Single trip travel insurance

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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.


A travel traffic light system has been introduced for international travel. From 19 July 2021, trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. However, you’ll still need to fulfil any pre-departure requirements, such as testing. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant local authority.

If a country 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’re aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and to check travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed at short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red listed countries. Should you choose to travel against the FCDO rules, you will not be covered by any travel insurance policy you purchase. Some providers do offer cover for international travel if you’re travelling for essential purposes, however most do not. In all cases, 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.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

Our panel includes insurance providers who quote cover for all medical conditions declared on our website, with no exclusions.

The Money and Pensions Service (MaPs) has launched a directory of insurance providers on its Money Advice Service website that may be able to provide quotes over the phone, if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at the Money Advice Service or by calling the British Insurance Brokers’ Association on 0370 950 1790.

What are the advantages 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.

What are my other travel insurance options?

The alternative to a single trip travel insurance policy is an annual travel insurance policy (also known as a multi-trip policy). This type of insurance should cover all your holidays for one year, but bear in mind that there’s usually a maximum length for each individual trip within that year.

This means that each holiday you take can’t exceed the number of days specified in your policy – typically this is 31 days, but you can find policies for 60 or even 90 days. If you intend to be away for longer, then look for a long-stay policy.

What will a travel insurance policy usually cover?

A typical travel insurance policy, including single trip cover, should protect you against:

  • Medical expenses
  • Personal accidents
  • Cancellation and curtailment
  • Missed departure or delays
  • Delayed, stolen, lost or damaged luggage
  • Lost or stolen valuables and personal money
  • Personal liability

Having seen recent reports of airlines going out of business and travel companies failing, you may also want to see what insurance providers offer in terms of cover for:

You may also find that there are extra cover options that you can choose such as:

  • Legal expenses
  • Cover for sports and activities
  • Natural catastrophe and terrorism cover
  • Cover for airspace closure – for example because of volcanic ash or drones around an airport as this may be excluded in the “delays” cover.

You should also make sure you understand the single item limit. You might need extra cover if you want to take valuables that are worth more than this amount, for example an expensive mobile phone or jewellery.

Many travel policies to Europe also have the proviso that you need to have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to use in the first instance if you have a health problem. 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.

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, water sports, 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 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 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 would receive £750.

Travel insurance policies may have different amounts of excess for different parts of the policy. Check that you can afford to pay your share of any claim or find an insurance provider with a lower excess. Examples of different kinds of excess that may be set out in your policy include:

  • Loss of deposit excess
  • Personal money excess
  • Baggage excess
  • Cancellation excess

Frequently asked questions

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. But there are other things that might help you save money on your insurance, including:

  • Choosing a less expensive destination. Places like the USA can be more expensive for insurance because of the potential risk of high medical costs.
  • Increasing your voluntary excess. But make sure you can afford it if you need to claim.
  • Avoiding taking very expensive gadgets and personal items with you that exceed the single item limit.
  • Not buying cover at the last minute – not only will you not be covered until then but insurance providers tend to raise prices the closer to deadlines for all kinds of insurance.
  • Not buying cover sold with your trip – it may not suit your needs and you may be able to get better cover for less money.

If you’re making more than one trip in a year, then you might find it cheaper to get an annual policy with multi-trip cover, rather than buying separate policies for two or three single trips. We can show you annual cover prices too so you can decide which option is right for you.

Will I need extra cover for sports and activities?

If you’re planning on being adventurous, you should check the details of your single trip insurance or pay for extra cover for the following:

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.

From a provider's point of view, if you or a member of your family has a health condition, it could mean you're more likely to need medical help while you’re away. Because of this, some conditions might increase the insurance premium, but this isn’t always the case with all conditions.

Make sure you list any medical conditions and give providers all the information they need. If you don’t, you might be charged more by your provider or have a claim rejected if anyone gets ill.

Does it matter where I’m travelling to?

Your destination could well impact on the price of your single trip travel insurance.

For example, the following countries all have a high level of private health care, therefore it costs more to receive treatment there.

As a result, you might find it’s more expensive to get cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition and you’re visiting any of these countries.

Please note: Your travel insurance won’t cover you if you’re travelling to a country that the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) doesn’t consider safe. For more information, check the FCO website.

Do I need single trip travel insurance if I’m holidaying in the UK?

While staycations mean you won’t have to worry so much about medical costs, if you suddenly become ill and can’t go away, then travel insurance could cover the cost of a cancelled holiday. UK hoildays often have minimum stay requirements, so make sure you check this before buying a policy.

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.

Josh Daniels

Travel expert at Compare the Market

“When choosing travel insurance, don’t just buy on price. Make sure any policy you choose covers you for the things you need, including all pre-existing medical conditions. In addition, always read the policy carefully so you know what you can and can’t claim for.”

How much does single trip travel insurance cost?

From £2.32
2 nights UK**

From £6.14
1 week Europe***

From £12.84
1 week Worldwide****

**Based on a single trip travel policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in the UK for 2 nights. Prices correct as at November 2020.

***Based on a single trip travel policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling in Europe for 1 week. Prices correct as at November 2020.

****Based on a worldwide travel insurance policy for a 20 year old with no pre-existing medical conditions travelling for 1 week. Prices correct as at November 2020.

Where can I compare single trip travel cover quotes?

We compare 43 providers^^

2 minutes^^^ to get a travel insurance quote

88.2%^^^^ of customers found our prices competitive or very competitive

^^Correct as of November 2020.

^^^On average it can take less than 2 minutes to complete a travel insurance quote through Compare the Market based on data in November 2020.

^^^^For the period 1st June 2020 to 30th November 2020, 633 people responded to the statement “I think the prices provided by CtM are….” 558 responded with ‘competitive’ or ‘very competitive’ (88.2%).

We can help you find the right single trip travel insurance policy for you. Simply compare travel insurance and get a quote in minutes.