90 days.
You would need to check whether it is more competitive to buy two or three single trip insurance policies, an annual multi-trip policy for your kid or an annual family policy if you are travelling as well.
|Family travel insurance||If you already have a family travel insurance policy, your teen might be covered for a school trip or any separate trip abroad. You must check terms and conditions in your policy booklet.|
Note that most insurers allows spouse and dependent 18 years old to be covered for free.
|Gap year||Unlike the annual multi-trip policy, the gap year travel insurance has not a maximum number of days per trip.|
Your kid will be covered for a longer period for usually 12 months. It is the right travel insurance to take if your teen is going to study abroad in a specific school for example as long as your insurer covers under 18 age range.
Check in policy booklet.
How much is children travel insurance?
Children single trip travel insurance are often very affordable policies. For as cheap as £1 per day, you could let your child travel alone with peace of mind.
The table below shows indicative quotes for under 18s travel insurance:
|7 days single trip policy |
for under 18s child
|Annual family policy*|
|Trip to USA (worldwide)||£8,80||£117,49|
|Trip to Europe||£10,26||£66,89|
*Prices above are for a 5 people family with 3 children under 18s.
It is, however, quite difficult to give precise ranges of how much a travel insurance will cost for you as prices are based on a wide range of criteria. It will mainly depend on:
- If your child is going on his own or if you are going as a family on annual multi-trips as mentioned above
- If you’re subscribing to children upgrades such as gadget cover
- If your teen has pre-existing medical conditions (epilepsy travel insurance for example)
- The duration and destination of your child’s stay
- The financial limits you’d like to get for your child in case of a claim
- The excess amount you’re willing to pay
- What your child will be doing abroad (winter, extreme sports).
Note that many insurers may offer free travel insurance for children travelling alone if it is part of an annual family policy.
Can I get travel insurance for children travelling alone abroad?
Short answer: yes you can.
If you are shopping around for travel insurance for children travelling alone, you must know that many insurers provide travel insurances for child travelling without parents.
You will therefore need to apply for a separate single trip travel insurance policy and mention to your insurer:
- that your child is travelling alone
- where is he going
- what will he be doing abroad (study, sport, visiting grand-parents?)
- who will he be staying with.
If you already have a family travel insurance, check carefully your policy booklet as many insurers will cover trips of each member of the family travelling separately, and therefore also 18 years old travelling abroad without parents.
As mentioned above, a child can be without parents starting from 5. It is your duty to take all the necessary actions to ensure the safety of your child (escort etc.).
Can I buy travel insurance for children or grandchildren?
Yes you can get travel insurance for your child or grandchild. And you should!
Getting travel insurance on behalf of someone is totally feasible. You only need to enter the right travelers age, name or medical screening details while applying for a travel insurance.
Is children travel insurance compulsory?
No, travel insurance is not a legal requirement no matter the age range of the lead’s travellers.
However, although not compulsory, we strongly advise you to apply for a travel insurance policy to cover any trip cancellation, repatriation expenses, loss of baggages you may have to face while travelling.
Is my child covered if I buy a family travel insurance?
If you already subscribe to a family travel insurance, then all the members of your family might also be covered for their separate trip. However, that is not the case for all travel insurance.
Carefully check terms and conditions in your travel insurance policy booklet.
What does unaccompanied child means exactly?
The term unaccompanied minor often used by tour operator, airline or insurer stands for any child from 5 to 15 years old, travelling without the supervision or an adult (parent or legal guardian).
If your child is in this age range and is about to travel alone, or with younger sisters and brothers you should check:
- terms and conditions of your travel insurers for a child travelling alone
- minimum age limit to fly alone of the airline company, escort service and fees associated.
Unaccompanied children age range may vary from one insurer to another. For some of them, it will be any child until turning 18. Children travelling on school trips are not considered as unaccompanied.
Are stepchildren included in family travel insurance?
Short answer: check terms and conditions of your family travel insurance (and any condition related to blended families).
Usually insurers covers foster and stepchildren as well as any biological child in the family without any residence criteria. However that is not always the case and you may find out that children not leaving under the same roof may not be included on your family travel insurance policy for example.
