How To Buy Travel Insurance When Traveling With Children
If you’re planning a family vacation with young children, you’re probably worrying about what could possibly go wrong. So for this reason, you’ll probably think about travel insurance.
Traveling with young children presents unique challenges. This according to travel experts like John Gobbels, the chief operating officer of Medjet.
“They tend to be a bit more accident prone,” he says. “Over the years, we’ve seen food—and waterborne illnesses that resulted in hospitalizatio. Head injuries from falls, severe injuries from overturned golf carts. Simple viral infections that set off more serious health issues—and more.”
Travel insurance isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and that’s particularly true for families with young children.
What Kind of Travel Insurance Do Families Need?
Traveling with a family—and especially with young children—is unlike any other kind of travel. You don’t have to be a parent to know that. The same way family travel requires a particular set of skills, so does travel insurance.
Here are the types of coverage families use most often, according to experts:
Your health insurance probably doesn’t cover you for an international trip. “Accidents can happen,” says Scott Adamski, head of U.S. field sales for AIG Travel. “So having a plan with medical expense coverage is an important attribute of any travel insurance plan.”
The medical coverage on your travel insurance policy covers your family temporarily while traveling. It can provide 24/7 assistance, emergency evacuation and pays for emergency medical costs.
Now more than ever, families need to think about what happens if something goes awry during a trip. If, say, your flight gets rerouted and you end up having to stay overnight somewhere with your family. Travel insurance can cover the costs of a trip interruption.
Travel insurance with trip interruption will reimburse you for any prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses covered under the policy. If one of your kids gets sick and you can’t travel anymore, trip interruption may cover you.
Trip cancellation insurance allows you to cancel your trip. So that you can receive a full refund of the trip costs under certain circumstances. Among the covered reasons are an unforeseen illness or death—yours or a family member.
This coverage can apply if your children’s primary or secondary school year goes beyond its predefined calendar. However, it may not apply to athletic events. So if your daughter’s volleyball team goes to the finals and that overlaps with your vacation, you may be out of luck.
Return of Minor Children
This coverage ensures that dependent children traveling with you are returned home. When you’re hospitalized for more than a certain number of days (usually seven). The children would otherwise be left unattended.
“Most plans cover this, but it is good to make sure and be familiar with the conditions and limits. This is all laid out in the policy certificate,” says Damian Tysdal, who hosts the Safe Travels podcast.
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Tips for Buying Travel Insurance for Trips with Young Children
You’ll want to keep a few travel insurance purchasing strategies in mind as you’re looking for the right policy.
1. Make sure everyone’s covered.
When you buy travel insurance, it’s important to ensure every member is listed on the insurance. Benefits don’t transfer from parent to child or vice versa.
“So for example, if you purchased a travel insurance policy for yourself, and your trip was interrupted. If you and your son need to fly back home, your ticket would be covered. But his wouldn’t be unless he sits on your lap,” says Cheng of World Nomads.
2. Get COVID coverage.
Given the significant concerns and uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to ensure your family’s travel insurance policy covers any future outbreak.
“Choose a travel insurance provider that doesn’t treat COVID-19 as a foreseeable event,” advises Christine Buggy, a vice president at Travelex Insurance. If it does, then if you, a family member, or traveling companion get sick with coronavirus, you could be ineligible for the trip cancellation, interruption and medical benefits associated with the plan.
3. Consider a policy upgrade to cover more.
Your travel insurance company may offer more options for families with young children. Take your medical coverage, for example. A company like TravelGuard offers a medical “bundle” that allows you to double the coverage limits for medical expenses and evacuation.
TravelGuard also offers a bundle that adds more coverage to the base policy.
“For example, your family trip centers around a theme park or similar attraction, and upon arrival, you suddenly learn that it’s closed for certain unforeseen reasons,” says AIG’s Adamski. “For families with young children, this coverage might be particularly useful.”
4. Mind the pre-existing conditions.
One common misconception is that parents—or grandparents—are the most likely to file a claim. But your kids may also have a pre-existing medical condition, like asthma or allergies, that may interfere with your trip.
“If your young children have any pre-existing medical conditions, you’ll want a plan with a waiver of pre-existing conditions exclusions,” says Rachel Coen, a spokesperson for G1G Travel, a travel insurance site.
5. Shop around before you buy.
Before you upgrade or pay extra for a travel insurance policy, experts recommend casting a wide net. Some policies cover everything—and everyone—you need.
“Many travelers who are traveling with young children can find protection for their whole family with a standard travel insurance policy,” says Kasara Barto, a spokesperson for Squaremouth, a travel insurance site. “There are even some providers who include coverage for children under the age of 18 for free on their standard policies.”
Barto says travelers should always confirm that the policy covers their main concerns, especially when traveling with a family. Those can include cancellation coverage in the event of inclement weather or medical coverage for cases of unexpected illness or injury. Then she recommends buying the least expensive policy that meets their needs.