Parents, does your teen have schoolies travel insurance?

With schoolies just around the corner and more and more young travellers hitting the road solo, Online travel insurance provider InsureandGo has urged teens and their parents to take out travel insurance policies before heading off.

For many Aussie teens, schoolies is the first opportunity to travel without supervision, and InsureandGo data shows that they’re jumping at the chance, with 90% of policy-purchasers between 17 and 18 years old travelling solo.

A third of these jetsetters are heading to pacific hot spots like Bali, Fiji and Vanuatu, while 40% are ticking Asian destinations, like Thailand, China and Japan, off the bucket list.

But all the excitement can quickly turn to stress - especially for the parents of teens off on an adventure. Jonathan Etkind, Commercial Manager of InsureandGo, said that for their first trip overseas, teens might need a little help getting organised.

“Develop a contact schedule to check in, and pull together an emergency help kit to help ease their nerves about travelling alone,” he advised parents.

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Parents were urged to make sure their internationally inclined children had a travel insurance policy in their suitcase, and to check travel warnings on the Smart Traveller website, as ‘do not travel’ warnings could affect insurance coverage. For those enjoying schoolies closer to home, there are also domestic travel insurance policies on offer.

Kate Fitzsimons, who established The Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation after her sister Nicole was killed in a motorbike accident in Thailand, stressed the importance of safety while travelling.

“When you’re in holiday mode, it’s easy to let your guard down and not worry about things that might cause you harm,” she said.

“Simple things like telling your bank you’re travelling so they don’t suspend your card, inspecting any hire equipment beforehand for damages, and telling your driver someone is expecting you to arrive when travelling alone, can help make your trip as smooth and safe as possible.”

For parents waving goodbye to schoolies goers, InsureandGo had a few handy pieces of wisdom to share:

  • Leave valuables at home – it might be hard to pry your teenager away from things like an iPad or laptop, but InsureandGo recommended leaving these devices at home as they can make your child a target for theft, or might be costly to replace if lost or damaged. If they need to take them make sure you choose a travel insurance policy with adequate cover for personal belongings.
  • Develop a contact schedule – schedule regular time slots to keep in touch with your travelling teen. Schedule a time for them to check in, and consider using WhatsApp to keep in contact.
  • Be health conscious – this means vaccinations if travelling to a country where they’re needed, as well as safety precautions while they’re on the ground, including drinking bottled water and washing hands regularly. No one wants a case of Bali belly - but make sure you choose a policy that will cover medical costs in case something does go wrong.
  • Put together a safety pack – make sure your child knows any emergency numbers, including local authorities, their accommodation, and a number back home. Most insurance providers have a 24/7 emergency phone line as well - make sure your child knows the number, because not only can your insurer provide help in a crisis, but they can let your intrepid adventurer know what they’ll need to do to successfully make a claim later on.

So what are you waiting for? Find your teen globetrotter a travel insurance policy today for their peace of mind - and yours!