You will need to evaluate whether you’d like to go for an annual family policy covering your children and stepchildren for separate trips as well or if you’d rather book one separate children policy for each of your child trips.
Do I need to get travel insurance for children school trips?
Usually, schools apply themselves to travel insurance for children group on school trips for instance and this is included in your teen’s trip price.
However, to make everybody happy with limits and deductible amounts or if one of the children has severe pre-existing medical condition, the school may prefer to ask every parent to purchase travel insurance separately.
If nothing has been communicated, you may want to ask the main teacher and advise whether you need travel insurance or not accordingly.
What does holiday insurance for children should cover?
Each travel insurance policy is different, since it is the insurer who determines the content of the contracts it offers: guarantees, compensation limits, deductibles, travel insurance prices, etc.
However, all contracts on the market – including children travel insurances – must cover at least the following guarantees, applicable in Europe or worldwide:
- Medical expenses: compensation by the insurer for your health expenses during your stay (consultation, analysis, emergency treatment, longer hospital stay, etc.)
- Repatriation assistance to the UK: financial and logistical support by a dedicated 24/7 team for your early return to your country of residence if it proves necessary
- Trip cancellation and cover for delayed or missed departure: compensation if you need to cancel your trip for whatever reason or if you missed your departure
- Personal liability: compensation for any damage or injury made to a third party (consider adding it as extra if not included in standard cover)
- Baggage: compensation for any lost or theft of baggage while travelling(consider adding it as extra if not included in standard cover)
Most of the time, travel insurers offer different formulas. Cover types involved are usually the same but the compensation limits and deductibles vary.
When applying for under 18s holiday insurance abroad, you should pay close attention to:
|Compensation||Average amount||Good to check|
|Medical expenses compensation amount||Average of £5M to £10M|
|Repatriation compensation amount||Real fees|
|Trip cancellation / curtailment||£5000 – £10000|
(depending on your destination)
|Baggage||Minimum of £1500 limit|
|Missed departure, delay||Minimum £500 limit |
(minimum £200 limit for delay)
|Personal liability||Average £2 million limit|
|Legal expenses||Average £15000 limit|
Always carefully check the age limit and compensation amounts as well as deductibles you’ll have to pay in case you need to make a claim (as your child may not do it for you!). For medical expenses, always get your insurer to accept them before paying if you need to advance fees.
As nice-to-have features, you may want to get for your child:
- dental emergency treatment abroad
- money and cash stolen (although it is often included in standard policies)
- loss of passport or official documentation.
What does children travel insurance not cover?
Most travel insurers will not give financial compensation for:
- Any claim made as a result of a pre-existing medical condition or pending diagnosis undeclared at the time of purchase
- Any claim made as a result of you being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Difficulties due to natural disaster, war, civil unrest (look out for strikes)
- Any claim made as a result of a terrorist act (except if you took out this cover as an option)
- Any claim made as a result of extreme sport practice not disclosed at the time of applying.
We would strongly advise you to carefully check your policy booklet for the main exclusions before leaving home.
What travel insurance options for children can I get?
We’ve noticed that insurers emphasizes on the following extras for the children age range:
|Extras||What it will cover you for|
|Gadget cover||Covers your gadgets (laptops, smartphones, tablets) from theft, accident, loss, liquid damage, unauthorized calls, etc.|
|Sport cover||Covers your sport activities, any emergency fees you may have to face during practicing, etc.|
|Single item cover||Covers a single, expensive item your child is taking with him (camera etc.)|
Tips for children travel insurance
- If you have a family travel insurance, always check first if your policy doesn’t cover each separate trip of family members. If you are about to purchase one, you might want to go for an insurer covering under 18 with no extra charge.
- Always pay attention to destination, maximum number of days, minimum age limits for lead travellers in your insurer policy booklet before choosing one.
- If your under 18 child is going on a school trip, check with the school if a group travel insurance has been purchased already.
- Always note what your kid will be doing abroad, who he will be staying with, what is the itinerary. And decide on travel insurance accordingly. If your under 18 child is going on a ski trip with his school, then it is better to be sure that you applied for the right winter sports option.
- Always put your child EHIC card in his backpack if he is travelling to Europe.
- Check accompanying adult fees terms if something goes wrong and you need to go pick up your child.