So why might you need annual travel insurance? Well, it can be essential if you travel often. People often buy a travel policy to cover them for their holiday abroad once a year, but it can work out cheaper to buy annual cover if you go away twice a year or more. This is sometimes also called multi trip travel insurance.
More generally, it’s essential to have travel insurance as it should protect you if things go wrong.
What does travel insurance cover?
The main purpose of travel or holiday insurance is to cover you for cost of medical treatment abroad – which could go into thousands of pounds. It could also pay for you to be transported home in an emergency.
Policies do vary from provider to provider, but most should include emergency medical treatment costs to cover things such as hospital charges and ambulance fees. They usually also cover getting you home after medical treatment abroad, if you can’t use your original tickets. Often you’ll be covered for the costs of a friend or relative staying with you while you’re treated, or flying out from home to support you if needed.
Your policy can also cover you if you lose your baggage or other possessions (or they’re stolen), and refund you if the trip has to be cancelled or cut short (cover will vary depending on provider).
So is it going to be cheaper for you to buy an annual policy or a single trip travel insurance? It actually depends on a few things, so the best way to find out what would work best for you is to do a travel insurance comparison.
Where are you going?
When you compare travel insurance you first need to decide if your policy needs to cover you just for the UK, or for Europe, or the USA, Canada and Caribbean. You’ll need extra cover if you’re going to the USA, Canada or Caribbean, or anywhere further beyond. So if there’s a chance you will be going somewhere exotic, it could be worth including that in your annual policy.
Some people think that they don’t need travel insurance if they have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). If you need medical treatment while travelling within many European countries, the EHIC means you can get treatment on the same basis (maybe free or at a low cost) as people who live in that country. However, it will be on the basis you get taken to a public not private hospital. In the event of an emergency you will be taken to the nearest hospital.
But the EHIC isn’t a substitute for travel cover – it wouldn’t pay for getting you home or other costs linked to your medical emergency. They are also date-specific, so check the expiry on your card before you travel. Be aware too, that not all European countries recognise the EHIC. Also some policies will waive your excess if you have one.
Outside the EU of course there’s no EHIC, so it can be more expensive again to get medical support.
A final point on where you’re going. Your travel insurance won’t cover you if you are travelling to a country that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) doesn’t consider to be safe. If you’re not sure, check the FCO website.
Who are you taking?
Your annual travel insurance could just be for you, or you could buy it as a couple, or cover your family or a group.
If you’re including other people, you will need their dates of birth and details of any medical conditions they might have, to get an accurate quote.
What will you be doing?
If you’re going skiing or snowboarding, or taking a cruise, or your trip is for business, not all policies will cover you. With winter sports there’s more risk of injury, while cruises need specific elements like cover for being confined to your cabin, or an emergency airlift to hospital. If you’re travelling on business (and your company isn’t insuring the trip) not all general policies will cover you. We’ll ask you about these elements as part of our quote information.
If you’re planning on being adventurous on your travels, you might need to check whether things like bungee jumping, white water rafting or lion taming are covered in your policy – should you need them.
How’s your health?
From a providers' point of view, if you have a health condition it could mean you‘re more likely to need medical help while you’re away. Because of this, some conditions might make your insurance more expensive but this isn’t always the case with all conditions.
It’s important that you do list any medical conditions and give providers all the information they need because, if not, you might be charged more by your provider or not be covered. If your insurer discovers that the medical emergency on your trip was linked to a condition you already had, they could refuse to pay your bills or add a cost.
To get you a list of quotes, we’ll ask you a few questions about your health and get you to add in the names of any medical conditions.
Next you’ll get a page full of travel insurance quotes. These are listed in price order with the cheapest travel insurance at the top.
You can also see all the main details of each policy – how well it’s rated by Defaqto, the amounts of medical, baggage and cancellation cover and what excess you would pay if you did make a claim. You can filter your results to only show those over a certain limit, if you like.
To find out more about what is and isn’t included in the policies, click each one for more details.
Once you have found a travel insurance quote that suits you, click the button to go through and buy. But do make sure you read all the details. We hope you never need to claim, but you should make sure you have the right cover, just in case.
Don’t forget, if you buy your travel insurance policy through us, you will benefit from the fabulous Meerkat Movies! You can get 2 for 1 cinema tickets on Tuesdays or Wednesdays, every week for a whole year.* A great reason to choose us for your holiday insurance.