Travel insurance is one of those annoying little details that it is oh so easy to overlook when you are organising your vacation. When was the last time you actually made a claim against a policy anyway? Family travel insurance and how we manage it is one of our most asked questions.
Planning on travelling with no travel insurance?
Especially in these times, you simply cannot afford to take the chance of travelling without insurance. COVID-19 has cast a shadow over everyone’s travel plans for the time being. For one thing, there is now a very real risk of your trip being cancelled last minute should your destination experience a sudden surge in infections and get locked down again.
If you don’t have travel insurance, you will struggle to get your money for flights and accommodation back. We have all heard the horror stories of people that lost their money during the pandemic, however had they invested in a reputable travel insurance policy they might not be in the same situation.
Imagine this scenario, you or a member of your family catching coronavirus and falling seriously ill while you are away. If that’s not frightening enough, a terrible situation could be made a whole lot worse if you need medical treatment and don’t have insurance to pay for it. Being admitted to hospital in a foreign country without travel insurance could cost you thousands.
If the treatment you or your loved one needs isn’t available locally and you have to be repatriated, you are talking the kind of sums that would leave most people bankrupt. Especially if in the USA where they’ll be asking for your insurance details before they even look at your loved ones. Imagine being in a South East Asian hospital like Myanmar and needing urgent surgery, would you prefer that done at home or in somewhere like that?
From that point of view, buying travel insurance shouldn’t seem like a big deal. But we know how it is – that family vacation is costly enough as it is. When you are stretching your finances to make the trip happen, every last bit you can save matters. If travel insurance should be viewed as an essential for you and your family, spending as little as possible on it is still important.
Our philosophy is, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!
Now we’ve established travel insurance is a necessity, let’s discuss some options for family travel insurance we have discovered.
So how do you save money on travel insurance?
Group discounts and single vs multi-trip
First of all, if you are travelling as a family, you are already at an advantage when it comes to cutting costs from your travel insurance bill. It is generally cheaper to buy a group policy for several people than it is buying policies individually. A lot of insurance providers also offer special family packages with extra discounts for children.
There are some situations where you need to be careful about group policies, however. One of them is if a member of your party has a pre-existing medical condition or if you are going away with grandparents or other older relatives. Don’t lie about these, it might just end up in your policy being null and void. It’s a much better option to declare it and pay the extra fees rather than being stranded, that will likely cost you a lot more in the long run.
Medical conditions and age can bump up travel insurance costs significantly. With a group policy, that increase will be multiplied across all members of your party – to the extent where you may find separate policies work out cheaper.
Another option for saving money is choosing an annual multi-trip policy over single-trip insurance. While more expensive upfront, if you plan to go away with your family more than once a year, you will find multi-trip cover works out cheaper than buying several single trip group policies.
Annual policies are one of our main cost savers when booking family travel insurance. Especially if you’re like us and book you flights 12 months in advance.
You’re also welcome to join my Hong Kong & China Travel Planning Facebook group – it’s a great resource for all things travel in Hong Kong & China!
The key here is being sure about your future travel plans. In the current climate, it’s difficult to know exactly what will happen several months down the line. If travel gets shut down again due to a COV-19 second wave, you may not get the value from a multi-trip policy. For the foreseeable future, it may be better off playing it safe with single trip cover.
Make sure you thoroughly read your policy
Other tips for saving money include reading the small print on any policy carefully, and not simply choosing the cheapest available. While this sounds counter-intuitive, in the long run it could save you a lot of money. The cheapest travel insurance often turns out to be the most basic, meaning you and your family only have limited protection.
Also expect to pay extra for skiing, some water sports (scuba diving), motorbike travel and there are various others you need to be aware of. If you know you’ll be participating in these activities make sure you’re covered. We had to upgrade our family travel insurance for our Vietnam trip as part of our itinerary included a 3 day motorbike ride around Ha Giang, the extra add on didn’t add a huge amount and I felt comfortable knowing we were all covered. Sadly our trip was cancelled and I was refunded the amount we spent on the upgrade policy.
Many of the cheapest, most basic policies, for example, will not include cancellation cover – something you absolutely need at the present time. That’s why it is important to read exactly what cover you are getting and be prepared to pay a little extra to get the financial protection you need.
Here at Our3kidsvtheworld we recommend Avanti Travel Insurance, click here to visit their website.
Remember our motto, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!
Sally, Craig & Our3kids.