/ Money, Travel & Leisure

‘Family’ travel insurance may not cover your kids

Sad child

Take out family travel insurance and you’d expect your children to be covered on holiday. In fact, due to outdated definitions of what a family actually is, they may not be.

According to three in ten travel insurance policies, your children are only your children if they live with you.

Sure, there are plenty of common sense policies, but these results show there’s still a good chance your kids won’t be covered if they happen to live with your ex-partner.

What is this madness?

Defaqto, an independent financial research company, waded through 423 annual family travel insurance policies. It discovered that 28% didn’t cover dependant or step children who don’t live with the main policyholder.

Not only this, but even if they do live with you, almost half don’t cover children who travel independently. So send them off with their grandparents and you’re forced to cough up separately. Other policies cover your independent child automatically (with caveats, such as being accompanied by an adult).

There is one place where family policies don’t wallow in the dark ages – almost all (99.5%) cover step children if they live with the main policyholder. Hallelujah.

But we’re still left with 118 draconian travel insurance policies that don’t deem your kids part of your family if they live with your ex-partner. What is this, the eighteenth century?

Check the small print

Unfortunately, as we saw from the volcanic ash disruption, finding travel insurance that includes everything we expect requires more than just price checking. Infuriatingly, most key details are hidden in the small print few of us actually read.

This puts the onus on you and me to do our research and coerce insurers into demystifying hidden escape clauses. It also means we need to know exactly what we want out of a policy in order to check that it’s all included.

Our Best Buy travel insurance reviews are a good place to track down decent policies, but for your individual needs, an insurance broker is best. Visit the British Insurance Brokers Association website for more help.

If you already have a family policy, check the small print carefully, especially if you’re unmarried or have children from a previous relationship. Otherwise, that grazed knee caused by hazardous hotel swimming pools may be more painful for you than your child.


Having raised this with you last year, you have focused on an important but more minor issue as opposed to a real bugbear of these policies; namely that some family policies only cover your kids until the age of 18. So that means if they go on a family holiday to celebrate the end of A level exams, even though they are still living at home and part of the family, they may not be covered. Ridiculous and archiac and Which should be doing more to highlight this and other anomalies. I dont think your recent report mentioned that a ‘family’ policy may not be all that it seems whereas at least this article starts the discussion.

You do need to read the small print and happily I now have a family policy that covers them up to the age of 22* and allows them to travel independently too. Just have to be careful re length of journey and regions covered but its easy to upgrade.

* Can I add that you also have to be equally careful with your home contents insurance to ensure your child’s contents are covered away from the home whilst at University.

I’m currently trying to get insurance for family of 4 to go to Canaries in Sept – simple? No.

Some don’t include Canaries in Europe. Also as our eldest is 18 but still dependent and living at home. Some Family policies only allow 2 over 18 year olds. Some will allow him if he’s in Full Time Education.

Then my husband and 18 year old are going away. Single parent cover appears to be double Couple cover. Are they in a ‘domestic relationship living at the same address’?