Single trip travel insurance

Planning a break? Find out what to look for in the best 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.


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 the cheapest 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.

What is short stay travel insurance?

Short stay travel insurance is another name for single trip travel insurance, and you may see the terms used interchangeably.

What will a travel insurance policy usually cover?

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

  • Medical expenses - cover if you have an accident or are taken 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 unheard of for airlines to lose or damage your luggage, but 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 to cover your more valuable tech.
  • 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 help pay 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: 

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:

  • Claims arising from travel to a place the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) 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. If you can’t add cover for the activities you have planned, you may need to take out a specialist policy.
  • Natural catastrophe and terrorism cover - if natural catastrophe or terrorism cause you to cancel your trip or it’s disrupted, natural catastrophe and terrorism cover can compensate you.
  • Cover for airspace closure - because of volcanic ash or drones around an airport, for example.

You should also make sure you understand the single item limit – the amount that your policy will pay out for one item. You might want to add gadget cover to your policy to cover valuable tech, or buy it separately.

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 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). Whether it’s appropriate for you will depend on the type of holidays you’ll be taking. If you prefer to mix it up and enjoy a European city break, a skiing holiday in Canada and a golfing holiday in the sun, it’s likely to be cheaper to take out tailored single trip cover for each break, rather than a worldwide annual policy.

And 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, also known as an extended trip or backpackers policy.

What’s the difference between single trip travel insurance and one way travel insurance?

Most travel insurance, including single trip travel insurance, covers both your outbound and return journey, as well as the time in between. As the name suggests, one way travel insurance is designed for travellers who aren’t returning home. You might need it, if for example, you’re emigrating, returning to your home country or going to work abroad for a long period of time. One way trip travel insurance is available through specialist providers.

Do I need a Global Health Insurance Card? 

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) replaces the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and allows UK residents to access state-provided healthcare while visiting EU countries. If you already have an EHIC issued before the end of 2020, it will still be valid until the expiry date.  

You can apply for a free GHIC on the NHS website.

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.

How much does single trip travel insurance cost?

From £1.97
2 nights UK[1]

From £5.56
1 week Europe[2]

From £15.95
1 week Worldwide[3]

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

[3] 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 January, 2023.

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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.
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Why choose Comparethemarket?

We compare 42 providers[4]

Rated 4.8/5 on Trustpilot[5]

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

[4] Correct as of December, 2022.

[5] As of January 2023 Compare the Market had an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 from 23,670 people who left a review on Trustpilot. The score 4.8 corresponds to the Star Label ‘Excellent’.

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Author image Josh Daniels

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."

- Josh Daniels, Travel insurance expert

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 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.

Will I need extra cover for sports and activities?

If you’re planning on being adventurous while you’re away, 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. You need to declare any existing or chronic health conditions to make sure you’ll be able to access treatment while you’re abroad. 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 an insurance provider’s 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 increase the cost of your travel insurance.

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?

Your destination could well impact 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 FCDO 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 you won’t have to worry about medical cover as you’ll be able to receive treatment from the NHS, travel insurance could cover your costs if you need to cancel your holiday. UK holidays often have minimum stay requirements, so make sure you check this before buying a policy.

Can I get short stay travel insurance for Europe and worldwide destinations?

Yes, you can get short trip cover for European holidays and for destinations further afield, but you’ll need to take out separate cover for each trip. When you compare single trip travel cover, you’ll need to tell us which region you’ll be travelling to. You can choose between:

Can I get single trip travel insurance for my family?

Yes, you can find family single trip travel insurance. When you compare quotes with us, we’ll ask you who you’d like to insure on your single trip policy. You can choose between:

Page last reviewed on 16/01/2023
by Josh Daniels