If you travel more than once a year, annual multi-trip travel insurance can save you time, money and hassle.
An annual policy, sometimes called a multi-trip policy, covers you for as many trips as you can fit into an entire 12-month period and you only need to get a policy once, which means you’ll have more time and money left over to plan your next holiday.
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What is annual multi-trip travel insurance?
An annual travel insurance policy is one that covers you for an unlimited number of trips during a 12-month period, unlike a single-trip policy. Although you can go on as many trips as you’d like, there’s usually a maximum trip duration of anywhere from 21-93 days. That means none of your individual trips can last longer than the timeframe listed on your policy.
Is an annual policy worth it?
If you travel frequently, an annual travel insurance policy can save a lot of precious money, time and hassle. That makes it easily worth it in our opinion. Here’s how it can help:
- Money. An annual policy can usually save you money if you’re taking three or more trips per year but depending on where you are going, it’s possible to save even if you only travel twice.
- Time. You don’t have to fill out new forms for every new trip.
- Hassle. If you want to travel at the drop of a hat, you can just pick up and go – with one less thing to worry about.
How is multi-trip travel insurance different?
It’s true that an annual policy offers similar cover to a single-trip policy. However, there are some differences – here’s what to look out for:
Trip duration limits. Most insurers place a limit on the maximum duration of each individual trip. We’ve seen limits anywhere from 21-93 days and in many cases you can choose your limit (for example, 30, 45 or 60 days).
Business vs leisure. Some policies have different duration limits for business trips vs leisure trips. For example, the same policy might have a 90-day limit on leisure trips but only a 30-day limit on business trips.
Age limits. Annual policies sometimes have tighter age restrictions than single-trip policies, meaning past a certain age you might be eligible for an insurer’s single-trip policy but not their annual one. If that’s the case, you’ll need to find an insurer with a higher age restriction (if you’re under 100, you should be able to find something).
Domestic cover. Some annual policies will only cover international trips and not domestic ones. However, there are plenty of policies that cover both domestic and international travel and you can find plenty on Finder.
What does annual travel insurance cover?
Multi-trip travel insurance covers all the same things as a single-trip policy. This means you can expect cover for:
- Medical expenses including evacuation. If you get sick or injured while overseas, your policy will cover the cost of your ambulance, hospital bed, surgery fees and evacuation to the nearest hospital (or back to New Zealand if necessary). Most annual policies offer unlimited medical for international trips, which helps with peace of mind knowing you’re covered no matter where you go.
- Additional emergency expenses. This covers the additional travel and accommodation expenses related to emergencies outside of your control, like becoming medically unfit to travel or the unexpected death of a close relative back home. Most policies will also pay for someone in New Zealand to travel to you if you’re hospitalised overseas.
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits. This covers your non-refundable pre-paid travel expenses and any cancellation fees if you have to cancel your trip due to unexpected events outside of your control.
- Luggage and personal belongings. Covers the repair or replacement costs for luggage and personal items are lost, stolen or damaged during your trip. Some policies will pay you an emergency allowance to help you purchase essential clothing and toiletries if an airline temporarily misplaces your luggage.
- Travel delay. This pays for unexpected meal and accommodation costs when your flight or other prepaid transportation is rescheduled or delayed for a significant amount of time.
- Rental vehicle excess insurance. This brings down the unreasonably high excess car rental companies charge if you damage one of their cars. Some policies offer this for free. Others charge extra for it.
- Personal liability. This pays your legal fees and penalties if you accidentally injure someone or damage their property while travelling.
What’s not covered?
All policies have a list of exclusions, which outlines what your policy won’t cover and what situations will void your policy.
You can check out our guide to travel insurance exclusions for a thorough rundown, but here are some of the most common exclusions you’ll find:
- You’re travelling somewhere there’s a travel warning. The New Zealand Government issues advisories for a reason. If you choose to travel to these countries and ignore these warnings, your insurance will be invalid.
- You don’t take care of your belongings. Your insurer won’t pay for lost items if you weren’t careful with them. This includes leaving your luggage or valuables unattended or leaving your hotel room unlocked.
