Families Travel Insurance Guide

The ultimate guide to help understand the benefits, limits and exclusions on family travel insurance.

The benefits of travelling with a family are touted across the internet – it’s a chance to get away from work and indulge in some R&R for you and the kids get to experience somewhere different. Perhaps your next holiday plan is to get the kids out of the house for the school holidays and relax on a beach, or you’re going on a cruise?

Whatever the plan, travel insurance is probably going to be part of your essential travel preparation. But of course there’s lots of questions you can have when you start looking for a policy, especially when you’re trying to find a policy that will suit both you and your children.

Below you’ll find an extensive breakdown of everything you need to know about travel insurance for families.

 If you have a question, you’ll likely find the answer below!

What Is Family Travel Insurance?

Depending on your travel insurance provider, you can usually purchase one travel insurance policy to provide cover for your whole family.

family travel insurance policy provides all the benefits you would normally get in a single travel insurance policy, but you just have one policy number to remember and take with you on your holiday.

If you search online, you’ll find that there are numerous family travel insurance policies that you can choose from.

You may wish to look for policies that offer:

  • 24 hour emergency assistance. This means that at any time you’ll be able to get in contact with a professional emergency assistance team which can provide advice, manage your case at hospital or organise to have you transferred to a hospital or back to Australia if required.

/ can also provide cover for a range of unexpected costs before and during your travels.

For example, you can find cover for:

  • Emergency overseas medical expenses, including the costs of seeing a doctor, medical treatment or being hospitalised.
  • The costs of emergency repatriation or evacuation if you become sick or injured and require treatment in Australia.
  • Your lost deposits if you or your child becomes sick or injured before your holiday and you’re no longer able to travel.
  • Your luggage and personal effects, including iPads, mobile phones and laptops, just in case they become lost, stolen or get damaged during the holiday.
  • Other unexpected events that could impact on your holiday, such as a natural disaster which results in flight cancellations.

Remember to read the travel insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement before purchasing a policy to better understand the benefits, limits and exclusions.

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Is Family Travel Insurance Different To Other Travel Insurance Options?

Generally speaking, no – the same benefits and exclusions will apply as on a single policy.

Travel insurers consider a family policy to consist of two adults (either parents or grandparents) and their dependants.

A family travel insurance policy can make purchasing travel insurance faster and simpler to organise. With a family policy you only have one policy number, which will help the emergency assistance team assist you should you experience an emergency while travelling.

One policy number and one set of contact details to remember – that makes keeping your policy information together much simpler!

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Claim Example*

Fiona and her family were enjoying an African safari holiday when one of her children started complaining of sharp pains in their side. They visited a local hospital where a doctor determined the child had appendicitis and needed an appendectomy. Fortunately, their Fast Cover travel insurance policy covered the hospital and medical treatment costs which were over $3,000 AUD.

*Traveller details have been changed to protect their privacy. Claims examples are from Fast Cover travel insurance customers from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016.

Who Can Purchase Family Travel Insurance?

It’s important to check that your family will be covered by travel insurance before you purchase a policy.

First of all, you should make sure your family comes under the definition of ‘family’ in travel insurance.

Generally for the purposes of travel insurance, a family refers to parents (either married or in a de facto relationship) and their dependents (children under the age of 21 and not in full-time employment).

Family groups generally covered by family travel insurance policies:

  • Married couples and their dependant children.
  • Married couples where one parent is a step-mum or dad to the children.
  • De facto couples and their dependant children, whether the parents are mum and mum, dad and dad, or mum and dad to their kids.
  • Grandparents travelling with their grandchildren.

Some family types may not be covered by a family travel insurance policy.

Family groups generally not covered by family travel insurance policies:

  • Multi-generational family members travelling together. For example, a family policy generally won’t provide cover for a family constituting of a grandparent, parent and their young children.
  • Parents who aren’t a legally recognised couple travelling together with kids. This includes divorcees and boyfriends or girlfriends travelling with their significant other and their kids.
  • Parents with kids who are no longer recognised as dependants for the purposes of travel insurance. A 23 year old may still be dependant on their parents, but they won’t be automatically covered as a dependant on a travel insurance policy.

If your family doesn’t match up with the ‘family’ as defined by your travel insurance company, don’t worry! You can still find cover for your holiday, you may simply need to get more than one policy to provide cover for everyone.

For example, people who aren’t considered dependants could get a separate policy, as can grandparents travelling with their children and grandchildren.

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What Is A Dependant?

Your child may need your help with forms, laundry and food for many years after they leave home, but for the purposes of travel insurance a dependant is often defined as a child under the age of 21 who is not in full time employment.

Your child is not a dependant if:

  • They are over the defined age of a dependant in your travel insurance policy.
  • They are working full-time.
  • They are a full-time apprentice.

If your child isn’t classified as a dependant, you can simply organise for them to have a single travel insurance policy instead.

If you’re unsure whether your child is considered a dependant or not, check with the travel insurance company before purchasing a policy.

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Can Single Parents Get A Family Travel Insurance Policy?

If you’re travelling with your kids without another adult partner, you generally won’t need to purchase a family travel insurance policy. Instead, you can simply purchase a single travel insurance policy.

Various travel insurers allow you to add dependant children onto a single adult travel insurance policy free of additional charge.

Remember to always check your insurer’s Product Disclosure Statement to decide which type of policy is best for you and your family, or ask if you're not sure.

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What Benefits Should I Consider?

Family travel insurance can include various benefits.

