What Are The Best Under 18s Travel Insurances?

antoine fruchard Antoine Fruchard  updated on March 25, 2020

Your under 18s teen 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 under 18s travel insurance: is it compulsory, which cover should you get, what travel insurance terms you should pay attention to, etc.

Why does an under 18s need travel insurance?

Under 18s 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 or accident while practicing sport.

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.

Did you know that a survey conducted by Which in 2018 showed that of 10 000+ UK travelers 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.

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£5,000£3,300£0
until medical expense limit is reached
4 days at the hospital to treat an under 18s pneumonia on a school trip£32,000£0 in a public hospital only*£0
until medical expense limit is reached
Repatriation to the UK for an under 18s on a school trip£100,000£38,000£0
usually real fees
Bagage lost at the airport£1,000£1,000£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 (coronavirus for instance)£10,000£5,000£0
until cancellation limit is reached
Laptop stolen£800£800£0
depending on personal belongings disclosure
Expenses your under 18s may face abroad

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 under 18 child, less experienced travelers.

Compare best travel insurances for under 18s

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 18 years old. 

InsurersPriceReviewsCover child travelling alone
logo coverwise£8,95
  • One of the most competitive travel insurance for 18 years old on the market
  • In standard policy: £20M medical expenses, 108 activities covered
  • Optional gadget cover
yes
logo southdowns£9,00
  • Competitive rates
  • In standard policy: £20M medical expenses, 110 activities covered
  • Optional gadget cover
yes
logo holidays extras£14,09
  • In standard policy:*5M medical expenses
  • Gadget cover available only for Platinum level (£32,95)
  • Good reviews on TrustPilot
yes
logo post office money£15,01
  • Specific Kids Travel Insurance Plan
  • Smartphone cover of £100 in all levels of protection (up to £1000 optional)
yes
Child travel insurance comparison under 18

Prices above are for a 7 days single trip to Europe for under 18 minor.

What are the different types of travel insurance for under 18?

Under 18s holiday insurance policies are split between those categories:

Travel insurance typeGood to know
Single trip insuranceThese 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 insuranceThese 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 insuranceIf 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 yearUnlike 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.
Different types of travel insurance for under 18s

How much is under 18 travel insurance?

Under 18s 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:

Under 18s 7 days single trip policyAnnual family policy*
Trip to USA (worldwide)£8,80£117,49
Trip to Europe£10,26£66,89
Young persons travel insurance prices

*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 under 18 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 under 18s 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 under 18 child in case of a claim
  • The excess amount you’re willing to pay
  • What your child of 18 years old will be doing abroad (winter, extreme sports).

Note that many insurers may offer free travel insurance for 18 years old travelling alone if it is part of an annual family policy.

Can I get travel insurance for under 18s travelling alone abroad?

Short answer: yes you can.

If you are shopping around for travel insurance for 18 years old 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 minor 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 my under 18 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 under 18s travel insurance compulsory?

No, travel insurance is not a legal requirement no matter your age range. 

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 18 years old 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 minor mean 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 minor age range may vary from one insurer to another. For some of them, it will be any child until turning 18. Your under 18s child is not un unaccompanied minor if he is travelling on a school trip as responsible adults will look after him.

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 under 18s child in the family without any residence criteria. However that is not always the case and you may find out that under 18 children not leaving under the same roof may not be included in 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 policy for each of your under 18 child trips.

Do I need to get travel insurance for my under 18 school trips?

Usually, schools apply themselves to travel insurance for under 18 child 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 school under 18s 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 holiday insurance for 18 years old 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 must include 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: 

CompensationAverage amountGood to check
Medical expenses compensation amountAverage of £5M to £10M
  • Are surgery and stays in private hospitals included in medical compensation?
  • Will I need to pay for medical fees upfront?
  • Will any’“accompanying person’ fees be reimbursed (extra travel, accomodation, car rental)?
  • What is the excess you’ll have to pay for a medical claim?
  • Is there a 24/7 free-of-charge and UK-based assistance landline?
  • Is unlimited overseas assistance provided?
Repatriation compensation amountReal fees
  • Is any transportation mode included (by alternative schedule flight or by air ambulance)?
  • Is repatriation under the supervision of a nurse /doctor or adult supervision taken into account?
Trip cancellation / curtailment£5000 – £10000
(depending on your destination)
  • Is trip cancellation included as standard or as an option?**Which reasons exactly are included to get compensation for your trip cancellation (e.g. medical appointment postponed)?
BaggageMinimum of £1500 limit
  • Is it only valid during return transport or during the entire stay?
  • Do you need the receipts for any belongings for baggage claims?
  • Is the limit fixed by value?
Missed departure, delay Minimum £500 limit 
(minimum £200 limit for delay)
  • Are all justified reasons for missed departure covered? 
  • How many hours of delay to qualify for compensation?
Personal liabilityAverage £2 million limit 
  • What is the limit by article and valuables?
  • Don’t focus on overall limit only
Legal expensesAverage £15000 limit
  • Does it cover any lawyer fees (including appointment fees)?
What should under 18s travel insurance cover?

As nice-to-have features, you may want to get:

  • dental emergency treatment abroad
  • money and cash stolen (although it is often included in standard policies)
  • loss of passport or official documentation.

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. For medical expenses, always get your insurer to accept them before paying if you need to advance fees.

What does under 18s 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 teenagers can I get?

We’ve noticed that insurers emphasizes on the following extras for the under 18s age range:

ExtrasWhat it will cover you for
Gadget coverCovers your gadgets (laptops, smartphones, tablets) from theft, accident, loss, liquid damage, unauthorized calls, etc.
Sport coverCovers your sport activities, any emergency fees you may have to face during practicing, etc.
Extras you could get for teenagers travel insurance

Tips for under 18s 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 under 18s ‘s EHIC card in his backpack if he is travelling to Europe.
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