Taking your family on a travel adventure can be a hugely rewarding experience, but it can also prove stressful and risky unless you have planned everything meticulously.
On the one hand, if your children are old enough to remember the trip you will be building lifelong memories for the whole family, and the experiences you have together on the road will potentially enrich your lives forever.
On the other hand, there’s no denying that there are certain risks involved in travelling with children, particularly in destinations where health facilities and hygiene standards may not be of the same quality as they are at home.
Finding suitable family travel insurance
For many parents, it’s these health concerns and a lack of good medical facilities that deter them from travelling to intrepid destinations with their children, and for those who do take the plunge it’s crucial to have a solid plan in place in case of a medical emergency.
Travel insurance is absolutely vital. Check that it covers you for the entire duration of the trip; all the activities you plan to embark on; all the destinations you plan to visit; and for major medical emergencies that could prove costly if you are not adequately insured. An emergency abroad can be shockingly expensive. If pubic health facilities are poor at your destination, you need insurance cover that includes medical evacuation by air ambulance to another country offering better medical facilities. For example, if you’re a British traveller and you have to be brought back to the UK, an air ambulance just from the Canary Islands to the UK could cost £12-16,000, according to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Find out what level of medical cover you might need in various destinations — for British travellers, for example, the UK Foreign Office recommends at least £1m of cover for Europe, and £2m for the rest of the world.
Some insurance providers offer standard family travel insurance packages where kids go free, but check exactly what this covers — because many companies define ‘family’ in a very narrow, conventional manner (a husband and wife plus their biological children), whereas more forward-thinking companies such as InsureandGo are happy to include unmarried couples, including same-sex partners, plus adopted or fostered children.
If you’re off on an extended trip with your family, however, standard family travel insurance may not offer the level of cover you need. Look at specialised insurance for long stays or backpacking, depending on the type of travel you’re planning, and make sure it offers adequate cover for all members of your family.
The most important thing to remember when you’re searching for insurance is that cheaper policies are often cheaper for a reason, offering lower levels of cover. This could prove to be false economy if you find your policy doesn’t cover you when you need it most.