Travelling with your partner or family? Combine cover and save with free child cover.
If you’re travelling with your family, a single travel insurance policy could ensure you’re all covered for your trip – and for a lot less than getting individual policies.
Many policies allow you to bring your dependent children onto it for free, which we’ve outlined below, bringing the overall cost down.
Features of family travel insurance
1. The same level of travel insurance protection as individual plans
Family travel insurance plan you can ensure that you and your loved ones receive emergency assistance and financial protection in the event that unforeseen losses occur such as:
- Delays and cancellations
- Medical emergencies
- Loss, damage or theft of belongings
- Other issues that may ruin your travel experience
2. Free cover for children
Most insurers will allow a spouse and dependant children under 21 to be included in one policy. The majority of insurer’s will also allow your dependant children to be covered for free.
3. Convenience of one policy
It is not only much more affordable but also more convenient to take out a group family policy rather as you can:
- Spend less time on insurance. Purchasing the policy for your family can be done in the one application, leaving you more time to prepare to focus on planning your trip
- Understand your benefits easier. Having one certificate insurance will help keep things more simple in the case of an unexpected loss and allow you to find how much cover you and your dependant’s can receive with ease
- Central contact point. For claims and assistance you have one central contact point rather than having to rifle through loads of paperwork to find the insurance details for the family member who has been affected
What do travel insurer's consider a 'family'Family is generally recognised as you the policyholder, your spouse (or legally recognised de facto) and your dependents.
What levels of family travel insurance can you choose?
When choosing family travel insurance, you need to decide how much cover you actually need. Insurers usually offer several different levels of cover, some that cover you for more situations and with higher benefit limits and others that cover you for less. In general you can choose between a basic-level policy or a comprehensive one, with some insurers adding a third level in between those two.
Basic family travel insurance
You can’t rely on health care in most foreign countries, so you’ll need a back-up plan. That’s pretty much what a basic travel insurance policy is – your medical insurance for overseas visits. Most policies will offer unlimited emergency medical assistance and unlimited emergency medical and hospital expenses for every family member listed on your policy.
You may also get some money towards emergency dental expenses as well as some personal liability insurance, which will cover you if you damage something or injure someone.
A basic policy will not usually cover you for anything else. So if an airline loses your luggage, a cyclone at your destination causes you to cancel your trip or a thief makes off with your wallet, credit cards and passport, you’ll be out of luck.
Comprehensive family travel insurance
A comprehensive policy will include the same (or better) medical cover as a basic policy, but it also covers you for a much wider range of situations including:
- Trip cancellation. This will pay you back if you have to cancel your trip because of something unexpected and you’re unable to get a refund on tickets and other bookings
- Lost, stolen or damaged property. This helps out if your personal belongings, including luggage, personal documents (like your passport), credit cards and even money are lost, stolen or damaged
- Travel and luggage delay. This pays you back for unexpected expenses related to a delayed flight or luggage that gets to you late
- Rental car excess. This helps you pay the often-expensive rental car excess that you’re responsible for under most rental car insurance policies
- Disability, death and loss of income. This covers you for expenses back home if an injury overseas disables you or keeps you from working (or pays your family if you die)
Each insurer treats these a little differently and may offer a few additional forms of cover, so check with a few to see what they offer and what the benefit limits are.
Insurers that do offer a third choice will usually add a very small amount of lost luggage and cancellation cover on top of the medical cover, but it will be a lot less than what you’d get with comprehensive.
How many separate trips can you take on a family travel insurance policy?
Another choice you’ll need to make is how many separate trips you’ll be needing to squeeze into one policy. If you’ll only be taking one trip within the next year, your family will be OK with a single-trip policy. But if you’ll be taking more than one trip, you should consider an annual multi-trip policy.
Just keep in mind that not all insurers offer multi-trip policies to families (some do) and many insurers who offer multi-trip policies only offer them as comprehensive cover.
