What is single trip travel insurance?
Single trip cover is a travel insurance policy for a one-off holiday. If you go away twice or more every year, it could work out cheaper to buy annual travel insurance compared to buying two single trip policies. But if you travel on holiday just once a year, single trip insurance could be better value.
The type of policy you’ll need depends on where you’re going. You can choose from:
Customers with pre-existing medical conditions
If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean any claim you make is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.
If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.
What does single trip travel insurance cover?
A typical travel insurance policy, including single trip cover, should protect you against:
- Medical expenses - cover if you have an accident or become ill while you’re away. It can also help to pay for an air ambulance and repatriation to the UK if needed.
- Cancellation and curtailment - you won’t be out of pocket if you have to cancel or cut short your trip for any of the reasons specified in your policy.
- Flight cancellations - you may be able to claim on your travel insurance if your flight is cancelled or delayed for more than 24 hours, or you’re not rebooked on a new flight within 24 hours – check the policy for details.
- Stolen, lost or damaged luggage - it’s not unknown for airlines to lose or damage your luggage. Travel insurance could pay you compensation. Get tips on keeping your belongings safe while travelling.
- Lost or stolen valuables and personal money - although you can typically claim for lost or stolen cash and traveller’s cheques, there may be an upper limit. Likewise, most travel insurance policies will limit what you can claim for single items and all valuable items. You may want to add extra gadget insurance.
- Personal liability - if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property during your trip and they make a claim against you, personal liability cover can meet your legal expenses and any compensation.
- Coronavirus cover - many travel policies offer cover if you can’t travel because of coronavirus or you have to extend your stay because you’re isolating. When you get a travel insurance quote with us, it’s easy to compare levels of COVID-19 cover. Just use the ‘more details’ option on the quote results page.
There’s always the risk of airlines going out of business and travel companies failing, so you might also want to see what insurance providers offer in terms of cover for:
- Scheduled airline failure
- End supplier failure.
What’s usually excluded from single trip travel insurance?
You should always read the policy carefully before buying to make sure it covers your needs, as insurance providers will have a list of exclusions – things they won’t pay out for if you make a claim. These may include:
- Medical treatment for pre-existing conditions
- Some sports (for example, water sports and winter sports) and activities
- Strikes that were public knowledge when you bought your insurance
- Claims arising from travel to a place the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office has advised to avoid – because of disease epidemics/pandemics or terrorism threats, for example – prior to your trip. Always check for the latest update before you travel
- Claims resulting from alcohol or drug taking
- Claims because you didn’t get the inoculations and vaccinations needed for your trip.
What extra options can I add to single trip travel insurance?
Extra options you can choose to buy include:
- Missed departure or delays – if you miss a flight or connection because of strikes, road accidents or public transport delays, you may be able to claim for costs incurred. This is included as standard on some policies, but check your policy to see if you need to add it as an extra.
- Cover for sports and activities – some sports and activities may not be covered by standard travel insurance, so check your policy. You might need extra cover for winter sports, water sports, and even golf.
- Natural catastrophe and terrorism cover – if natural catastrophes or terrorism cause you to cancel your trip, or it’s disrupted, this type of cover can compensate you.
- Cover for airspace closure – for example, because of volcanic ash or drones around an airport.
- Gadget cover – offers higher single item limits for valuable tech such as smartphones, laptops and wearables. Can be bought as an add-on or as a standalone policy.
Just be aware that any extras will push up the price of your single trip policy, so choose them only if you think you’ll need them.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of a single trip policy?
The pros of a single trip travel insurance policy include:
- Price – only going on one holiday in the next 12 months? Then a single trip policy could be the most cost-effective choice.
- Cover for your whole trip – you can arrange cover for the exact number of days you’re away.
- Higher or no age limits – 75-80 years old? Many insurance providers won’t offer annual travel insurance for travellers of this age, so a single trip policy could be the only option.
- Cover for your trip will start when you buy it – this could come in handy if you need to cancel your trip.
- Tailored to your trip – if you love taking different kinds of holidays every year, you may find that you’re better off getting single trip insurance tailored for the region and activities you’ll be doing.
The cons include:
- Price – if you take more than one trip in a year, you could end up paying more than if you’d chosen an annual policy.
