Travel can be risky for minors, but also hugely beneficial for their wellbeing and development. Travel insurance helps to mitigate some of that risk by covering the costs of any mishap or misfortune that might fall them overseas.
In this guide, we’ll look at why travel insurance is important for under 18s, and what to look for in a policy.
Why is travel insurance for under 18s important?
The relatively small cost of a travel insurance policy could save a policyholder thousands of pounds if something were to go amiss while they are abroad.
For example, the out-of-pocket cost to get an under-18 traveler on a flight home after breaking their leg skiing in France, is around £1,800 according to insurer Admiral. Surgery for a ruptured appendix in Spain would cost £7,000.
A decent travel insurance policy costs a fraction of those amounts and would provide the following protection:
Medical expenses of up to £10 million
Repatriation to the UK
Lost luggage, personal possessions and cash
Cancellation, curtailment and delay
Injury sustained in certain sports and activities
Why you might already have cover
But how do you find cover for a traveler who is under 18? If you have an annual family travel insurance policy already, it may cover members of your family under the age of 18 while they’re traveling without you.
Every insurer and policy will handle things differently, so check the policy wording carefully to see if it provides cover for solo travel, or with a responsible adult other than you, such as a grandparent or teacher.
Under-18s travel insurance for school trips
If someone you’re responsible for is going on a school trip overseas, it’s likely the school has factored travel insurance into the price. However it’s worth checking the cover that’s in place and what it includes.
Again, it may be that your annual family travel insurance provides sufficient cover – with teachers of school staff acting in ‘loco parentis‘ – in place of parents. The same goes if your child goes abroad with a friend and their family, with the parents in loco parentis.
Buying under 18s travel insurance
If you don’t have an annual family travel insurance policy and a school policy doesn’t apply, you’ll need to buy separate cover.
Some insurers don’t sell policies to under 18s, but plenty of others do. Here are some key points to consider if you’re buying a policy.
Medical conditions: Insurers ask you to disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. While this can push up the premiums, failing to do so can leave you underinsured. And this means the insurance provider may not pay out for a claim.
Trip length: Some policies only cover you for a maximum of 31 days. Beyond that you’ll need to look for specialist cover providers.
Sports cover: If a young person is going to be scuba diving, rock climbing, skiing or snowboarding on their trip, they’ll need a policy that specifically covers those activities.
Number of trips: If your child is going away once, a single trip policy will suffice. If they’re going away more than once over the next year, an annual policy might be more cost effective.
When comparing any travel insurance policy, weigh up the cost against the cover it offers. The very cheapest option may not be the best.