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Single trip versus annual multi-trip cover

Written by: Russell Wallace | Travel Insurance Expert
Last updated: 14 May 2024 | Created: 19 June 2017

How to decide what’s the best type of travel insurance for you

A calendar used to decide single trip versus annual multi-trip coverWhy do we buy travel insurance?

According to many studies, including one by the US Travel Insurance Association, the main reasons why holidaymakers buy travel insurance is to give them peace of mind; provide protection against unexpected emergencies; and to avoid losing the money they invested in their trip.

But when deciding which type of policy to choose for your specialist travel insurance, you might still ask yourself  one question: “should I pick single trip or annual multi-trip cover?” 

We’ll be making the comparison easier for you by debating single trip versus annual multi-trip cover.

What is the Difference?

Annual multi-trip cover

An annual multi-trip policy will cover you for 12 months, which can start up to 31 days in advance of buying the cover.

For most policies, you can take any number of trips during the year. You can even return to the UK and leave again on the same day. Rather than needing to tell us exactly where you’ll be, you only need to select your preferred region of cover. However, there are restrictions on the length of time you can be away for any one trip. You can see the maximum trip duration for each of our providers here.

Primarily, you have three regions to choose from: Europe, Worldwide excluding North America, and Worldwide including North America.

Single trip cover

A single trip policy covers you for one holiday on selected dates. Whereas you need to select a region of cover for an annual multi-trip policy,  on a single trip policy you can note the specific destination(s) you will be going to.

Cancellation cover always begins on the date you buy the policy – unless you’ve chosen to exclude it.

You can still go to multiple countries; as long as you leave home and return to home just once it’s still considered to be a single trip.

Whats the best?

Good question. And it will depend on your specific needs. Here are some important pointers to consider:

Pro’s for a single trip

  • Single trip policies are often cheaper unless you’re travelling multiple times throughout the year. Particularly, if you are travelling to a more expensive region just once. For example, if you’re travelling to the USA for one trip, and France twice in the next 12 months. It may still be cheaper to get a single trip to the USA, rather than an annual multi-trip policy which covers North America for the whole year.
  • Being able to select a specific destination can also reduce your premium. For example, if you are travelling to Cornwall, you can select the ‘UK’ rather ‘Europe’.
  • If you’re travelling for a long period of time, let’s say 90 days, a single trip policy will nearly always be the best option.
  •  Travel insurance covers you for events outside of your control. But if you decide you simply no longer want to go on holiday, you would not be able to claim for cancellation. For example, if you bought an annual multi-trip policy on the basis you would use it for three trips in the year, but after the first holiday decide you’d rather stay at home, there is not an automatic refund on your policy if you cancel it.  With single trip cover, you are only purchasing cover for each holiday as you need it.

Pro’s for an annual multi-trip

  • If you’re travelling to the same region,  you will generally pay lower premiums for an annual policy compared to buying multiple single trip policies. Usually, an annual multi-trip policy starts to become more cost effective when you are travelling three or more times in a 12 month period. However, this rule can be affected by how long you are travelling for. For example, if you are travelling for 45 days each time for two trips, an annual multi-trip policy could still be cheaper.
  • Having an annual multi-trip policy gives your holiday plans greater flexibility. Rather than needing to tell us exactly where you’ll be, you only need to select your preferred region of cover.
  • You may be able to change your destination on a single trip policy if the Underwriter approves. But on annual cover, you can change where you’re travelling and when at any time. Even if its further afield, we can re-quote your region of cover.

Equal benefits

  • All of our providers offer both single and annual multi-trip policies so there is no change to the key levels of cover available; such as medical expenses and cancellation – the amount you can claim for remains the same. Also, the same variety of Optional Extras – such as Winter Sports – can be added to both single trip and annual multi-trip cover.

A conclusion on single trip versus annual multi-trip cover

When the debate is finished on the positives and negatives of both policy types, the deciding factor will always be your holiday plans. Take your time to consider your travel plans for the next 12 months, and use our quote comparison tool to find the best policy for you!


Holiday makers who have decided on single trip versus annual multi-trip cover