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How to check you have adequate insurance for your French school trip 

— 10 Oct 2021 09:01:07 by Kate Moore

Activities at The Château

Make sure you have insurance cover for all the activities you want to do on your trip such as kayaking

Jargon-free guide to insuring your school trip

Groups staying at our Normandy centres have the chance to take out our specialist school travel insurance which includes several benefits, including cancellation cover for COVID-19.

To help you decide whether you need to take out this travel insurance cover, our guide explains the types of insurance available to schools and what extra protection groups might consider when planning their first return trip to France since the pandemic.

How to insure your trip to France - top tips for schools 

  • Consider a specialist school travel insurance policy that covers all the stakeholders in the trip - including the financial interests of the parents and the school 
  • Ensure that COVID-19 isn’t excluded from your travel insurance policy 
  • Check if your school has any other insurance that will cover trip cancellation, such as your school’s commercial insurance policy 

Why take out specialist travel insurance for your 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 these 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 group leader is incapacitated 
  • the cost of a parent travelling to France 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 during your stay such as kayaking, climbing, fencing, team sports, excursions and other animateur 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 may exclude claims related to COVID-19.  

At a minimum, schools require emergency medical treatment and repatriation for COVID-19 so that the group is covered for both medical treatment and the cost of returning home if someone in the group tests positive while in France. 

In the current environment, we also recommend that schools look for an enhanced level of cover, which offers more COVID-19 protection than standard policies.  

What enhanced COVID-19 protection should schools look out for? 

  • Cover to replace or recruit a new party leader in the event they test positive for COVID-19 in the run up to 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 any additional medical, accommodation and transport costs incurred if a student or staff member tests positive while away 
  • Cover the expenses of a parent travelling to Normandy to look after a child who can’t travel home due to testing positive for COVID-19 

Other extras to consider 

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. 

School insurance and RPA  

Before deciding to opt for our insurance, it is worth checking the cover provided by your school’s commercial insurance policy or RPA (Risk Protection Agreement) as some policies include insurance for school trips abroad. If your school’s policy includes travel cover, you might want to double check that COVID-19 isn’t excluded from the cancellation and curtailment cover.

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) 

Though we have left the EU, travellers can still use an existing European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in EU countries until it expires. After that, teachers and students in your group can apply for a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) on the NHS website. You can use a GHIC to access healthcare in France at a reduced cost or sometimes for free. EHICs and GHICs are not a not a substitute for travel insurance, but can save teachers paying out of pocket medical expenses on the trip, that have to be claimed back later. 

Additional financial protection for school trips 

Some companies currently offer extra flexible booking terms and refund guarantees to help fill in the gaps not covered by a school’s insurance. For example our Peace of Mind Promise goes above and beyond our normal terms and conditions by offering a full refund if the Foreign Office allows travel to France but the DfE advises against school trips.


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