You can buy separate policies for your children under 18 who are travelling alone, and you need to think about what they are doing when they are away.
Will they be covered under a family or annual travel insurance policy?
If you are travelling as a family, you should be able to save money with a family policy which will cover everyone travelling together.
Some of these policies will provide cover for members of this policy travelling separately, but it is unusual so check your terms and conditions and make no assumptions. In some cases, children under 18 will be covered for free on these policies.
If under 18s are travelling alone or with, say, a school party, and your family cover will not apply, then you need to get a separate policy.
What cover options are there?
The cover options on travel policies for under 18s should be no different to 'adult' policies. So you need to look for medical treatment up to £10m, lost luggage up to £5,000, and personal belongings cover in case they lose their belongings, such as cameras or phones while they are away.
You will also need to get cover for the region of the world they are going to, as a trip to America will require worldwide cover for any claims to be covered.
Pre-existing medical conditions may be excluded, but you need to tell the insurer about them and in some cases you can pay an additional premium to get any flare ups covered while you are abroad.
If the young person is going to be undertaking any dangerous sports, such as skiing, bungee jumping and so on, you again need to be sure these are covered under the policy. Depending on the provider, it may already be included in the policy.
If it is not, then you must pay an additional premium, because any injury incurred as a result of these types of activities will not be covered for treatment. This could become expensive for you, as your child is not going to be able to pay the bill themselves.
If you are not travelling with the person under 18, then check the terms of the policy to make sure they are covered if travelling alone.
If they are travelling in Europe, they must also get their EHIC card before setting off, as this will give them access to state-funded healthcare in the country they are visiting if it is within the European Economic Area. But this is not a replacement for travel cover, as what is covered for locals in the country for free may not be the same as you get from the NHS in the UK.
Compare insurance quotes but do not be tempted to go for the cheapest option, as you may find the cover for the young person travelling is left wanting.
Always read the Ts & Cs
No matter what travel insurance policy you are looking at, it is vital that you read the terms and conditions so you know exactly what it covered and what is not covered.
The only value to insurance is in your ability to make claim against it, so, if you buy a policy that fails to offer the cover you need, you would be wasting your money no matter how cheap the deal.
Check the Ts and Cs before you buy the policy, then you will have no nasty surprises further down the line.