What to know about getting travel insurance for the whole family

Planning family trips is hard work. Whether you're at the helm of a Home Alone-style family or a one/two-kid household, a well-executed trip requires some serious forethought. Unless the trip is happening entirely within your family's home province, part of that forethought will include purchasing travel insurance.

If you've never dealt with family travel insurance before or need some brushing up on it, don't worry; Smart Coverage has you covered. The following pieces of information will leave you feeling primed to finally (and properly) book that family vacation you've been waiting for.

Kids may travel free

What do travel insurance policies and dinners around the world have in common? That kids may be able to benefit from their services for free!

To entice families to sign up for plans, many travel insurance companies will make children's coverage a free perk. Premiums would cost no more than they would if it were only the adults traveling.

However, it's important to keep in mind that this sweetener isn't unconditional. Travel insurers won't allow your 35-year-old son who lives in his own condo to get a free pass. The privilege generally only applies to dependents who are under a certain age (23, 21, 18, etc.).

All for one claims

One of the perks of being in a group that's traveling on a family plan, as opposed to a bunch of people traveling together on individual plans, is that they can all theoretically claim for trip interruption if something were to happen to just one of them.

For example, imagine if a Canadian family is staying together at a hotel in Paris and one of the kids badly injures herself while swimming in the guest pool. Naturally the family wouldn't want to continue on with the trip if the injury was serious. A family travel insurance policy would give them the opportunity to interrupt that trip at no extra cost and go home with the child if she was in a stable enough state to travel.

CFAR is more valuable

The more parties involved in anything, the more likely it is that something will affect one of them and cause an operation to go awry. That's just what happens when there are too many moving parts.

For this reason, cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage becomes much more valuable in a family travel insurance plan than it would be in a regular one. You can control your own actions and circumstances but you can't control anyone else's. If one (or some) of your family members needs to bail from a trip for whatever reason, CFAR gives you all the opportunity to do so, no questions asked.

Annual plans cover individual trips

What is especially beneficial about family travel insurance is that it can be used to cover trips taken by a single member of the family, even if the others aren't present—provided it is purchased as part of an annual plan.

Opting for a single trip plan vs. an annual plan is a common internal debate for sporadic travelers to have amongst themselves. But it certainly applies to families as well. If family members are planning to take multiple trips throughout the year—or even if certain ones are planning to continue on traveling after the majority of the family heads home—then an annual policy would make a lot of sense.