Single-trip family travel insurance
This type of policy is exactly as it sounds. It covers you and your family for one trip only. In most cases you’ll set a specific start date and end date that you’ll be travelling. Most policies will allow you to take out a policy for a trip up to a year long, a time frame you can extend later if necessary. However, since it is for a single trip, it won’t cover you if you travel multiple times to and from home.
Annual multi-trip travel insurance
If you and the family will be travelling a lot this year, you may want to consider an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy. It usually works out cheaper than buying separate single-trip policies once you hit three or more trips. All you’ll need to do is take out the one policy and you can travel to and from home all you want.
Just be aware that there will usually be some limitations on family policies. Here are some examples, although it may differ between policies:
- Individual trip length. There will usually be a limit to the number of days you can be away on each individual trip (usually between 30 and 90 days depending on the insurer).
- Who can travel. The dependants on the policy must be accompanied by you or the other adult listed on the policy. That means the kids won’t be covered under this policy if they travel alone. You and your partner will be covered no matter what: alone or together and with or without the kids.
Is there an age limit on the dependants you can add for free?
Yes. Most policies will define a dependant as your children or grandchildren who:
- Are under a certain age (anywhere from 21–25 depending on the insurer)
- Are not employed full-time
- Will be travelling with you on the trip (some insurers say it must be 100% of the trip)
- Are listed on your insurance policy
How to find the best family travel insurance
Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you get the best policy for you and your family:
- What are the benefit limits? This is the maximum amount of money you can get back under any specific section of your policy. If you are travelling overseas, medical cover is arguably the most important section followed by trip cancellation and lost luggage. The best policy for a family is one with unlimited medical and trip cancellation cover and enough luggage insurance to cover all your belongings.
- Do you have pets at home? Some comprehensive policies will pay you back for extra boarding fees for your pet if a disrupted trip means you can’t get home in time. They will also help out with vet bills if your pet is injured while you are away. Not all comprehensive policies will offer this, so the best one for a pet-owner is one that does.
- Does it cover you for family emergencies? Some policies will pay for you to return home if a family member in New Zealand unexpectedly dies, becomes disabled or suffers a serious injury. If you’re part of a close-knit family, the best policy for you will certainly offer this cover.
- Do you want cover for small, unexpected expenses that could add up? Some policies will pay you back for unexpected expenses due to travel or luggage delay. For example, if your plane is delayed by a certain amount of time (usually 6 hours), the best policy will cover any additional meals and accommodation. This can add up when you have multiple mouths to feed.
- Will you be you renting a car? Car hire agencies will make you take out car insurance if you want to rent a car (this is separate to your travel insurance). But even though it covers you for accidents you cause, your out-of-pocket excess will often be sky-high. The best travel insurance policy will kick into gear when this happens and pay your car rental excess for you.
- Do you need cover for special activities? If you are a family of adventurers, normal travel insurance policies (even comprehensive ones) might not cover every activity you do. For example, many insurers will require you to purchase an adventure add-on to cover activities like skiing, scuba diving and skydiving. The best policy for you will be one that covers these activities automatically or at least offers the add-on at a reasonable cost.
- Are you going to a special event such as a wedding? If you are going to a wedding, funeral or 50th wedding anniversary, getting your money back for a delayed flight won’t do you much good if you still miss the event. The best policy is one that will pay you back if you have to make last-minute arrangements so you can make it on time.
Common questions about family travel insurance
My daughter is travelling by herself, is she covered if anything goes wrong?
One of the key exclusions of family travel insurance policies is that your children will only be covered while they are travelling with you. So if your child will be spending some of the trip with you and another portion of the journey travelling separately and doing her own thing, you’ll need to take out a separate adult insurance policy to provide the cover he or she needs.
My wife and son are travelling separately from me, are they covered?
Working out whether or not cover will apply in these circumstances will be a little bit trickier. The answer to your question may vary between insurers. Some insurance policies will provide cover for each adult separately, and any dependent child travelling with either also will also be covered. However, if the policy is in the name of one person only, for example the husband, if the wife and her son are travelling separately from her husband they will not be covered and will need to take out their own insurance. Your best bet is to contact your insurance provider directly to see who will and will not be covered.
