Traveling in a group? How to sort your insurance

·5-min read
 (Getty)
(Getty)

Travel insurance and coronavirus

When buying travel insurance, check whether the policy provides cancellation cover that includes coronavirus risks, including if you fall ill or need to isolate before you travel. You should also have cover in case you fall ill (including with Covid) while you are away. Read the policy documents and check levels of cover with the insurer if you are not sure what protection is provided.

Did you know insurance companies offer group travel insurance to cover everyone going on a trip under a single policy?

If you’re all from the same family, you can get a family policy for two adults and up to, say, eight children (the number might vary from insurer to insurer). But if you’re traveling with people from outside your family as well, or going on a trip just with friends or, perhaps, team-mates or fellow club members, then a group policy could be the order of the day.

Here is what you need to know about group travel cover to work out if it’s right for your next trip.

What is group travel insurance?

This is a policy that covers a group of people for one or more trips abroad. It covers medical emergencies which is crucial since the Association of British Insurers (ABI) says that, on average, 3,000 Brits a week need emergency treatment while abroad.

But it’s not just for medical care. It covers a whole host of unplanned events, ranging from the cancellation of your holiday to lost or stolen baggage and cash.

What does it cover?

Group travel insurance is no different to cover for an individual, couple or family in that it should include general medical protection, lost, stolen or damaged personal belongings and money, baggage and legal expenses.

You’ll need to check for any exclusions so you know what’s not covered. For example, some insurers will cover a range of adventurous activities or winter sports as standard, but others might require them to be added at the cost of a higher premium.

If you’re heading off as a group to play team sports, you’ll need to pay particular attention to any specifications regarding equipment, injuries and liabilities to players on opposition teams.

How many people can be insured under a group policy?

Group travel insurance can cover up to 12 people under one policy - and that can be a mix of adults and children or just adults. It’s broader than a family policy as you don’t have to be related to be eligible. It covers everyone named in a group of people travelling together.

With larger groups you may be able to negotiate the cover you require from an insurer you find in our comparison tables, but in some cases you may need a specialist insurance policy organised by an insurance broker.

What are the benefits of buying group cover?

Typically you can expect to save on your premium by buying group cover compared to the cost of buying a mix of policies. Plus, there are deals where children are included for free. However, savings are not guaranteed, which is why it’s important to compare costs.

It also might be simpler to get your travel insurance under one policy – there’s enough to organise without having to each find travel cover (and there’s always someone might forget or choose not to buy their own policy to save money). Plus, if something happens to the trip or some of the party, you can all claim together.

You can buy single trip and multi-trip policies which can be useful if you travel together as a group more than once each year.

Also, if someone in the group falls ill, group travel insurance can allow everyone to cancel the trip and claim their money back. This might be more difficult if you’re insured separately.

How much does group travel insurance cost?

As with any other kind of insurance, each individual will need to answer some basic questions which will broadly determine price.

These questions will include some on your medical history. The degree of detail needed will depend on the insurer but they may ask if anyone in your group has a pre-existing medical condition. If the answer is yes for one or more, then it will almost definitely make cover more expensive.

The cost will also depend on how comprehensive the cover is, limits on claims and the size of the excess (the amount deducted by the insurer from the value of any claim you make - usually £50).

Voluntarily increasing the level of excess (from, say, £50 to £100) can reduce the premium, but of course you’d see a negative impact if you had to make a claim.

Are there any destinations or circumstances it won’t cover?

In some circumstances a travel policy won’t cover certain destinations. This is usually if the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) advises against travel.

If you travel against this advice, your policy is unlikely to cover you and other members of the group. It’s important you check your destination is safe to visit regularly as advice can change.

If you do take out group cover then you must make sure all members travel together. Members of the group that may be getting a different flight or arriving from a different airport will need to get their own separate insurance to be covered.

Further, some group insurance policies won’t cover you if you’re over a certain age, so if you have any elderly family or friends travelling, bear this in mind and check the policy conditions.

How do I find the right policy?

Make sure you compare the cost and terms of group travel insurance policies before deciding where to buy. Using our comparison website will help sift through the best value groups deals.

Remember, don’t just buy on price. Buying the cheapest policy will be a false economy if you buy one full of so many exclusions that it doesn’t pay out when you need to make a claim.

Take the time to read the small print to ensure it provides adequate cover – the exact coverage should be set out in policy documentation.

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