How Travel Insurance Works if a Family Member is Hospitalized or Dies

Buying travel insurance to cover your whole family is a great idea, since one family travel insurance plan can usually provide travel protection to you, your loved ones and your trip. But, did you know certain travel insurance coverages can kick in even if a non-traveling family member is hospitalized or dies?

Whether you have elderly family or have understandable concerns about the pandemic causing a family member to be hospitalized, you can plan a trip with more peace of mind, knowing if you need to cancel the trip for a covered reason you won’t lose your vacation investment. 

Also read: 7 Questions to Ask to Find the Best Family Travel Insurance

One of our family members was hospitalized and unable to make the trip. Not being able to go on vacation stinks but a loved one being sick stinks even more. Thank you for your timely resolution and professionalism. Everything went smoothly and I am very pleased with the outcome. I would highly recommend your company to anyone looking to protect their vacation.
Tom M. from Michigan

What about family members who are not traveling?

There are a few ways family members not going on your trip could impact that trip and the travel insurance coverages you might have.

All of our plans include Trip Cancellation coverage that reimburses your trip costs if you cancel for a covered reason. One of those reasons is a non-traveling family member being hospitalized or passing away due to an illness or injury and you are unable to take your trip.

Everyone wants a vacation to be a carefree time, and even if everyone on the trip is doing the right thing, staying healthy and out of trouble, there’s no guarantee that things will be going along swimmingly back at the hacienda.

If trouble strikes back home, our Trip Interruption coverage can reimburse you for the unused portion of your trip and help arrange for transportation back to your loved ones at home, in case of a covered event.

One other way family members could become involved with travel insurance is if you’re traveling alone and hospitalized for more than seven days and need family support. Our Emergency Assistance and Transportation benefit includes coverage  to fly one person of your choosing to come accompany you. Their lodging, meals, local transportation and telephone calls during this time can also be covered by the plan.

Also read: Does Travel Insurance Cover the Flu or Other Illness?

Defining “Family”

It’s very important that you understand who is considered a “family member” when you buy travel insurance with this in mind. Don’t assume that your cousin qualifies – because in this case, they don’t.

You can find those specific details in the Plan Details, but we’ve pulled the definition for our plans out of the fine print.


  • Insured’s or Traveling Companion’s Spouse 
  • Insured’s, Traveling Companion’s or Spouse’s: 
    • child; 
    • parent; 
    • sibling; 
    • grandparent, great-grandparent or grandchild or great-grandchild;
    • son-in-law or daughter-in-law; 
    • brother-in-law or sister-in-law; 
    • parent-in-law;
    • step-parent, step-child or step-sibling; 
    • aunt or uncle; 
    • niece or nephew; 
    • legal guardian; 
    • foster child or legal ward;
    • step-grandparent or step-grandchild;
    • step-aunt or step-uncle.

See more travel insurance definitions

Coverage For One, Coverage For All

The topic of family travel insurance often results in many questions, starting with the basic question, “Can one travel insurance policy cover my entire family?”

The answer is yes – one travel-insurance policy can cover up to 10 people. Adding each family member (or traveling companion, technically) to the plan increases the total premium, but everyone has coverage under the same policy, enjoying the same benefits.

The only exceptions to that is if your traveling family exceeds 10 people or a family member(s) fall outside the traveling companion definition.

Another common question family travelers have is, “What if one of my family members has to cancel their trip because of illness, but the rest of us don’t? Does family travel insurance cover one cancellation because of illness?”

The person who has to cancel their trip has coverage under Trip Cancellation (assuming they’re canceling their trip for a covered reason, of course), while the rest of the family’s coverage continues on.

This can happen time and again. If your grandfather’s luggage is lost he can get coverage under the Baggage benefit, without compromising the benefit in case your sister subsequently loses her luggage. And, if your nephew needs emergency medical attention, he will have coverage under the plan – without changing the amount of the Medical and Dental benefit you have on tap in case you need it.

On the other hand, if everyone needs to use their benefit at once, they can. So if grandma back home gets sick and the family needs to interrupt their trip to be with her, they all can

That’s one of the great advantages of families using travel insurance: the incredible versatility. It works just as well for one family member as for an entire family.

Also read: Buying Travel Insurance in a Post-Pandemic World

Making Sure Everyone’s Covered

If you’re planning a big family vacation and want to make sure everyone has coverage, here’s what you need to do:

  • Read your policy. Make sure everyone you want to be covered under the plan is actually covered – and on a per-person basis. If they’re not, shop around for a plan that can accommodate everyone.

  • Make plans early. It’s easier to get everyone coverage when everyone is on board right away, and the plan is purchased soon after the trip is paid for. It’s harder but not impossible to add family members after the plan is purchased. Learn more about adding to an existing plan.

  • Look for medical coverage. Usually with family trips the most desired coverage is emergency medical protection. Make sure your plan has good Medical and Dental and Emergency Assistance and Transportation coverage – the more the better.

  • Put one person in charge of insurance shopping. If everyone is out looking for plans there can be confusion and delay in getting everyone coverage – and sometimes that can mean no one gets coverage at all. By making one person responsible for finding the travel insurance for the entire family the process is consolidated – and the outcome is generally favorable.

  • Have personal information handy. If you go the route of trusting one person with the insurance shopping, they’ll need everyone’s birthdate to buy a plan. Make sure they have this information before they start shopping. 

Also read: Info You Need to Know Before Getting a Travel Insurance Quote

Getting an entire family travel insurance coverage makes a lot of sense – and doing it online is fast and easy. Plus, with coverages that work even if a non-traveling family member gets sick or injured – it’s a no-brainer. It’s the best way of making sure your family travels get off to a great start and continue that way.

Start the process with Generali by comparing plans and getting a quote.


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