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Annual travel insurance

Written by Kasey Cassells, Senior content editor

Edited by Florence Codjoe, Content Editor, 22 June 2020

Annual travel insurance (or multi-trip travel insurance) covers you for several trips each year, whether you are travelling in the UK, or for travel abroad. It's also known as yearly travel insurance, because it covers any travel within the 12 month period for which you are insured.

Annual travel insurance

It's also known as yearly travel insurance, because it covers any travel within the 12 month period for which you are insured. The alternative, single trip travel insurance, will only cover you for one specific trip.

Read our guide to learn more about annual travel insurance, and how to get the best deal.

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Who buys annual travel insurance?

The market for yearly travel insurance is quite wide – it could be couples who want cover for multi trip travel insurance because they enjoy short breaks in European cities. Or it could be annual family travel insurance for families who like to go on a couple of foreign holidays a year.

Bear in mind that the best annual travel insurance or annual multi trip insurance is not necessarily the cheapest. It's the best option for the trips that you are planning to make.

For example, if you're looking for worldwide annual travel insurance, then you need to ensure that there is sufficient medical cover included in your policy. Visits to countries, such as the United States, can lead to high medical bills if you need medical care, which can cost tens of thousands of pounds.

If you're only travelling within Europe, then you can specify you want a European only annual travel insurance policy when you are comparing cover.

You can find good value, cheap annual travel insurance by using an insurance comparison service, which shows you deals from a panel of different multi trip travel insurance providers.

Is it worth buying an annual travel insurance policy right now?

Before the coronavirus pandemic, annual travel insurance was great for people who made a lot of short trips abroad – for example a couple of foreign holidays and some long weekend breaks.

It also meant that you knew you had travel insurance in place each time you wanted to travel, and so it meant your travel plans could be spontaneous and you could book a holiday at the last minute.

Since March 2020, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a stop to all but essential travel, and so it's unclear at the moment how much use you would get from an annual travel insurance policy, if you were to buy a new one right now.

However, when the UK government allows holiday trips to start again, then it may be the best value travel insurance option for you or your family in the future, depending on what travel restrictions are in place, and which countries begin to welcome British tourists.

Much depends on how the coronavirus pandemic progresses worldwide, and what restrictions on travel continue in the UK and elsewhere. At the moment, the situation is unclear and is changing rapidly.

Will annual travel insurance cover me for the coronavirus pandemic?

If you were to buy a new annual travel insurance policy it would not cover you for cancellation or disruption due to COVID-19. A lot of travel insurance companies have stopped selling travel insurance policies until the situation becomes clearer, and the UK government lifts its current travel ban on all but essential journeys abroad.

Travel insurance policies still cover medical expenses and repatriation (bringing you home) if you're ill or injured during your holiday. This would include if you caught COVID-19 when you were away and needed medical care.

However, the government has advised against all but essential travel, and so if you were travelling against the advice of the Foreign & Commonwealth office, your overseas travel insurance policy would be invalid and you would not be able to make a claim.

How do I buy annual travel insurance policy?

If you're using a travel insurance comparison site, you will be shown a number of options to consider.

Once you have this series of annual travel insurance quotes, you can buy your annual travel insurance by clicking through to the provider who best meets your needs. Bear in mind that when you are buying annual travel insurance, you need to declare any “pre-existing conditions” that might affect your policy. These are medical conditions for which you're currently receiving treatment or medication, or from which you are recovering.

If you're looking for annual travel insurance over 65, or annual travel insurance over 70, you may find that your options for cover are more limited, and the number of insurers who are willing to offer you an annual travel insurance policy may be smaller. However, there are still specialist providers who will be willing to provide yearly travel insurance for older customers, or for those who have pre-existing medical conditions, but who want travel cover which will last a year.

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Which is better - annual or single trip travel insurance?

If you travel a lot and you're looking for a policy that will cover you for a number of trips abroad within a 12 month period, then an annual policy might be the best option for you.

If you're only planning one foreign trip, then you will find a single trip travel insurance policy to be the best value.

Annual travel insurance policy purchased before the start of the pandemic

If you bought a yearly travel insurance policy before the middle of March, you will still be covered for both medical and cancellation or disruption claims due to COVID-19. Your policy should cover you if you have had to cancel your trip and you have moved your travel plans to a later date. This is provided the destination is the same, and the travel company is the one that you had originally booked with. You may not be covered for any new trips you book for later in the year, except for medical claims.

It is best to check with your travel insurance provided to see what they will cover, and what is excluded. Many insurers have details of the latest updates on their web pages.

When travel restrictions are eased, what are the advantages of getting annual travel insurance?

Compared to single trip cover, multi-trip travel insurance can be:

  • cheaper - if you go on holiday more than once a year, an annual travel insurance policy may be cheaper than buying multiple single trip policies.

  • more convenient - you don't have to arrange a new policy every time you travel;

  • there when you need it - if you decide to take a last minute holiday, you can rest assured that you're already covered.

Is annual travel insurance good for long trips away?

Multi-trip travel insurance policies will usually have a limit on the number of days one trip can last, or a maximum number of days they will cover. This is usually 30-31 days, but this can differ by policy.

So if you're a jet-setter who's on holiday more than you're at home, you might have to take out specialist backpacker cover or consider single trip cover each time you travel.

How much does annual travel insurance cost?

Just like single trip cover, the cost of multi-trip travel insurance can vary greatly depending on many factors, including:

  • Your age

  • Where you are travelling

  • The type of policy you choose (single, joint or family cover)

  • Pre-existing medical conditions

  • Excess

  • Cover limits

  • Extra cover for sports or activities

The easiest way to find out how much your policy will cost is by doing a quick quote online. But as a guide, an annual travel insurance policy could cost just a little more than cover for a single trip, meaning it could be very economical if you go away a few times in a year.

What is the best way to choose an annual travel insurance policy?

While annual travel insurance can help you save money compared to buying lots of single trip policies, it's important to find the right cover and not just base your choice on price.

Here's a list of things to check before you buy your travel insurance policy:

  • Do you need worldwide or European cover? (You may be able to extend European cover to worldwide later if you need to.)

  • How many days' travel will you be covered for in total, and for each individual trip?

  • What’s the maximum amount of money you can claim if your baggage is lost or stolen? (The level of baggage cover.)

  • What’s the maximum amount of money you can claim for valuables, e.g cameras and jewellery? Is this limit high enough to cover your valuables?

  • Does your home insurance cover your belongings when you’re away from home? If so, you might not need cover for your valuables and baggage.

  • What’s the maximum amount of money you can claim if your cash is lost or stolen?

  • Will you get compensation if your holiday is cancelled or cut short?

  • Have you declared any pre-existing medical conditions? (If you don’t declare any illnesses your claim could be rejected.)

  • Is the policy open to people of your age?

  • Are there any exclusions?

  • What’s the excess? (The excess is a set amount that you’ll have to pay if you make a claim. A higher excess could mean your policy is cheaper, but you would have to pay more if you need to claim.)

  • Does it cover you for any activities you might want to do, like skiing, rafting or diving? Even if you don't plan to do these activities now, bear in mind you may want cover for later trips

Most of this information is available when you get a quote online, so you can easily find the right policy for your needs.

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