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Under-18s travel insurance

All you need to know about travel insurance for children

There are lots of ways for minors to travel – unaccompanied or otherwise. Insuring them is always a must

By Mehdi Punjwani

Published: 24 March 2020

Looking for travel insurance?

Can you get travel insurance for children under 18?

You can buy separate policies for children under 18 if they are travelling alone, but you need to think about what they are doing when they are away. When you’re shopping for travel insurance, you need to inform the insurer where they’re going, who they’ll be staying with and what they’ll be doing.

For insurance purposes, a child – referred to as an ‘unaccompanied minor’ usually counts as anyone under the age of 18. Some insurers count children up to the age of 22 if they are still in full-time education.

Note that your child does not count as an unaccompanied minor when on a school trip, as school personnel are counted ‘in loco parentis’ – which means ‘in place of the parents’ – and are responsible for your children for the time they are away.

Do I need travel insurance for a school trip?

That depends. First of all check what the school, club or group says about it. If the trip is a tour organized by a specialist educational travel agency, travel cover is probably included in the price.

The school may also prefer to make its own arrangements so no child is left with inadequate cover, and then charge parents accordingly.

Once you know what insurance is in place, make sure that you know what it covers and what it doesn’t, in case you need to buy additional cover.

Can stepchildren be included on family insurance policies?

When it comes to blended families, check the terms carefully if you have a family travel policy or non-resident children.

Lots of policies cover stepchildren and foster children, while the majority of family travel policies offer cover to children without a residence requirement. However, depending on your policy, you may find that biological children who don’t live with you aren’t covered to travel with you, while your live-in stepchildren are.

If they are not covered for travel with you under a policy held by the parent they live with, it will be necessary to purchase another insurance policy – either a family policy providing the correct level of cover or a separate policy for non-resident children.

Further to this, it pays to check your own existing household policies. An annual family travel insurance policy might extend cover to a family member travelling independently of the rest of the unit, while contents insurance may provide cover for certain items which are lost or stolen abroad.

You may decide, however, that rather than risk the no-claims discount on your own travel policy, buying an additional policy for the kids is a smarter plan.

Is a teen travelling solo 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 cover members of this policy when they travel separately, but this kind of clause is unusual. As always, check the 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 a friend’s family, and you find your family cover does 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 their counterpart 'adult' policies. So you need to look for medical treatment up to £10m, lost luggage up to £5,000, and sufficient personal belongings cover in case they lose possessions.

While separate cameras are much less common than they once were, a young person may want to take a high-spec camera on a special trip away. Even without cameras, a young person is still very likely to be travelling with at least one expensive, internet-enabled device.

Smartphones, tablets and laptops, along with portable games consoles and activity trackers or other tech wearables are also popular, and anything like this will need a separate gadget travel policy.

Tips for children travelling abroad

●     You will need to buy cover for the region of the world they are going to. Travel insurance divides into regions: Europe, worldwide, and worldwide including the US, Canada and the Caribbean

●     Pre-existing medical conditions may be excluded, but you need to inform your insurer about them and in some cases you can pay an additional premium to get any flare-ups covered while away

●     It’s a really good idea to know what it is your child is going to be doing. If they’re taking part in any winter sports, such as skiing or snowboarding, you will need a specific policy. Less mainstream or more extreme sports like bungee-jumping – where the minimum age permitted varies from place to place, and your child may be able to find somewhere doesn’t require parental permission for 16/17 year olds – may require an additional payment or be excluded entirely

If it is not, then be aware that any injury incurred as a result of these types of activities will not be covered for treatment. This would become expensive for you, as your child is not going to be able to pay the bill themselves.

Compare under-18s travel insurance

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.

MoneySuperMarket can help when comparing travel insurance policies. All you need to do is supply us with information on who’s travelling and where they’re going, and we’ll come back with a range of policies and add-ons to pick from, so you can send your kids away with piece of mind.

Looking for travel insurance?