Some benefits you may wish to consider when choosing a policy include:

A high level of overseas medical cover:

The costs of treatment, hospitalisation or emergency evacuation overseas can come to thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Having a high level of medical cover can give you peace of mind when you’re travelling.

Cancellation cover:

Life is unpredictable and when there’s kids involved, there can often be a higher risk of someone getting sick or injured unexpectedly. If this happens before you travel, you could lose the deposits you’ve made towards your trip including the costs of flights, accommodation, tours or a cruise. Cancellation cover provides cover for these deposits if you can no longer travel due to unforeseen events.

Cover for luggage and personal effects:

If you’re travelling with mobile phones, tablets or iPads you may be happy to find out these items can be covered in the instances where they’re lost, stolen or damaged, as well as the rest of your luggage.

Other optional benefits:

You can also find policies which include other benefits such as loss of income insurance, travel delays, alternative transport expenses, theft of cash, rental vehicle insurance excess and personal liability insurance.

For more details on our policies and the benefits that Fast Cover can offer for your family holiday, take a look at What We Cover.

Always check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for the full terms and conditions of a policy.

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Claim Example*

Hilary and her family took a Sea Princess cruise around Asia and were enjoying the great entertainment and delicious food when disaster struck. Three families were put off the ship but the damage was already done. A nasty virus spread through the passengers, forcing many to visit the expensive on-board doctor. Hilary was charged almost $300 for an appointment but fortunately she had purchased a family travel insurance policy and was able to claim for reimbursement when they got home.

*Traveller details have been changed to protect their privacy. Claims examples are from Fast Cover travel insurance customers from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2016.

What Exclusions Should I Be Aware Of?

It's important to be aware of the exclusions and restrictions which may apply to your policy, as they can impact on your level of cover.

Exclusions may include things like pre-existing medical conditions, activities you’re planning to do, and destinations where a 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do Not Travel' warning has been issued by the Australian Government.

Every travel insurer and policy will have a different list of exclusions, so remember to always read the Product Disclosure Statement before purchasing a policy.


Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Some pre-existing medical conditions may be automatically covered in your travel insurance policy, or you may have a condition which needs to be covered by paying an additional amount on your premium.

For example, common ailments like high blood pressure, diabetes and food intolerances may be covered automatically in your travel insurance policy. However, other conditions such as cancer and heart conditions are often not automatically covered by travel insurance.

See examples of pre-existing medical conditions that can be covered automatically on our What We Cover page.

Will I Still Get Help In An Emergency If It’s Related To A Pre-existing Medical Condition?

You can still call the emergency assistance team and receive help during an overseas emergency.

However, if the cause of the emergency is a pre-existing medical condition which is not covered by your policy, you will be responsible for any related expenses such as the cost of hospitalisation or medical treatment.

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Not all activities are automatically covered by travel insurance. If you have children planning on doing a range of activities, it’s important to check whether or not they’ll be covered should they become injured whilst participating in the activity.

With some travel insurance policies, you can pay an additional premium to add-on cover for higher risk activities like quad biking.

If an activity is not explicitly listed, it’s probably safe to assume that it isn’t covered by travel insurance, but you should always double check!

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Destination Exclusions

The Australian Government may advise Australians not to travel to certain destinations on Smartraveller for a variety of reasons, including the risk of a terrorist attack, armed conflict, social unrest, or critical levels of violent crime. At these destinations, your travel insurance will not provide you with cover.

If you’re travelling to a destination where the Smartraveller advice is to 'Reconsider your need to travel' or 'Do not travel', then your travel insurance policy will generally not provide cover for you to travel there.

Check the Government’s Smartraveller website for more information and up-to-date travel warnings.

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When Should I Purchase Family Travel Insurance?

You can purchase travel insurance up to the day that you board your plane or cruise. However, one important thing to keep in mind is that you won’t have cover for unexpected cancellations until your policy is issued.

So if your child became sick or injured and you have to cancel the holiday, you could be left out of pocket if you don’t already have travel insurance in place.

You may wish to consider purchasing a policy as soon as you start to book and pay for your flights, accommodation and tours to get the full advantage of your cancellation cover.

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What Should I Do Before Purchasing A Family Travel Insurance Policy?

  1. Read the Product Disclosure Statement so that you’re sure the family travel insurance policy will provide you with the cover you’re looking for.
  2. Check Smartraveller for any destination warnings that may apply to your holiday.
  3. Check your passport meets the requirements of your destination (some countries require your passport to be valid for at least 6 months on entry).
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Do Families Get Any Deals On Travel Insurance?

Holidays for the whole family can quickly add up in costs! You might as well get a deal on travel insurance if you can find one.

Luckily, some travel insurance companies provide cover to dependants for free. At Fast Cover travel insurance for example, up to 10 dependant children under 21 years of age can be covered in a family travel insurance policy free of additional charge^.

You’re also able to tailor some travel insurance policies to better suit your needs and in the process, perhaps save a few dollars.

For example you may not need rental vehicle insurance excess cover or cover for snow sports or cruising. So see if you can find a policy which doesn’t automatically include those options and you may find the cost is a little bit cheaper.

^Children or dependants under 21 years old and not in full time employment covered for free when travelling with an insured adult. Excludes Duo policies.

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What Do I Do In An Emergency?

  1. Seek assistance immediately. If you need medical assistance, see a doctor or go to the nearest hospital. If your belongings are lost or stolen, report it to the police or the hostel/hotel management.
  2. Contact your travel insurance emergency assistance team as soon as possible. They will be able to provide guidance and organise assistance if required.
  3. If required, contact the Australian Embassy for assistance.
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