Annual vs single trip travel insurance

Should you pick annual (multi-trip) or single trip travel insurance? In this article we look at the difference between the two and why you might choose one or the other.

Should you pick annual (multi-trip) or single trip travel insurance? In this article we look at the difference between the two and why you might choose one or the other.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
5
minute read
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Posted 28 JANUARY 2020

What is annual travel insurance?

Annual travel insurance – also called multi-trip insurance – covers you for a year from the date the policy starts.  

You’re covered for however many trips you go on in those 12 months, but you’ll usually be limited to around 31 days per trip. Some insurance providers may have a limit of up to 60 days, but this is down to the individual provider, so if you’re planning a long holiday it’s something to check.

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 

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 is single trip travel insurance?

A single trip policy covers you for just a single holiday and ends when you come home. This type of policy is cheaper than an annual one – but if you go on a few holidays each year and take out a single policy each time, the cost can add up.

You might want your policy to start as soon as you book your holiday, so you have some cover for cancellations. Take that into account when you consider quotes.

Find out more about single trip travel insurance.

Annual vs single trip insurance – how do you choose?

Over the last few years, more and more people have been choosing annual travel insurance. Back in 2006, 62% of policies sold were single trip policies. By 2016, that had dropped to just 21%.

Many people think that if you’re going on more than one trip in a year, multi-trip insurance is cheaper. But it’s not actually that simple. There are situations when single-trip insurance might be cheaper.

For example, if you’re going on one skiing holiday in Canada and one relaxed city break in Paris, the two trips would need very different levels of insurance. The skiing holiday would need worldwide insurance with winter sports cover. That would be very expensive if you got an annual policy – certainly not worth it just to cover your short trip to France as well. Getting two single-trip policies could be the more sensible choice.

The good thing about this is that you don’t have to guess – you can compare travel insurance quotes for your trips, both as annual and single trip, and see how they compare.

And what about for the spontaneous types?

You should also consider how spontaneous your travel plans tend to be. Even if you don’t have multiple trips planned, if you’re the type to jet off for a weekend at short notice you should factor that into your insurance choice.

With an annual policy, you don’t need to worry about cover every time you book a holiday. But remember, if you’ve bought annual travel insurance that only covers Europe, don’t spontaneously go to Morocco. Stop and upgrade your travel insurance first.

What are the many varieties of travel insurance?

There are various types of travel insurance. So far, we’ve just looked at annual vs single trip travel insurance, but you’ll also need to decide a few of other things, such as:

What insurance cover do you get?

There will usually be limits to the amount your insurance provider will pay for each of these things listed below – and remember – always check the details before you buy a policy. This is a quick look at the cover you’ll normally get with travel insurance:

  • medical expenses – travel insurance usually includes money towards the cost of any medical treatment you need while away, which can add up – especially if you end up in a private hospital. You should also look for emergency repatriation cover to get you back home
  • cancellation and curtailment – if you need to cancel or cut short your holiday for an insured reason, then your provider may reimburse you
  • missed departures and delays – if you’re delayed because of strikes or bad weather, or if you’ve missed your flight because of a car breakdown, then you could get some money back
  • luggage – don’t underestimate the value of your belongings, especially when you include your smartphone, tablet, camera or any other gadget you can’t live without. Decent travel insurance should cover the cost for these things in the event of loss, damage or theft

Start comparing

The first step to deciding on annual vs single trip travel insurance is to get quotes for each option. It’s quick and easy with Compare the Market.

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