What is annual travel insurance?
Annual travel insurance (also known as multi-trip travel insurance) is an insurance policy that provides cover for those who travel more regularly, usually two or more holidays or business trips in 12 months.
Its benefits include:
- pay once for 12 months’ cover
- travel insurance for an unlimited amount of holidays (although each individual trip length will have a limit)
- savings increase the more you travel
We can help you compare annual travel insurance and find the right cover for your needs.
The travel traffic light system currently states that trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant government.
Please note: from 4am on 4 October 2021, the current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries.
Currently, if your destination of choice is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you are aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and ensure travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed with short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.
The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red list countries. Most insurance policies purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the FCDO has instructed citizens not to travel to won’t be valid, however, some insurance providers may offer reduced cover if you’re travelling for essential purposes. Should you have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing, to ensure the cover meets your needs.
Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.Find out more here
Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions
When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions.
MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.
What will an annual travel insurance policy usually cover?
A typical travel insurance policy, including annual travel insurance, could protect you against:
- Medical expenses – your policy should cover you for medical emergencies, the cost of any treatment, overnight stays and repatriation. However, remember to tell your insurance provider about any pre-existing medical conditions. Also remember to take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), if it’s still valid. Although it’s not a replacement for medical insurance, it allows you to get medical treatment like a local in EU countries.
After leaving the EU, you won't be able to apply for an EHIC, but you can apply for the new GHIC here. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.
- Cancellation and curtailment – this could help if you need to cancel or cut short your holiday.
- Missed departure or delays – offers cover if your flights are delayed because of an insured event.
- Stolen, lost or damaged luggage – make sure you have enough insurance to cover the cost of your luggage.
- Valuables and personal money.
- Personal liability cover – this may cover the cost of any damage or injury you inadvertently cause while you’re away.
Some insurance providers offer annual policies where you can choose between different levels of cover, with increasing levels of protection. They tend to have different upper limits and lower excesses. The top levels offer more protection but tend to be more expensive.
Make sure you fully understand the cover you’re getting before you buy.
What’s usually excluded from annual trip travel insurance?
Every insurance policy has a list of exclusions that an insurance provider won’t pay out for. You should always read the policy documents carefully before buying to make sure your needs are covered. Exclusions may include:
- medical treatment for pre-existing conditions
- some sports, watersports, winter sports and activities
- strikes that were public knowledge when you bought your insurance
- claims arising from travel to a place the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against travel, prior to your trip
- claims resulting from drug taking or alcohol
How to get a cheap annual travel insurance policy
One of the best ways to find cheap annual multi-trip travel insurance is to compare quotes. This means you can compare cover options and prices to find a policy that’s right for you and your needs. But there are other things that might help you save money on your insurance.
- Choose the right policy for your region – think about your plans for the year and limit the policy to the regions you know you’ll be travelling to. For example, there’s no need to buy a policy that includes the USA if you’re not going to go there.
- Don’t duplicate cover – travel insurance is now included in some packaged bank accounts, so check you don’t already have cover before you buy. You might also already have cover for some of your possessions – mobile phone insurance, for example – so you won’t need this included on your travel policy.
- Choose your excess levels carefully – generally speaking, the higher the excess the lower your premium. Make sure you can afford the excess if you make a claim.
- Choose your cover levels carefully – typically, the higher the level of cover, the more expensive the policy is likely to be. But it’s not worth choosing, say, a high level of cover for your luggage if it doesn’t reflect the value of what you’re taking with you.
If you’re only making one trip in a year, then you might find it cheaper to get a single-trip policy. We can show you both options so you can decide which is right for you.
What are the advantages of an annual trip policy?
Annual travel cover could be a good choice for anyone who makes two or more trips in a 12-month span. But for those taking a one-off holiday, single trip cover might be better.
Benefits of an annual policy include:
- ease - you can go away at the last minute without having to organise travel insurance (one less thing to worry about)
- affordability – if you take several trips a year, it can be cheaper than paying for multiple single trips
- suitability – with several types of annual multi-trip policy targeting different regions of the world, you only need pay for insurance for the areas you know you’ll be visiting
- flexibility – insurance providers offer a range of cover options, so you can choose between a typical policy and one with much higher limits for pay-outs
That means if you travel once a year, a single-trip policy could be cost-efficient. However, if you travel two or more times a year, you’ll probably find that the best way to save money is by signing up for an annual multi-trip policy.
What are the disadvantages of annual travel insurance?
The main downside of annual trip policies is that age limits can be lower than for single-trip policies, so older people might find them harder to get. Older travellers may find it worth getting quotes for both types of policy.
How much does annual travel insurance cost?
Multi-trip travel insurance for Europe
Multi-trip travel insurance worldwide
**Based on Compare The Market Data for an annual multi trip travel insurance policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Europe. Prices correct as of June 2021.
***Based on Compare The Market Data for an annual multi trip travel insurance policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Worldwide. Prices correct as of June 2021.
Frequently asked questions
Do I still need an EHIC card if I am going to Europe?
After Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU with a deal in place, things have changed. You won’t be able to apply for an EHIC anymore, but, if you have one already, issued before the end of 2020, then it’ll still be valid until the expiry date.
However, the UK government has introduced a replacement called the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). If you don’t have an EHIC, or once yours expires, you can apply for a GHIC here, and it should arrive within 10 days. The GHIC will offer the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.
Do annual travel insurance policies cover COVID-19 related disruption?
It’s difficult to say, as all travel insurance providers are covering COVID-19 differently. That’s why it’s really important to compare travel insurance policies carefully and understand who is covering what. It’s unlikely you’ll find a policy that covers all possible disruptions owing to COVID-19, but some providers do offer better cover than others. We offer comparison for specialist “enhanced COVID policies”, so you can find the right cover you need for peace of mind.
It will also depend on what the current government guidelines on travel are. If the UK government has banned foreign travel, then your insurance won’t cover you if you decide to go anyway.
Has Brexit affected multi trip travel insurance?
Even though the UK has left the EU, Brexit hasn’t massively changed how travel insurance works. You’ll still be able to take out a new annual multi-trip travel insurance policy that’s specific to Europe, that’ll cover you just as it did before.
If you already have a rolling annual multi-trip policy, you shouldn’t need to worry either. It should just continue to cover you as normal. If you’re unsure though, it’s always best to talk to your insurance provider or check your policy wording.
One of the main things that’s changed since Brexit is how the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) works. You won’t be able to apply for a new EHIC anymore, but, if you have one that was issued to you before the end of 2020, you can still use it until its expiry date. Instead, you can now apply for a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which offers the same cover as the EHIC did in EU countries.
Will I need extra cover for sports and activities?
How many times can I go away on an annual policy?
It’s up to you. The beauty of multi-trip travel insurance is that there are no rules as to how many times you need to travel to qualify for it.
If you’ll be making numerous trips, it’s advisable to double check the small print on your insurance provider’s policy, though, in case there’s a maximum trip limit, as all policies vary.
How many days can each holiday be for?
Typical annual travel insurance cover normally stipulates that each individual holiday within the year of your annual policy can’t exceed a certain number of days – normally 31.
When should I select my annual multi-trip travel insurance to start from?
Ideally, on the day you pay for it. This is because the cancellation cover on annual multi-trip insurance begins from the start date of the policy. To make sure you have this protection, you need to be covered from when you pay for your first trip, not just from when you start it.
Will my annual travel insurance policy cover me for trips in the UK?
Most policies will cover you for UK trips, but there may be conditions that apply, for example:
- a minimum number of nights
- a minimum distance from home.
Check your policy for details.
Do I need to tell the insurance provider about any pre-existing conditions?
Yes, as with any travel insurance policy, you need to let your insurance provider know, otherwise your claim could be invalid.
Will I be covered for my airline or holiday provider going bust?
It depends. Some policies will include this, under End Supplier Failure or Scheduled Airline Failure, while others make it an add-on or won’t cover it at all. When you compare with us, you can clearly see which policies include this and those that don’t. If this is important to you, make sure you choose a policy that includes it.
What is travel insurance excess and how high should I set it?
An excess in insurance is how much you’ll pay towards a claim. If, for example, your luggage is insured for £250 and the excess is £50, if you make a successful claim your insurance provider will pay you £200.
Different parts of the policy may have different excess amounts. For example, the excess for cancellation may be different from the excess for medical treatment. Make sure you check all the amounts are affordable for you.
Can I extend the maximum trip duration on my annual travel insurance policy?
This depends on your age and the level of cover you’re looking for. Typically, providers of annual travel insurance cover people aged 19-75, and the maximum trip duration is usually 31 or 60 days, depending on the cover you’re purchasing.
The maximum duration for flyers aged between 66-75 years old is usually around 21 days.
It may be complicated to get an extension. Insurance providers usually suggest you take out a single trip policy you need to stay longer than the limits specified in your policy.
Will my valuables and money be protected?
The extent to which your valuables and money are protected varies from policy to policy. There will be upper limits set out in the terms and conditions. To be able to claim you’ll also need to follow the guidelines set out by your insurance provider, for example, never leave your mobile unattended and lock valuables in a safe if available.
You also need to make sure you understand what you need to do if you make a claim, such as reporting the incident to the police.
What are my other travel insurance options?
You can opt for single-trip insurance if you’re only likely to make one trip in a year.
If you’re going on a cruise you may find cruise insurance better suited to your needs, as these policies cover things like missed port stops.
Long-stay trip insurance (also known as backpacker insurance) may be better suited to a traveller away for long periods and visiting several countries.
What do I need to get a quote?
When you start a travel insurance quote with us, it’s a good idea to have some basic information about your travel plans, including:
- when you want the policy to start
- all the countries you want to visit
- how many people you want to insure
- any medical conditions
- cover limits, excess limits and additional cover you might want
Travel insurance expert at Compare the Market
"You might think a multi-trip annual policy isn't for you, but even going away twice in a year could make it worth it. It can also remove some of the admin from travelling, with one policy covering you for all your trips, rather than having to take out cover each time."
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