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Annual travel insurance - also known as multi-trip insurance - covers you for all the trips you're planning on taking over the course of a year.
Single-trip travel insurance, on the other hand, only covers you for one specific holiday.
If you've got more than one trip planned this year, it makes sense to look at annual travel insurance and compare it against single-trip options.
It could save you money, and time too, as you'll only have to go through the process of buying cover once a year.
Depending on where you're planning on going during the year, you can pick from three types of annual cover:
Most annual travel policies will usually include:
It depends on the insurer and your policy but in general, standard annual multi-trip travel insurance won’t cover you for:
There are a number of advantages to taking out a multi-trip policy including:
You may want to consider the following before taking the plunge and picking a policy:
Not all insurers will cover you if you have a pre-existing medical condition like cancer or heart disease. But there are insurers that will, though premiums will be more expensive than on a standard policy.
It’s important that you declare any pre-existing conditions to your insurer. If you don’t, they’ll be unlikely to pay out for any claim related to your medical condition, such as medical expenses or having to cancel or cut short a trip.
Remember that you’ll need to declare any change of health to your insurer if it happens during your policy period. So if you’re being investigated for, or develop, a new health condition within your period of annual cover, you must inform your provider to ensure they can still cover you. If they can, you may need to pay an extra premium to be covered.
For people with serious medical conditions who can’t find cover, the government’s MoneyHelper service has launched a directory of insurance providers that may be able to give you a quote.
There are lots of optional extras you can add to a travel insurance policy, including:
Extra protection when you’re on the slopes
Includes cover for loss, theft or damage to your golf equipment
Extra protection for theft or damage to things like your tablet, mobile phone and laptop
Includes cover if you’re confined to your cabin, miss excursions or if there’s a change of itinerary
Extra cover if you intend on taking part in a hazardous activity, includes things like kite surfing, hang-gliding or gorge walking
If you can’t travel or continue a trip because the FCDO advises against all, or all but essential travel to your destination due to an unforeseen incident. This may include events like earthquakes or hurricanes at your destination, or if a strike affects your means of transport
Compare quotes, cover levels and prices for annual travel insurance
Opt for policies with lower cover levels, but you need to ensure you’re adequately covered. For example, if you paid £3,000 for your holiday, choosing a policy that pays out just £2,000 in cancellation cover would leave you out of pocket
Choose a policy which has a higher excess (the amount you’d need to pay if you make a claim), but you need to be sure you could afford to pay it
Only pay for what you need - don’t add optional extras unless necessary. For example, instead of adding gadget cover, check you’re not already covered on your home insurance
Usually, there are no restrictions on how many times you can go away on an annual travel insurance policy, as long as each trip doesn’t exceed the maximum duration allowed on that particular policy.
For example, a policy may allow individual trips that last up to 21 days, 31 days or 60 days. If you’re taking any trips that last longer than the maximum duration allowed, you’d need to take out long-stay insurance.
Some annual policies may also have a limit on the total number of days you can be away within the policy year - for example 183 days in a 365-day period.
Many insurers offer three different levels of cover such as ‘economy, standard and premier,’ or ‘bronze, silver and gold’, for example.
Typically they’ll all provide cover for the same things, but the maximum payout available will increase depending on the level.
Although the cost of taking out an annual multi-trip policy will be more expensive than a single-trip policy initially, it normally works out cheaper in the long run if you take two or more trips a year.
With an annual policy you can usually take as many trips as you like including impromptu breaks away, and be covered for all of them.
However, there are instances where single-trip insurance might work out cheaper, even if you do go away a couple of times a year.
For example, adding winter sports cover to an annual policy can be more expensive than getting a single-trip policy with sports cover, especially if you only intend on skiing once a year.
You can compare quotes for single-trip and annual insurance with us, to see which works out cheaper for you.
It’s best to take out a policy as soon as you’ve booked one of your trips or have started paying for it. That way, if something happens, like you fall ill or suffer a bereavement and you need to cancel, you’ll be covered.
You can cancel your travel insurance within 14 days of receiving your policy documents (the cooling-off period) and will be entitled to a full refund, as long as you haven’t travelled or made a claim already.
If you cancel after this time, you may not be entitled to a refund.
A Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) gives you access to state-funded healthcare for free or at the same rate as a resident while in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. It’s replacing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), but your current EHIC remains valid until the expiry date on the card. You can apply for a new card on the NHS website.
A GHIC/EHIC card isn’t a replacement for travel insurance, though. It won't cover repatriation back to the UK, lost luggage or cancelled flights.
Even if you have travel insurance in place, you should take your EHIC or GHIC away with you. Some insurers will insist on this as part of the conditions of their policies.
If you go away more than a couple of times a year, it can work out cheaper to buy annual multi-trip cover rather than taking out single-trip policies every time you travel.
It can also save time and hassle as you only need to book insurance once a year.
Your trips in the UK will also usually be covered too.
Usually, you can go away as many times as you like, as long as each trip doesn’t exceed the maximum duration allowed on your particular policy.
Many multi-trip policies also have a limit on the total number of days you can be away through the year - perhaps 180 days in a 365-day period.
It depends on the activities you intend to do and your particular policy.
Most will cover low-risk activities as standard - like fishing, rowing, tennis or squash.
But if you want to have a go at something more dangerous - like paragliding or abseiling - you’ll usually have to pay for extra cover.
There may also be terms and conditions you’d need to adhere to for your policy to be valid, such as wearing pads and helmets if you’re rollerblading or skateboarding.
If you’re skiing or snowboarding, you’ll need a specialist winter sports policy. And you can buy golf travel cover if you’re heading for the greens.
Check your cover is adequate for every trip you take through the year, depending on what activities you intend doing.
An annual policy for either European or worldwide destinations will usually cover your UK trips as well. Just make sure to check for any exclusions around UK travel. For example, a policy might state that your UK trip must be for a minimum of two nights to be covered.
Your annual travel policy will normally cover lost or stolen baggage, belongings and money up to a maximum amount. There’ll usually be a limit on the amount you can claim for any single item and valuables. Policies also impose a limit on the maximum amount they’ll pay out for lost or stolen cash and travellers’ cheques.
If you’re taking valuable items, you can protect things like your smartphone or tablet with gadget cover. Or valuables may already be covered on your home contents insurance if you have personal possessions away from home cover.
Some travel insurance companies offer student discounts or specialise in insuring students.
Your best bet is to compare a wide range of cover, so you get the right policy for your travel plans.
It’ll depend on the terms of your policy. But your insurer will have a limit on how long any one trip can be – often 21 days, 31 days or 60 days, depending on your level of cover. If you have a holiday planned for longer, some annual policies allow you to buy a ‘trip duration extension’ where you can increase the maximum consecutive days per journey.
Most annual policies provide cancellation cover if you can’t travel because you’ve contracted Covid-19. Your medical expenses abroad will also be covered if you catch Covid-19 on your trip, plus repatriation costs if necessary. Any additional travel or accommodation expenses you incur due to a Covid-19 diagnosis may also be covered.
However, very few providers offer cancellation cover due to government travel restrictions or a lockdown.
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Page last reviewed: 24 March 2023
Page reviewed by Jasmine Hembury