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One-way travel insurance

Everything you need to know about one-way travel cover

published: 14 September 2020
Read time: 5 minutes

Need travel insurance for a one-way trip? Check out our no-nonsense guide to insuring yourself when you don’t plan to return home

Most travel insurance policies provide cover for the outbound and return journeys of your trip, as well as the time you’re away.

For this type of standard cover, it's easy to compare travel insurance online with MoneySuperMarket. However, if you’re not heading back to the UK, you’ll want a more specialist one-way travel insurance policy. Here’s how it works.

What is one-way travel insurance?

One-way travel insurance provides cover for one outward-bound journey from the UK to somewhere overseas. There are a variety of reasons why you might need this type of cover, which can only be bought direct from a travel insurer. These include:

  • Emigrating to another country (maybe with a few stops on the way)

  • Returning to the country of your origin after living in the UK

Most travel insurance policies – both annual and single trip – limit the length of time you can be away, usually to around 31 days. So even if you plan to come back to the UK at some point, one-way travel insurance may be the best option for an open-ended trip.

woman with laptop showing MoneySuperMarket on her lap

What are the alternatives to one-way travel insurance?

Alternatives to one-way travel cover include backpacker insurance, which usually gives you up to 18 months to complete your trip and may not require you to have a return ticket.

If you’re going overseas to work – or just relax – for an undefined period of up to 18 months, you can also take out long-stay travel insurance. However, both these types of cover are for UK residents who plan to return to the UK and the end of their travels.

How does one-way cover work?

One-way travel cover offers similar cover to a standard travel insurance policy. This includes medical expenses, lost luggage, and having to cancel your one-way flight.

As with standard single-trip or annual travel insurance policies, it also usually comes with a time limit by which you should have arrived at your final destination.

Typically, this will be a week after you leave your home country. But some specialist providers offer much longer-term policies that also cover stop offs on your way to your new home.

Either way, it's best to give yourself at least a few days leeway in case your plans change, as your cover will generally lapse 24 hours after you arrive at your destination.

If you suffer from a long-term health condition, you may need to look into travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions. Your insurance may cost a little more, but without it, any claim you make relating to your condition may be declined.

Do I need travel insurance for a one-way trip?

It’s a good idea to get insured for one-way travel, as your trip could still be derailed by delays and cancellations. If you’re unlucky, your luggage might even be lost, stolen or damaged en route. Some people also choose to turn their one-way journey into a holiday, whether that’s by stopping off for a few days or spending several months getting to their destination.

You can get one-way travel cover for all these eventualities – although the length of time you can spend travelling varies widely between policies. Just remember that if you need to be expatriated for medical care, it will usually be to your final destination rather than back to the UK.

Can I get one-way travel insurance?

Yes, you can take out one-way travel insurance policies lasting anything from a few days to 18 months. However, as most standard travel cover assumes you’ll be coming back to the UK within a set timeframe, you’ll need a specialist policy to be properly protected.

You can get one of these in one of two ways:

  • By contacting a specialist one-way travel insurance provider

  • By asking a company that offers standard travel insurance to cover you for a one-way trip (although not all insurers offer this)

What's the difference between one-way travel cover and annual travel insurance?

Annual travel insurance, also known as multi-trip travel insurance, lasts for 12 months but limits the time you can spend away on any one trip – usually to 31 days.

To be covered, your trips must also start from and end in the UK. One-way travel cover is for people who are emigrating or going abroad to work and don’t know if or when they’ll return to the UK.

Compare travel insurance

It’s easy to find and compare travel insurance policies with MoneySuperMarket. We don’t offer one-way travel cover, but you can take out a competitive one-way policy with one of our preferred partners.

Alternatively, use our comparison tool to find a standard travel insurance provider that offers the level of cover you need at a good price. Then contact the company and ask if it can provide a one-way policy offering similar cover.

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