How to ensure you have the right insurance for your school trip or residential 

6 Oct 2021, 17:38 by Kate Moore


VA MED Childrenlinedup land
VA MED Childrenlinedup land

Make sure all your chosen activities, such as watersports, are covered by your school travel insurance

Do you have adequate insurance for your school trip or residential? 

Now more than ever, schools need to ensure that they have adequate insurance cover for their school trip. In this guide we explain the types of protection that schools should be considering, whether organising a UK residential or a trip overseas. 

How to insure your school trip - top tips for organisers 

  • check your travel provider is a member of the School Travel Forum (STF) as their members work to higher safety standards and will vet the accommodation, transport and activities to ensure they are suitable for school groups 
  • make sure the school’s trip insurance covers the needs of the parents funding the trip and the school organising the trip, as well as the students and teachers on the trip 
  • ensure that COVID-19 isn’t excluded from your policy 
  • book your trip as a package with an ABTA or ATOL bonded travel company to benefit from additional financial protection, even on overnight trips in the UK 
  • check if your school has any other insurance that will cover trip cancellation, such as RPA or your school insurance policy 

Why take out specialist travel insurance for your school trip? 

Unlike standard holiday insurance, specialist school trip policies should cover the needs of all the parties invested in the trip. So, as well as protecting the students and staff in the group against an unexpected event, the policy should also provide financial protection for parents funding the trip and schools organising the trip (e.g. to ensure that staff can return to work as planned). 

Standard travel insurance will protect your group against the following things going wrong: 

  • cancelling or cutting short the trip for reasons beyond the group’s control 
  • missed transport or delayed departure for reasons beyond the group’s control 
  • medical and other emergencies 
  • personal injury and death 
  • lost, stolen or damaged items, including baggage, passports and money 
  • accidental damage or injury caused by someone in the group (called third party liability) 

Specialist school trip insurance will also protect the group for: 

  • replacing or recruiting a new party leader so that the trip can still go ahead if the  leader is incapacitated 
  • the cost of a parent travelling to resort to look after a child who can’t travel, meaning the teachers on the trip can return home with the rest of the group 
  • the activities you want to include on your trip such as watersports, team sports, ski trips and other supervised adventure activities
  • enhanced COVID-19 insurance cover for school trips 

Travel insurance covers individuals for unexpected events and costs. But because insurance companies don’t have much experience of insuring travellers following the pandemic, some travel policies will just exclude any claims related to COVID-19.  

At a minimum, schools require emergency medical treatment and repatriation for COVID-19  claims which means that the group is covered for both medical treatment and getting back to the UK if someone in the group tests positive abroad. 

We recommend that schools look for an enhanced level of cover, which offers more COVID-19 protection than standard policies.  

What enhanced COVID-19 protection schools should be looking for: 

  • Cover to replace or recruit a new party leader in the event they test positive for COVID-19 before the trip 
  • Cover to reimburse the parent of a child who misses their trip after testing positive, or being told to self-isolate 
  • Cover to recoup medical, accommodation or transport costs incurred due to a student or staff member testing positive while on the trip 
  • Cover the expenses of a parent travelling to resort to look after a child who can’t travel home due to testing positive for COVID-19 

You get what you pay for 

How much you pay for your insurance depends on the amount of cover you're likely to need. For example, it might be a good idea to include cover for gadgets (in our experience there’s always at least one child who leaves their phone on the coach), or choosing a policy with no excess, so parents aren’t left out of pocket after making a claim.  

In the current climate, it’s a false economy to under-insure the group to save costs. But there may be ways to reduce out of pocket expenses while on the trip and give your trip extra financial protection. 

The European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) 

Though we have left the EU, you can still use your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in EU countries until it expires. Or your group can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) on the NHS website. You can use a GHIC to get healthcare in EU countries at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. EHICs and GHICs are not a not a substitute for travel insurance, but may save the group on out of pocket expenses incurred during the trip. 

RPA and school insurance 

It is also worth checking the cover provided by your RPA or school’s insurance policy as some policies include school trip insurance cover. 

Additional financial protection for school trip packages 

It is worth noting that groups booking a school trip package with an ABTA and ATOL bonded travel company, such as Voyager School Travel, will also benefit from additional financial protection if something goes wrong with their transport or accommodation.  

Some school travel companies, such as Voyager School Travel, also offer extra flexible booking terms and refund guarantees, such as our Peace of Mind Promise, which go above and beyond our ABTA responsibilities. 

What about insurance for UK residentials? 

Cover for UK trips is cheaper than cover for overseas school trips but is no less valuable. Though groups taking educational stays in the UK do not need cover for emergency medical expenses, they still need financial protection in case of lost or stolen items, and cancellation or curtailment of the trip. For example, parents won’t want to be left out of pocket if their child cannot go on a UK residential because they’ve tested positive for COVID-19.   

Choose Voyager School Travel to ensure your trip has the very best insurance protection 

All Voyager School Travel’s school trip packages, including UK residentials, are fully protected by ABTA’s STF Travel Sure School Trip Insurance. This specialist insurance includes enhanced COVID-19 cover and is only available through eligible STF members. Visit our COVID-19 School Travel Hub to find out more about the cover provided by ABTA’s STF Travel Sure Policy. 

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