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Travel insurance for under 18s

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Last updated: 10 February 2021

What’s travel insurance for under 18s all about?

If you’ve got a teenager who’s going on holiday with friends, they’ll need travel insurance just like any other traveller would. You can protect them with travel insurance for 17-year olds travelling alone or travel insurance for 16-year olds alone. Then you can stop worrying so much about something going wrong.

Some travel insurance companies only offer individual policies to people over 18. Anyone under that age is considered a minor, and some insurance providers don’t insure ‘unaccompanied minors’ at all.

Don’t panic, though. There are many insurance companies that do offer travel insurance for 17-year olds travelling alone. You can also get travel insurance for 16-year olds alone.

Before you start comparing travel insurance policies for your minor, you’ll have to think about:

  • where they’re going

  • who they’re staying with

  • what they’ll be doing on their trip

  • how long they’ll be away for

  • whether they’ll be going away lots of times this year or just the once.

With travel insurance for 17 year olds travelling alone, do they need their own policy?

Yes. Separate travel insurance for 17 year old travellers is usually necessary if you’re not travelling with them. The same applies to travel insurance for 16 year olds. They’re unaccompanied minors and therefore need their own policy.

But, if they’re travelling accompanied by you and you have a family travel insurance policy, then they of course don’t need their own policy. You can share the family one.

Sometimes, a family policy will cover minors to travel on their own, but this is rare. Check your documents carefully to see if your family policy offers this feature.

What’s covered by travel insurance for 16-year olds alone or travel insurance for 17-year old lone travellers?

Travel insurance for 17-year olds travelling alone offers similar benefits to any other travel policy. The same applies to travel insurance for 16-year old adventurers travelling alone. This can include:

  • Medical expenses: The insurer would pay out if your teenager was ill or injured abroad and needed medical treatment or attention. You can usually get up to £10 million cover.

  • Cancellation and delay: The insurer would pay out if the trip had to be cancelled, was delayed, or got cut short. This could happen if, for example, your teen had to have emergency medical treatment before they went away and couldn’t go.

  • Baggage, possessions and personal money: The insurer would pay out if your teen’s baggage, belongings or money were lost, stolen or damaged. You can usually get up to £5,000 baggage cover.

  • Repatriation: The insurer would pay for your teen to be brought back to the UK if they were ill or injured, and would be better off being treated at home.

  • Some activities and sports: The insurer would pay out if your teen was injured while playing sport. Not all sports will be included, so check the policy carefully.

If your child is going skiing or trying any other extreme sports, they’ll need extra cover. This guide explains how to cover all your activities when you travel.

If they’re taking a smartphone, tablet or laptop, they might need gadget cover too.

Here’s what travel insurance cover and what level of protection to get

Do I need travel insurance for 16-year old or 17-year old children if they’re going on a school trip?

If it’s a school trip your teenager’s going on, the school might have already included group travel insurance in the package price. If it’s not mentioned in the literature about the trip, it’s worth asking the school. You may already have insurance, and you don’t want to pay twice.

If it’s included, find out what the insurance covers. You might decide you want more cover.

For a school trip, your child won’t count as an ‘unaccompanied minor’. In these cases, the school staff are seen as parents and are responsible for your children. So you might find that your family travel insurance policy will cover them, so you’d have to check.

How to find the right cover

The cheapest deal isn’t always the best, and it might not be the right policy for your child. When you compare quotes, check the cover carefully.

You should also think about things like:

  • Does your child have pre-existing medical conditions? If they do, you must declare them when you apply so they’re covered while your child’s away.

  • How long are they going away for? Make sure you find a policy that covers the full length of their trip.

  • Where are they going? Make sure the policy you’re looking at covers them for travel to the right place. You can usually buy insurance for Europe, or worldwide, or for worldwide including the USA, Canada and the Caribbean.

  • Do they have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)? An EHIC gives your child access to medical care in European Economic Area (EEA) countries. These cards are still valid while Brexit negotiations are ongoing. Your child will still need travel insurance to cover things like baggage and cancellation.

  • What will they be doing? If they’re doing winter sports (like skiing) or extreme sports (like bungee jumping), you’ll need to make sure the policy covers them for this. They might need a specialist policy.

  • How many times will they be going away? If this is their only trip, then single-trip insurance is likely to be the most cost-effective option. But, if they’ll be going away a few times, you might like to look into annual multi-trip insurance. Here’s how to work out whether single-trip or annual multi-trip insurance is the right option

Once you’ve worked out exactly what kind of cover you’re after, you can compare quotes. Then you can choose the cheapest from the options that give you what you need.

If you have a pre-existing condition, you can still get a quote through Money.co.uk. These conditions could include cancer, stroke, serious heart, respiratory and terminal conditions.

Some insurers might not cover you if you already have a serious medical condition, or if you have a number of conditions. Others might only offer insurance at a much higher price. If you're unable to find suitable cover, the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has also set up a directory of insurers willing to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions.

You can contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) or you can telephone 0800 138 7777.

Travel insurance for under 18s FAQs

Some travel insurance policies cover children for free, but not all. If you need extra cover buy a family policy or get separate policies for your kids.

Yes, if your child is travelling with a friend's family you can get them an individual policy.

They will not need medical cover because they are covered by the NHS, but it can still cover cancellation and lost or stolen possessions.

Some insurers only offer individual policies to travellers over 16, but others set no age limit at all.

Yes, most adult travel insurance policies will cover your baby or infant when you travel with them, but check first because not all do.

Yes, the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) only gives them access to state provided healthcare in European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

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