Am I able to cover a child who is not my own?
You may be in a scenario where you are travelling with your family holiday is inclusive of a niece or a nephew or even one of your child’s friend’s, who also require cover. Family travel insurance such will sometimes extend cover to children who are not direct family.
Can I get cover for infants?
If you’re travelling with a newborn or an infant, your insurer should be able to cover your newest family member on your family travel insurance policy. Most insurers do not impose a minimum age limit on the people that can be covered on your policy, but it’s a good idea to check with insurer first to confirm this.
Please note: It recommended that you wait at least 6 weeks before you travel with an infant.
Can you include your grandchild on a family travel insurance policy?
Yes. As you can see from the definition above, there is no requirement that your grandchildren actually depend on you for their survival. So as long as they meet your insurer’s definition of a dependant, you can add them to your policy, usually for free.
Can I get travel insurance for a large family?
While the typical family comes in four, your family may feature 6 kids, 2 grandparents, your spouse and yourself. Luckily for big families, there are travel insurers who offer cover for groups of up to 25 travellers. Along with the convenience of buying one policy, some large group policies offer up to 10% discount.
While travel insurance often does not always automatically cover snow sport activities, policies will allow you to add them as extras for your family the same way as individual cover.
Different benefit limits to individual cover
The main difference here will be a greater total benefit limit. An individual policy may provide $2,000 of ski equipment benefits whereas cover for your family may provide up to $4,000 or provide $1,000 per person for ski equipment cover.Back to top
There are a number of conditions of family travel policies that applicants should be aware of before deciding to purchase this type of cover.
- Understand the definition of family. Family is generally recognised as you the policyholder, your spouse (or legally recognised de facto) and your dependents but you will need to check with each individual provider how many people they include as part of their family travel insurance plan. Some insurers will only consider two children as included with the family, and require any additional children to be covered at an extra cost.
- Understand the definition of dependent. It is important to understand how your insurer will classify dependent children on your policy. Generally, a dependent is a child or grandchild under the age of 21 that is travelling with you on the journey.
- Those covered must travel with the policyholder. In order for the spouse or dependent child to be covered under the policy, they must be accompanying the policyholder. For example, if the dependent children were to leave their parents for a few days to visit some neighbouring cities, they would not be covered under the policy.
- Understand benefit limits. Each policy will have benefit limits in place for the maximum that will be paid in the event of different claims. In cases like personal items, one benefit limit usually applies to the total number of all claims combined. This means that in the event that different members of a family have valuable items stolen on their trip, the one maximum benefit will still apply. In cases like travel delay however, there is sometimes a benefit limit for the policy holder per hour, then a separate benefit limit for spouses and dependants per hour depending on policy
The cost of family travel insurance cover is determined by a number of different factors. These include:
- The level of coverage chosen. The range and amount of benefits and cover that will be paid for each loss
- The number of family members. That is, who needs to be covered under the plan. Some may provide cover at no extra cost
- Additional cover options. This includes extra cover for high value items, excess eliminator
- Duration of your trip. The length of time for which you need to take out cover
- Trip frequency. Whether you choose single trip cover or multi-trip cover
- The travel insurance provider. The insurer who you opt for to take out your cover
- The destination. Where you are travelling to
- The health and ages of your family members who are to be covered under the policy
Pre-existing medical conditionsIn the event that a member of the family suffers from a pre-existing medical condition, the insurer will have to be informed of the condition during the application process. This may incur a premium loading on the policy.
In order to boost your chances of finding family travel insurance cover that will give you and your family the right level of cover while not breaking your budget, you need to compare the plans and providers available. Some key steps to find affordable family cover include:
- Look for complimentary family cover. Find policies that automatically family cover
- Compare policy options. Compare from a range of different providers and policies
- Look out for exclusive deals. Search for offers to save on premiums and receive other great bonuses
- Consider different types of cover. A basic or essentials plan may still provide adequate cover as oppose to the comprehensive option. It’s also worth considering a multi-trip option if you are a frequent traveller
- Avoid going through a travel agent or airline to find cover. Not only will you be restricted in the range of cover options available to you but you may pay more to account for the commission that is earned
Family travel insurance plans offer the same sort of cover and benefits as standard travel insurance plans. The difference is that the protection and benefits apply to the whole family rather than just to a single person or a couple.
