family traveling together through an airport

Family Travel Insurance 101

How many reasons do you need to get family travel insurance?

The answer is easy: Look at your family, add up the members, and voila! There’s the number of reasons you most certainly need to consider travel insurance for your trip.

Travel insurance is important even when you’re traveling solo for the protection it offers when your flight’s canceled, your baggage is lost, or you break your leg skiing in the Alps.

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But each additional person on an overseas trip gives you an additional reason to purchase robust travel insurance coverage, whether that’s family travel insurance for a summer holiday or group travel insurance for an alumni golf expedition, girls’ getaway weekend or church-sponsored “volunteer vacation.”

family travel insurance

What is it and why do we need it?

Family travel insurance and group travel insurance policies cover the same types of unexpected expenses as individual travel insurance policies, from trip cancellation and interruption to transportation mishaps (the flight, connections, car rentals). They may also provide protection from property theft, financial recourse against tour operators that suddenly go out of business, and post-emergency medical care not covered by your health insurer at home.

The expenses incurred by some of these multiply by a factor of however many people you’re traveling with (in terms of tickets purchased), and the chances others may occur multiply as well. Five trips cancelled are worse than one – and the more luggage and travelers you have on your trip, the greater the chances of someone losing their phone, getting sick before a pre-paid tour, or twisting their ankle on a hike.

What kinds of things will family travel insurance cover?

Here are just a few scenarios that illustrate how protecting your family vacation or group trip with travel insurance can save you considerable time and money:

  • Pre-paying for guided tours, show tickets and car rentals can save money, especially at group rates. But if one person needs to cancel, can you recover the cost?
  • The more the merrier – except when it comes to luggage. If two of the five bags your family or group is traveling with get lost or delayed, can you pull together the necessary “essentials” without going out of pocket?
  • If one part of your group (or your cousin’s family) misses a connection, will the unexpected additional cost for re-routing be paid for?
  • If one of the grandparents breaks a hip playing shuffleboard on a cruise in the Mediterranean, will Medicare foot the bill? (Answer: No, it will not.)

Again, when it comes to family and group travel, the more the merrier – until something goes wrong.

According to travel insurance expert Damian Tysdal in his blog Travel Insurance Review, the kinds of coverage that could prove most useful for group travel include trip cancellation and interruption, medical and evacuation, baggage delays and missed connection coverage, which “reimburses each traveler up to a certain amount when they miss an important connection and need alternative travel arrangements.”

What should I look for – or look out for?

Travel insurance policies aren’t much fun to read, but you’ll want to shop around for the best family travel insurance (or group travel insurance) for your group’s needs.

  • Shop around: You may see a pop-up ad for trip insurance while you’re booking a cruise and the cost may be low, but will the coverage meet your family’s needs? You can expect to pay between 5 to 8 percent of the total trip cost for a good plan.
  • We are family – right? Family travel insurance policies can have varying definitions of the term “family.” Some may be referring to a party with two adults and children under 18, but you may want to look for other age restrictions or whether the family needs to reside at the same address. There may also be special terms for single-parent families.
  • Don’t double up: Be sure you’re not duplicating coverage you may have elsewhere. Some personal property may be covered by homeowner’s insurance, and it’s possible your premium credit card may cover anything from flight delays to medical evacuation – provided you used the card for the trip purchase. Check beforehand and cross-reference coverage between policies.

Have you ever been glad you purchased family travel insurance or group travel insurance? What happened and how did it save the day? Feel free to share your insights in the comments section below.

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