- You’re taking part in extreme or dangerous activities. Most policies won’t cover extreme sports or other dangerous activities such as base jumping or mountaineering.
- You were acting recklessly. Your insurer can deny your claim if they find you were acting recklessly at the time. This can include being drunk, being high, breaking the law or putting yourself in harm’s way.
- Illness or injury from pre-existing conditions. If you fail to disclose any pre-existing conditions>, your insurer could deny medical claims if they think the new injury or illness is related.
- You’re pregnant. Most policies will not cover childbirth at all and they’ll stop covering pregnancy-related complications up to a certain point in the pregnancy (varies from insurer to insurer). However, they will cover all unrelated medical conditions like a broken wrist for the duration of the trip.
Looking for the best annual travel insurance? Here’s how to find it
Since you’re signing up for a year’s worth of cover, it makes sense to get the best policy you can for your needs. Here’s how to find the best policy depending on which of these statements apply to you:
- You’ve got some long trips planned. Most policies set limits on the number of days you’ll be covered per individual trip. Limits can vary from 21 – 93 days depending on the insurer, the destination and the purpose of the trip (i.e. business vs. leisure). If you’ll be gone more than three weeks on any one trip, the best policy for you will be the one that offers to cover you for the whole thing.
- You’re travelling both internationally and domestically. Some policies only offer this cover for international trips and won’t apply it toward domestic ones. If you want covered internationally and domestically, the best policy for you will be one that covers both types of trips. Otherwise, you’ll have to buy separate policies, defeating the whole purpose!
- You’re a senior. Some insurers have lower age limits on their annual policies than they do on their single-trip policies. For example, they might cut you off at 64 for an annual policy but still offer you a single-trip policy until age 69. The best one for you will one that doesn’t force you into buying multiple single-trip policies throughout the year.
- You’re going on a cruise. Most annual policies don’t automatically cover you when you’re at sea, but plenty will offer to cover you for an additional fee. So if you are going cruising, the best annual policy will be one of the few that automatically covers you or one that at least offers you added cruise cover at a reasonable cost.
- You’re taking part in specialised activities. You’ll usually need extra cover if you are going skiing, golfing, trekking or taking part in any other activity that could either be considered risky or involve expensive equipment and/or access fees. The best policy for you will be one that either automatically includes cover for your chosen activity or offers it at a reasonable rate.
Seven steps for comparing annual multi-trip travel insurance
Here are seven steps to help you land the right policy at the right price.
- Decide where you’ll be travelling and for how long. You might not have all the details ironed out but there are some important details you’ll need to know like: will you be travelling internationally, domestically or both? About how long will your longest trip be?
- Run some quotes. Use our search feature above to grab dozens of quotes based on your travel details.
- Sort based on your preferences. When you get your results, sort by trip duration to find policies that are long enough to accommodate your travel plans. Look at the “age” column to make sure you’re eligible.
- Compare features. Once you’ve identified several policies that work with your travel plans, take a look at what features they offer. Since you might be booking trips months in advance, you’ll probably want to look at unlimited cancellation cover since anything can happen in a year. Not all policies offer this.
- Read the fine print. Many policies won’t automatically cover you for specific activities like skiiing, going on a cruise or trekking in certain conditions. Make sure the policies you are considering automatically cover all of your activities or at least offer to cover you at an additional yet reasonable fee.
- Look at the excess. This is the amount of money you pay out of your own pocket when you claim. It varies from policy to policy and sometimes insurers will let you increase it so that you can save on premiums.
- Look at the price. This comes last because you first need to find a few policies that offer what you need. Now that you’ve narrowed it down to a few policies, it’s safe to compare on price. Just be sure to factor in an extra costs like ski cover and cruise cover. If you’re lucky, you may even stumble upon some discounts
How much does yearly travel insurance cost?
The cost of annual travel insurance will be different for everyone since everyone’s trip details will be different and personal details like age and health will also factor in.
Frequently asked questions
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