Stepping on broken glass on a beach, contracting a nasty stomach virus, getting into a traffic accident – many things can ruin a young traveler’s holiday as well as their bank account. Yet, students and young people who travel abroad often leave the safety of their health insurance and family network without a second thought.
When young people travel, either with you, with their school, or on their own, they run risks most of us wouldn’t even think about.
Foreign medical care isn’t offered with a child or student discount, and the cost of treatment can be just as devastating for a young traveler as it can be for a mature adult.
Here are 7 reasons young travelers need travel insurance too.
1. They sometimes do crazy things
The simple fact is that young people often do crazy things when they’re outside their home area and normal routine. They bungee-jump off foreign bridges, they eat strange foods, they drink too much – in short, they take risks they may not otherwise take simply because they are away from watchful eyes.
Travel insurance is especially essential for adventure-seekers and sports enthusiasts. In most cases, travel insurance plans specifically exclude sports and adventure activities, but there are specialized plans and optional add-ons that can overcome the exclusions and ensure that a young traveler is protected while participating in risky activities.
2. They don’t always have enough money
An afternoon in the hospital with a broken finger or a two-day stay for an emergency appendectomy can be really expensive. A young traveler may not have the cash they need or enough credit to pay for their medical treatment. The last thing you want is for them to neglect getting the medical care they need because they fear the cost.
A travel insurance plan with medical and dental coverage will pay for emergency treatment when a young traveler gets hurt or sick. This coverage pays for medical transportation, physician’s expenses, medication, x-rays, and more. It’s also wallet-friendly because many providers will pay the treatment facility directly (sometimes a co-pay is required).
3. They may need your help
If your young person is injured or ill, are you prepared to get a pricey last-minute ticket to be at their bedside? Even worse, are you prepared to pay for their repatriation back to their home country if they are killed?
A travel insurance plan with emergency medical transportation coverage typically includes the benefit of bringing one person to the medical facility where the insured traveler is being treated. This means you’ll be able to travel to the young person’s bedside at no additional cost to you. You’ll also have repatriation coverage if you need it.
4. They are just learning how things work
Young people are very tech-savvy, but ask them how to replace a stolen passport and they may look at you funny. The simple truth is: they don’t know. They’re just learning how these things work.
Travel insurance plans include toll-free hotlines staffed by people who are experts at travel disasters. The worldwide travel assistance services is the first call any traveler should make when they encounter a problem they don’t know how to solve. The representatives can help a young traveler book alternative flights, replace a missing passport, find good local medical care, and more.
5. They may forget existing medical conditions
Young travelers have existing medical conditions too, and they may not know that they need to account for those when they choose a travel insurance plan. If they’re traveling with a school program that includes insurance, it’s typically a one-size-fits-all plan that may not suit your young traveler’s needs.
A pre-existing medical condition is any condition a traveler experienced symptoms for or had diagnosed and treated prior to their trip. Travel insurance plans typically exclude all expenses that result from a recurrence of a medical condition diagnosed prior to the traveler’s departure, but you can purchase plans or add-ons that cover pre-existing medical conditions.
6. They may have to cancel their trip
Many travelers experience situations that cause them to cancel pre-paid travel plans. A working adult may have to cancel a trip due to work conflicts or an ill parent, but a young traveler could face a very different range of issues that cause them to cancel their pre-paid trips.
Having a travel insurance plan with trip cancellation coverage can save a young traveler from losing their trip investment. Be sure they read the travel insurance plan to understand the covered reasons for canceling, and consider ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage if they are likely to face a situation that may not be covered under standard cancellation coverage.
7. They may have to be evacuated to escape danger
In 2011, a good number of foreign students from around the globe had to be evacuated out of Egypt due to the violent uprising. Some study abroad programs include some level of insurance, but they don’t always have coverage for civil protests, terrorism, or acts of war, so you could be working with the U.S. government to get your young traveler out of danger. Those evacuation costs are not paid for by the government: they’re paid for by the traveler or their family.
If your student is traveling with a study abroad program, check the plan carefully. If they are not traveling for school, a travel insurance plan with security evacuation coverage could (literally) save their life. See our review of security and political evacuation coverage for more information.
While all travelers face certain risks when traveling, young travelers are not as capable or knowledgeable about how to handle travel disasters. Having the right travel insurance plan can make all the difference and get them home safely.