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Annual vs single trip travel insurance

Rebecca Goodman
Written by  Rebecca Goodman
5 min read
Updated: 19 Apr 2024

Every time you go away, whether it’s for a long summer holiday or for several weekend breaks throughout the year, having a travel insurance policy means you’re covered for medical costs if you need treatment and your belongings are protected from theft, loss and damage. 

You’re also covered if your holiday company goes bust, among other things, and when you buy a policy you will need to choose if you want annual or single trip insurance. In this guide we discuss how each works to help you decide which option is the most cost effective.

Annual vs single trip travel insurance

An annual travel insurance policy will provide cover for a whole year and it will include all of the trips you make. That could be one big holiday or lots of city breaks, or a combination of the two. A single trip policy on the other hand just covers individual trips and is priced by the number of days you are away for. 

travel insurance

What is single-trip travel insurance?  

If you buy single-trip travel insurance you will have cover for one holiday. You tell the insurer the day you want the cover to start and finish from and you’ll pay one sum for the whole lot. It is generally cheaper than buying an annual policy, as you are covered for a shorter amount of time.  

The average single trip price is *£23.68, but your actual quote will depend on lots of factors such as your age and if you have any pre-existing health conditions.  

*Data based on the average price of single trip travel insurance policies sold through MoneySuperMarket in April 2024.

If you choose a single-trip policy, it’s worth buying the insurance as soon as you book the holidays. This way you have protection straight away if the holiday company were to go bust before your trip starts. 

For anyone planning an extended trip away, such as a gap year or backpacking, a specialist backpackers insurance policy is usually a better option as it provides cover for a longer period and includes activities not usually found in standard travel insurance policies.  

When would single-trip travel insurance be best? 

If you’re trying to work out whether to buy annual or single-trip travel insurance, the following scenarios are all examples of where a single policy might be the best option: 

  • You are only planning on taking one or two trips within a year and it’s cheaper to buy two single policies 

  • You can’t find an annual policy within your age limit 

  • You’re being quoted very high prices for an annual policy, or not being accepted at all, usually because of pre-existing medical conditions 

What is annual travel insurance? 

Annual travel insurance provides cover for a whole calendar year and will include any trips abroad you make during that time. When you buy the policy you choose the date it will start from and the areas of the world you would like included.  

You can choose European cover, for example, if you know all your trips will be within the EU, or worldwide cover if you plan to go further afield.  

It’s usually more expensive than a single-trip policy, but if you are making two or more trips it can work out cheaper overall. It’s also more convenient as you just need to buy one policy per year, instead of buying cover for each trip you go on.  

There is sometimes an age limit on annual policies, which can be as low as 75, and you may be charged a higher price if you have pre-existing health conditions, or even not accepted for a policy at all. In these situations, a specialist insurance provider may be able to provide cover and a single-trip policy could be your best bet. 

When would annual trip travel insurance be best? 

It might be the best option to buy an annual travel insurance policy in the following scenarios: 

  • You’re planning several trips throughout the year 

  • You want the convenience of only having to arrange insurance once per year 

  • It’s cheaper to buy one policy than multiple single-trip policies 

  • You have annual travel insurance included with another financial product you pay for, such as a packaged bank account 

What is the difference between single and annual travel insurance? 

It can be tricky to calculate whether single or annual travel insurance is best for many reasons beyond the cost. At the start of the year, for example, you may not know how many trips you are planning to take. 

Cost 

An annual policy is likely to be more expensive than a single-trip policy because you will be covered for an entire year rather than just one trip. But if you are making several trips, it might work out cheaper overall.

See the average costs of travel insurance by policy type here:

Policy type

Average price*

Single Trip

£23.68

Annual Multi Trip

£54.81

Backpacker

£167.39

Long-Stay

£167.39

Last Minute

£30.22

*Data based on the average price of all travel insurance policies sold through MoneySuperMarket in April 2024.

However, the price also depends on the type of trip. If you’re going on a skiing holiday in March to America and a city break to Rome in May, you’ll need a worldwide policy with winter sports cover. If you choose an annual policy it’s likely to be more expensive than two single policies here.   

Convenience 

If you don’t want the extra life admin hassle of booking an insurance policy for each trip you go on, an annual policy is a better option. Yet it is worth weighing up the costs first, and it only takes around five minutes to buy a policy which is not long if you’re making a significant financial saving. 

Coverage   

Travel insurance policies are designed to cover different areas of the world, so if you’re going for a holiday to France, you don’t need to pay the same amount as someone going to Thailand on a jet skiing holiday, who would have a higher risk of claiming on a policy.  

You choose the area with an annual policy and all trips you make are covered. If you are the kind of person who doesn’t plan that far in advance and likes to make last-minute trips, an annual policy might not be the best option because if you’ve bought one just covering Europe but you’re planning a trip to Bali, for example, it won’t cover you.  

What else should I consider? 

The policy you need will depend on the trip you’re making but also who is coming with you. A few other things to consider include: 

  • A family or group policy could be a cheaper option (but if one person is a higher risk it could push prices up) 

  • If you’re going away for a longer period a backpackers policy could be better 

  • If your trip is on a cruise, you could buy specialist cruise insurance 

  • You may need extra cover if you’re planning any winter sports 

Customers with pre-existing conditions 

If you have a pre-existing medical condition it’s important to be open and honest with your insurer. It will need to know what the condition is and in some situations, it may ask to see medical records.  

There are still lots of options for cover, and it may be the case that you can buy a policy which excludes your condition or you go to a specialist insurer. Don’t be tempted to lie to an insurer, as if you do then need to make a claim while you’re away it could be rejected. 

Why compare travel insurance with MoneySuperMarket? 

There are lots of different travel insurance policies available and the best way to find the right policy, at the right price, is to compare insurance. It’s quick and easy and you will be able to look at a range of different policies before making your decision. You’ll be shown the price, which is obviously important, but also the small print so you can see exactly what you’ll be paying for and what is, and isn’t, included in a policy. 

Check out our Super Save Club homepage to learn more about the amazing rewards up for grabs when you compare and buy selected products with MoneySuperMarket – including your annual travel insurance.

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