Here are the best plans to cover your family vacation, plus everything else you need to know about family travel insurance14 February 2022
This guide will show you the best family travel insurance plans, and why I chose them. You want the peace-of-mind knowing a case of the flu won’t cost your vacation investment. If you’re going overseas, you want to know a doctor’s visit won’t turn into a costly nightmare. You want to travel without worries, and the right travel insurance plan will help do it.
Here are the criteria I look for in the best family travel insurance plans:
These are my recommended plans for family trips. I based these choices on the criteria above, individual plan features, and cost. All three plans are from A.M.Best-Rated reputable companies that specialize in travel insurance.
In general, travel insurance costs between 4-10% of your insured trip cost. I chose the policies above because they met the criteria listed. They also had unique individual coverages and the cost showed great value. Here is an example trip to give you an idea of the cost:
Worldwide Trip Protector
$308 for all travelers
$342 for all travelers
$360 for all travelers
As you can see, these quotes are close to 3% of the trip cost for this sample vacation. In fact, the cost of travel insurance is lower here than if the trip was only the adults. This is because the trip cost is divided between 4 travelers. Since the trip cost represents a risk to the insurance company, having that cost divided between 4 travelers lowers the per-person risk.
The criteria mentioned above are a good starting point for finding the right plan. It gives us a bare minimum of coverage to look for, then we can narrow it down based on extra features. This is not a complete list of the coverage included with travel insurance, but it’s a good starting point for the most essential coverage.
Covid-19 coverage for cancellations and medical treatment
The pandemic is still a concern for all travelers. This is also tru to those traveling with children or elderly parents. The plans above cover cancellations if you get Covid-19. In this case, Covid is treated like any other sickness for trip cancellation coverage.
The best family plans above also cover Covid for emergency medical treatment. This is important when you travel abroad where your insurance from home may not cover you.
There are many other covered reasons for trip cancellation. They include hurricanes & weather, terrorism, house fire, death in the family, but getting sick before your trip is the most common.
Emergency medical and Evacuation coverage
For domestic trips your health insurance from should cover any medical emergencies. This could include a slip-and-fall, food poisoning, stroke, or even dental emergencies.
But when you leave your home country for a trip abroad, your insurance from home might not travel with you. This is why you need emergency medical coverage whenever you travel abroad. It covers emergency medical expenses like an emergency room visit.
The other part of a medical emergency abroad is getting back home. For less serious situations you can likely take a commercial flight home. But for more serious situations you could need a medically-staffed flight home. An evacuation can cost over $100,000.
This is why travel insurance plans come with medical evacuation coverage. It covers the costs of ambulance, med-flights, or even a medical flight home.
Primary medical coverage
Primary coverage plans pay first without needing to use any other insurance you may have. With Secondary coverage, you would need to use any other insurance coverage first. After that the travel insurance coverage will pay. You’re covered either way, but Primary coverage makes it easier and less stressful to file a claim.
Hurricane & weather coverage
Bad weather and hurricanes affect thousands of trips every year. Your flight can get canceled or delayed. Your destination resort could be damaged. You might miss a cruise ship due to a delay.
What makes good hurricane & weather coverage?
Low time trigger for delays– Trip cancellation coverage covers common carrier (airlines) delays of a certain length of time. Some companies set this amount at 6, 12, 24, or even 48 hours. That would mean your flight would need to be delayed for 48 hours before your cancellation coverage would apply. So, the shorter this time, the better for you. I selected 12 hours or less for the criteria, but two of the plans have either 6 or zero hours.
Mandatory evacuation covered– This covers you if the local government declared a mandatory evacuation order. In this case, you would be reimbursed for the lost portion of your trip under Trip Interruption coverage, as well as additional travel expenses.
Hurricane warnings covered– This is not a common feature in most plans, which is why 2/3 of the best plans include it. This extends your coverage because you don’t actually need to be affected by the hurricane. With this coverage you can cancel your trip with full reimbursement if the NOAA issues a hurricane warning. Note: you must purchase travel insurance before the storm is named.
Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) upgrade available
This is an optional upgrade that has become popular since the Covid-19 pandemic. Trip cancellation has a long list of covered reasons for trip cancellation, but it cannot cover every situation. Cancel For Any Reason coverage allows you to cancel for any reason up until 48 hours before your trip, and receive most of your trip costs back.
Most travelers buy comprehensive travel insurance that packages together many valuable benefits. We covered a few above, but here is a brief overview of the coverage.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
This protects your trip cost if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason. The most common reason is someone getting sick right before the trip. It also covers death in the family, hurricane & weather, house fire, quarantine, jury duty, terrorism, and more. The medical issues also apply to family members, so a parent getting sick and needing your care would be covered.
Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) Coverage Upgrade
The list of covered reasons for cancellation includes most common situations. This upgrade extends this coverage to “everything”. You need to cancel at least 48 hours before departure and insure your full trip cost. This upgrade is also time-sensitive. That means you need to buy in time (usually within 10 days of your first trip payment). The above best family travel insurance plans have CFAR as an optional upgrade.
Emergency Medical Coverage
This covers expenses for emergency medical treatment while on your trip. Your insurance from home may not cover you when you leave your home country.
Emergency Evacuation Coverage
This coverage pays for medical transportation. It includes ambulances to the hospital, and airlift from a remote location, or a medical flight back home.
This provides coverage for extra expenses caused by travel delays. It includes things like extra nights in a hotel, meals, or personal items.
Baggage Loss, Theft, or Damage
This covers your baggage not only on your flight, but on your entire trip. It will reimburse you for personal items and luggage if your bags are lost, stolen, or damaged during your trip.
If your baggage is delayed in reaching your destination, you might need extra cloths or personal items. This coverage reimburses you for these expenses.
If an immediate family member has an illness, injury, or death prior to the trip it is covered under trip cancellation coverage. The same is true during the trip for trip interruption coverage. A family traveling together should list all travelers on the policy. If they are not listed on the policy they will not have coverage for medical emergencies, evacuation, baggage, delays, and other post-departure coverages.
For cancellation and interruption coverage, immediate family members (children, parents, grandparents) are included, as well as business partners.
The quoted travel insurance cost (or “premium”) includes all travelers listed on the quote for the entire length of trip. For example: If you get a quote for 4 travelers (mom, dad, and two kids) for a 10 day trip, the quoted cost includes everyone for the whole trip.
A few reasons. More people means more things can go wrong, such as someone getting sick and needing to cancel. Family trips are often to vacation destinations that can involve hurricane season, which could derail your trip. Finally, anytime you leave your home country you should have emergency medical insurance, especially with children.
Most travel insurance companies have 2-3 plans at different premium levels, following the “good, better, best” pricing strategy. I tend to recommend plans in the middle level because they have great value– the right mix of coverage and pricing. Cheaper travel insurance plans will have lower coverage limits for medical, evacuation, baggage, and delays. They might also be missing some less popular coverages.
Travel insurance covers sudden and unforeseen events such getting sick, a death in the family, a hurricane, theft, a house fire, and more. Therefore, if you already know you will need to file a claim you cannot purchase travel insurance to cover it. The list of exclusions also includes losses as a result of war, professional sports, some hazardous activities, drug/alcohol abuse, etc.
Yes, any pre-paid and non-refundable trip expense can be insured. This would include Disney park passes, hotel, special events, flights, and more.
Yes, all travelers should be on the policy for quoting and purchase. You want all coverage to extend to every family member, so they need to be on the policy.
Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and is a licensed agent for travel insurance (MA 1883287). He believes travel insurance should be easier to understand, and started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.