Buying travel insurance - what you should consider if you are travelling with kids

Buying travel insurance - what you should consider if you are travelling with kids
PHOTO: Pixabay

As sensible readers, we know you wouldn't dream of going abroad without travel insurance.

Well, if you're a parent travelling with kids who will no doubt insist that you sacrifice your shopping time so you can visit every theme park and zoo in town, travel insurance is a thousand times more important.

The more of you there are, the greater the potential for something to go wrong. And kids tend to be more susceptible to falling sick thanks to changes in diet and environment.

You might have an iron stomach and a face so scary nobody would dare to pickpocket you. But you can't expect the same of your kids.

What's more, when you're travelling as a family, your trip tends to be more structured than when you travel solo.

Accommodation needs to be booked in advance, you're going to have a lot more luggage than one grungy backpack, and you are more likely to pre-book your tickets to attractions such as those damn theme parks.

Bearing all the above in mind, it's even more important to not just buy the first travel insurance policy the airline or travel agent prompts you to buy.

Here are six things you must consider if you are travelling with kids:

1. WHETHER YOUR CHILDREN CAN GET INSURED FOR FREE

Some insurance plans will enable one or more kids to receive the same cover for free, so always check with your insurer before you sign up for a plan.

You can also sign up for family cover which includes your spouse, kids and even parents if they are travelling with you.

Just make sure your kids fall within the insurable age limit, as some plans might limit their coverage to kids above a certain age.

But don't forget to check what exactly your kids are being insured for and figure out if they are excluded from any type of cover.

2. WHETHER YOUR KIDS ARE EXCLUDED FROM ANY TYPES OF PROTECTION

Just because your kids are under the same insurance plan as you doesn't mean they will necessarily be covered for every single thing you're covered for.

While you might receive coverage if you crash your rental vehicle, your 10-year-old kid certainly won't if he takes the wheel.

Read the insurance plan closely and look out for any age or height requirements that might exclude your kids from being covered.

3. WHICH ACTIVITIES ARE NOT COVERED

Insurers usually include on their list of exclusions risky activities they refuse to insure you for.

For instance, mountaineering, trekking above a certain height, diving without PADI certification and motor racing are usually excluded, as are extreme sports such as paragliding and skydiving.

Now, you might be afraid of heights and roller coasters, but the same might not be true of your kids, especially when they reach their teen years and start to want to show what cool daredevils they are.

So before you let your kid sign up for any sports or activities, ensure that he/she doesn't do anything that might interfere with an insurance claim, such as ignoring safety regulations.

4. WHETHER YOUR KID HAS ANY PRE-EXISTING HEALTH CONDITION

Most travel insurance policies will reject claims made for medical issues arising from a pre-existing health condition.

So be wary of this if your kid suffers from conditions such as asthma or eczema. Something like 1 in 5 children in Singapore suffer from asthma.

As policies usually do not offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions, you want to make sure you are doubly prepared.

Ensure you pack all medication and other supplies the child suffering from the condition might need, and do research on how to seek affordable medical care at your destination should the need arise, since you will not be insured for these costs.

5. CHECK IF YOUR TRAVEL INSURANCE PLAN INCLUDES OUTPATIENT 

Seeking medical care in a foreign land can be tough, especially when you don't speak the language.

If the child is not suffering from something that needs immediate attention, many parents would prefer to wait till they return to Singapore to seek treatment.

You'll want to check if your insurance plan covers outpatient treatment without having to first see a doctor in the foreign country.

If it does, you can make a claim for seeing a local doctor within a certain time period upon your arrival in Singapore.

6. BOOK YOUR INSURANCE IMMEDIATELY AFTER BUYING YOUR AIR TICKETS

Get more out of your insurance by buying it as early as possible, preferably the minute you've confirmed your trip by booking your air tickets.

That's because your insurance can compensate you if anything happens to disrupt your trip even before it happens, such as your flight getting cancelled or an illness forcing you to postpone your trip.

With children in tow, the likelihood of such events happening is higher. For instance, if one of your kids gets chicken pox and can't go on the trip, you might be able to get a refund on your travel expenses.

The cost of travel insurance is the same no matter when you buy it, so the earlier the better. Just make sure you get the right policy for your travel needs.

Comparing is as simple as heading over to MoneySmart's Travel Insurance page to find the best travel insurance policy.

Do you have any tips for travelling with kids? Share them in the comments!

Purchase this article for republication.

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