This means that you can extend the protection that these plans offer to your partner and your kids to ensure that everyone is covered and is able to get help and assistance if and when needed. Some of the standard events and situations that should be covered with standard family travel insurance cover include:
- Medical expenses: Many New Zealand travel insurance brands will provide unlimited medical cover on policies. Cover for pre-existing medical conditions is generally excluded.
- Emergency dental care: If you or a family member experience a dental emergency while you are away, most standard family travel insurance plans will cover the cost of the emergency treatment.
- Luggage and personal belongings: Many people end up falling victim to loss, damage or theft of personal belongings such as their luggage, credit cards, traveller’s cheques, and other personal items. With family travel insurance cover your whole family will be covered so you can recover the costs of loss, damage or theft up to the specified value of coverage.
- Personal liability: If you or a member of your family injure someone or cause damage to their property while you are away, you could be facing crippling legal costs and damages. With personal liability protection you will be covered under standard travel insurance.
- Accidental death or disability: With family travel insurance cover, you and your family should be covered in the event of accidental death or disability while you are travelling or away.
- Excess on a rental vehicle: It is normal for many families to hire a rental vehicle while they are travelling. If you do this and you are involved in an accident or the car is stolen, you will be covered by your vehicle insurance. However, you may still have to pay an excess charge, which could be a real drain on your finances. With your travel insurance cover the excess is covered so you are not going to have to shell out from your own pocket.
- Holiday company/airline insolvency: If you have already paid upfront for your family holiday and your airline or holiday firm goes bust, you could find yourself seriously out of pocket. With family travel insurance, you will be covered for any prepaid expenses for all family members on the plan if your holiday company or airline goes out of business.
- Delays and cancellation: Standard family travel insurance also covers against delayed flights or for cancellation your trip due to one of a range of specified reasons (such as you or one of your family members becoming ill and being unable to travel).
- Family emergency: In the event that a member of the family becomes seriously ill, disabled or dies unexpectedly, the insurer will pay the additional cost of the policyholder or another member of the family to return home.
What extras are available for families?
In addition to the built-in benefits of your family travel insurance policy, there may be some additional cover options that you would like to consider for an additional fee. These include:
- Excess removal: Many providers will allow you to pay a small additional fee to remove any excess from your policy
- Cover for winter sports: Take out additional cover for each of your family members for winter-sport related activities. Additional cover can include protection for events such as loss/damage to ski equipment and off-piste ski field closure
- Extra cover for high value items: If any member of your family is travelling with items higher in value than the cover limits listed in the policy, extra cover can be taken out to ensure an adequate benefit is provided in the event that they are lost or stolen
Like many forms of insurance, there are many great benefits and pitfalls that people should be aware of prior to taking out cover. Being aware of any drawbacks of the type of cover you are after may help you find cover that is more tailored towards your situation and avoid any surprises in the event of a claim.
- More affordable than purchasing separate policies for each member of the family
- Greater convenience as each family member can be covered under the one certificate of insurance
- Each family member can receive the same level of cover
- Only one insurer to contact and keep track of in the event of a claim
- Limit on maximum benefit that will be paid for losses
- If a family member has pre-existing medical conditions, they may have to take out a separate policy
- Restrictions on who can be recognised as a dependent
- Exclusions for different events and activities
I’m ready to compare family travel insurance
If you are getting ready to head away on a domestic or international trip with your family, it is worth reviewing the different family cover options available from different providers. When evaluating a policy, make sure you pay attention to:
- Maximum cover benefits for the group
- Definitions of a dependent
- Restrictions around whether dependents must accompany policyholder at all stages to be covered