Which is cheaper?

This will depend on how many trips you make. If you know you will only go on one holiday abroad then a single trip policy will be the best option.

However, if you take several trips abroad then an annual multi trip policy could be cheaper.

What is single trip travel insurance?

It is a travel insurance policy that covers you for one trip abroad.

When you apply for a single trip policy you will need to confirm the:

  • Destination

  • Start date

  • End date of your trip

You will then be covered for this destination and period only.

Single trip pros and cons

  • Can be cheaper than annual cover

  • Specific cover for your trip

  • Can have a higher maximum age than annual

  • More expensive per trip

  • Shorter term cover

  • Need a new policy each time you travel

What is annual travel insurance?

Also known as multi trip travel insurance, it covers you for every trip you take in a set period, usually 12 months.

When you apply for an annual cover quote you will need to confirm where you will be travelling. You will usually be given the choice between:

  • Europe

  • Worldwide excluding USA, Canada and all Caribbean islands

  • Worldwide including USA, Canada and all Caribbean islands

You will only be covered when you travel to countries in those locations; for example if you chose Europe and travelled to Asia you would not be covered. It can also cover any domestic trips you take within the UK.

There will be a limit on the number of days covered for each trip you take. Many policies will cover an individual trip of up to 31 days, so you would be covered for several trips of 31 days or less but not any that last 32 days or more.

Some offer periods of just 10 days or as much as 90 days so check the policy carefully before you take it out.

Annual cover pros and cons

  • Can work out cheaper per trip

  • You only need to buy one policy per year

  • Covers trips in the UK

  • Often has a lower maximum age limit

  • Cover not specific to each trip

  • Costs more if you do not travel enough

What do they cover?

Both types of travel insurance policy should cover:

  • Medical expenses

  • Cancellation

  • Baggage

  • Personal money

  • Repatriation

Check each policy carefully because not all insurers will cover the above as standard. Also check how much you are covered for; for example if your baggage is worth 2,000, make sure you are covered for at least this amount.

Find out more about what else can be covered by a policy in our guide to travel insurance.

An example of single trip vs annual cover

The table below shows travel insurance quotes* for a single person aged 30 travelling to Europe for seven days:

AnnualSingle trip (Aug)Single trip (Jan)Single trip (Nov)
44.3420.2216.8519.68
*Quote from LV= in December 2015.

In this example it will be cheaper to take out single trip policies if you plan to travel once or twice in the year:

  • Single trip policies for August and November = 20.22 + 19.68 = 39.90 - a saving of 4.44 compared to an annual policy

However if you want to go away three times in the 12 month period, an annual policy will be the better option:

  • Single trip policies for three trips = 20.22 + 16.85 + 19.68 = 56.75 - 12.41 more expensive than an annual policy

You can work out which option is cheapest by getting quotes using our comparisons for an annual policy and several single trip policies for the trips you plan to take.

Other factors to consider

Should you get a single trip or annual policy?

This will depend on your personal situation, but if you are certain you will only travel once in the next 12 months you should get a single trip policy for that holiday.

If you are unsure of how many trips you will take an annual policy may be more expensive, but it will give you the peace of mind of knowing you are covered, and you will not have to worry about taking out separate policies before you travel.

You can find out what is covered under a travel insurance policy in this guide.