Should you get single trip or annual travel insurance?

Fact Checked

If you are heading off on holiday, you’ll need to choose between a single trip or annual travel insurance policy. But what is the difference, and which is right for you? Here is how to find out.

Share this guide

 When comparing travel insurance policies, you’ll be asked whether you want to buy single trip cover or an annual policy. Both options have pros and cons, so it’s important to consider which one best suits your needs before purchasing. This guide runs through how both types of cover work to help you decide.

What is single trip travel insurance?

Single trip cover 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. If you’re planning to visit more than one destination in one trip, make sure you include all the sites.

Cover will usually include medical expenses, emergency repatriation, holiday cancellation and lost or stolen luggage and possessions.

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, annual travel insurance 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 a choice between:

  • Europe

  • Worldwide, excluding the USA, Canada and all Caribbean islands

  • Worldwide, including the USA, Canada and all Caribbean islands

It’s important to select your options carefully as 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.

Be aware 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.

However, other policies offer periods of just 10 days or up to 90 days, so check the policy carefully before you take it out.

Case study – Fatema's story

"I let my travel insurance policy lapse last year as I wasn’t travelling anywhere because of Covid. But hopefully, I can start travelling again soon and I’ll make sure I’m covered with a new travel insurance policy."
Fatema, West Yorkshire

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

Is annual travel insurance cheaper than single trip cover?

This will depend on how many trips you make per year. If you know you will only go on one or two holidays abroad in a 12-month period, a single trip policy will most likely be the best option.

However, if you take several trips abroad each year, an annual multi-trip policy could be cheaper. Always compare both options to be sure.

What do single and annual travel insurance cover?

Both types of travel insurance policy should cover:

  • Medical expenses

  • Holiday cancellation

  • Baggage and personal possessions

  • Personal money

  • Emergency repatriation

  • Personal liability 

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.

What is travel insurance?

Other factors to consider

When comparing both annual and single trip travel insurance, you must check exactly what is and isn’t covered and keep the following in mind:

  • Winter sports: Adding winter sports cover to an annual policy can be more expensive than getting single trip policies, especially if you only go skiing once. Here is what winter sports insurance covers.

  • Pre-existing medical conditions: You must declare any conditions when you apply. Annual cover that includes pre-existing medical conditions can be expensive, so check to see if it is cheaper to get individual single trip policies each time you go away. Find out how pre-existing conditions affect your travel insurance here.

  • Your age: Many insurers will not offer annual travel insurance for travellers over 75 or 80 years old, so you will need to get single trip cover which often has no age limit. Here is how to find travel insurance as an older traveller.

Should you get a single trip or annual policy?

This will depend on your 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. You will also 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.

For all your travel essentials in one place, visit our Travel Hub.

If you have a pre-existing condition, you can still get a quote through These conditions could include cancer, stroke, serious heart, respiratory and terminal conditions.
Some insurers might not cover you if you already have a serious medical condition, or if you have a number of conditions. Others might only offer insurance at a much higher price. If you're unable to find suitable cover, the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has also set up a directory of insurers willing to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions.
You can contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) or you can telephone 0800 138 7777.

Make sure you get the best possible cover when you go away by comparing travel insurance deals. You can find the cover you need at the right price whatever your travel plans.

About Matt Fernell

View Matt Fernell's full biography here or visit the press centre for our latest news.