- Effort – you’ll miss out on the ease offered by annual policies, meaning that you can take short-notice and spontaneous trips away (to the areas you’re covered for) without having to spend time comparing insurance policies.
- More potential risk – if you delay buying your single trip policy after you’ve booked, you might be unable to claim if you need to cancel, for example. With an annual policy, you’d be covered.
- More hassle if you extend your stay – single trip cover is based on fixed dates, so if you stay a little longer you’ll have to either extend your short stay travel insurance or take out a new policy.
How can I get cheap single trip travel insurance?
One of the simplest ways to find cheap single trip travel insurance is to compare quotes with us.
If you’re making more than one trip in a year, you might find it cheaper to get an annual travel policy that offers multi-trip cover, rather than buying separate policies for two or three single trips. You can also compare annual cover prices with us, so you can decide which option is right for you.
What our expert says...
"When taking out a single-trip policy, it's best to get covered early. That's because your cover starts from the moment you take out the policy, which means you're protected for any cancellations or other issues right away, rather than just while you're travelling. Premiums also tend to get more expensive, the closer you get to travelling, so it's a win-win to get covered early."
- Helen Phipps, Insurance comparison expert
How much does single trip travel insurance cost?
2 nights UK
1 week Europe
1 week Worldwide
 Based on Compare the Market data for a single trip travel policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in UK for 2 nights.
 Based on Compare the Market data for a single trip travel policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Europe for 1 week.
 Based on Compare the Market data for a worldwide travel insurance policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling for 1 week.
All prices correct as of December 2023.Start a quote
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:
- Dates of travel
- All countries being visited
- How many people you want to insure
- Any medical conditions
- Cover limits, excess limits and additional cover you might want.
Why choose Compare the Market?
We compare 39 providers
Rated 4.8/5 on Trustpilot
We can help you find the right single trip travel insurance policy for you. Simply compare travel insurance and get a quote in minutes.
 Correct as of December 2023.
 As of January 2024, Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 38,330 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.Start a quote
Frequently asked questions
What is an excess?
An excess is the amount of money you’re expected to contribute towards a claim. For example, if your cancellation cover was for £1,000 and your excess was £250, when your claim is paid you’d get £750.
Travel insurance policies may have different amounts of excess for different types of claims. They may also include an additional excess for medical claims. Check your policy terms and conditions so you know exactly how much the excess for each type of claim will be.
Do I need to mention any pre-existing medical conditions?
Yes. To get you a list of quotes, we’ll ask you a few questions about your health and to include any pre-existing medical conditions.
Some conditions might increase the cost of your travel insurance because there may be a higher risk of you needing medical help while you’re away.
Make sure you list any medical conditions and give providers all the information they need. If you don’t, any claim you make may be rejected.
Does it matter where I’m travelling to?
Yes, your destination will impact on the price of your premium, and the type of single trip travel insurance policy you’ll need.
For example, medical costs in certain countries outside Europe can be eye-wateringly high. Because of this, a single trip USA travel insurance policy or worldwide single trip cover will cost you more than single trip European travel insurance.
Please note: your travel insurance won’t cover you if you’re travelling to a country that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) doesn’t consider safe. For more information, check the FCDO website.
Do I need a Global Health Insurance Card?
Yes, if you’re taking out single trip European travel insurance, you should get a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) too. The GHIC, which replaced the EHIC card, allows UK residents access to state-provided, medically necessary healthcare while visiting EU countries.
However, a GHIC isn’t a substitute for travel insurance. It won’t cover repatriation if you need to be flown back to the UK. And it won’t cover non-medical mishaps like holiday cancellation, flight delays or lost baggage.
You can apply for a free GHIC on the NHS website and it should arrive in 10 days.
Do I need single trip travel insurance if I’m holidaying in the UK?
If you’re planning a staycation in the UK, you won’t have to worry about medical cover as you’ll be able to receive treatment from the NHS.
However, travel insurance could cover your costs if you need to cancel your holiday or if anything happens to your baggage. UK travel insurance plans often have minimum stay requirements, so make sure you check this before buying a policy.
What are my other travel insurance options?
If you travel frequently throughout the year, an annual travel insurance policy (also known as a multi-trip insurance) might be a cheaper option than a single policy for every trip.
If you take just one family holiday a year, single trip family travel insurance could offer great value. The whole family are covered under one policy, and some providers even cover the kids for free.