Sometimes it is necessary for our children to travel unaccompanied, and while that means we cannot physically be with them, we want to make sure that they are cared for in every way possible.
So getting travel insurance for unaccompanied minors is going to be a major part of that, and you need to take some time to compare policies to make sure that not only are you getting your child the cover they need, but that you are not paying over the odds for it.
If you have a family policy which covers your children when you all go away, you may find that this will cover your children to travel independently, but you should check the terms and conditions to confirm this.
If your family policy does not cover your children to travel on their own you will need to look for an insurer who can offer travel insurance for unaccompanied minors.
What should I be looking for in travel insurance for children?
Policies for children travelling alone will vary in the same way a standard travel insurance policy will vary, so you must get one that has the cover you need. For example, if your child is going to be taking part in any winter sports when they reach their destination, whether that is with the school or relatives they are visiting, you will need to make sure this is covered as part of the policy.
Otherwise, you should check the level of cover available for the standard elements of the policy that you would usually be looking for, such as lost luggage cover, personal accident cover, medical treatment cover, and cover for money and valuables getting lost.
Many policies will cover some sports as standard, as kids are generally active, but some of the more daring activities they may get involved in, such as go karting, may require extra cover. Always check the policy details before you sign up for the policy.
What other rules and regulations surround a child travelling without parents?
Of course, there is more to consider than just insurance when it comes to unaccompanied minors flying, there are plenty of rules that have to be adhered to by the airlines too.
Different carriers will have different rules that you have to follow if you are asking them to take your child on board without you. You would need to check the specifics with the airline you are using, but as a general guide:
Consider the minimum age. Your child must be above five years of age before an airline will consider allowing them to travel without an adult accompanying them.
Services offered by airlines. Airlines will usually offer a specific service for children between five and 12 years old, or for some it can be up to 15 years old. You must book your child on the flight with these services if one exists.
Check the rules for your destination. The country that your child is travelling to may have different rules about how old your child can be to travel alone, so you need to check with the airline to ensure it is fine for your child to go to the country they need to without you.
Get them their own passport. To travel independently of a parent or guardian, a passport in the child's name is required.
Be prepared. The flight service must usually be booked at least 24 hours before your child it due to fly so arrangements can be made in good time.
Consider the additional cost. You will need to pay extra for the service that provides someone from the airline to accompany your child.
Sort out the paperwork. You are responsible for ensuring that all relevant documents are filled in and that your child has all of necessary paperwork to travel and be admitted to the country he or she is visiting.
If you need additional information about the particular service for the airline you are using, you should contact the customer services department before you make a booking. No matter what the rules are for the airline, you should make sure your child has insurance to cover everything they are doing while on their holiday abroad. Children flying alone are something that many airlines and insurers deal with differently, so always ensure you have the most suitable cover.