If you travel numerous times throughout the year, annual travel insurance (also commonly known as multi-trip travel insurance or annual multi-trip travel insurance) can be a more convenient and usually more affordable option than purchasing multiple single trip travel insurance policies.
Keep reading and we’ll tell you everything you need to know to find a policy that works for you and how you can save on your policy.
Annual travel insurance is travel insurance that offers you cover for every trip you take in the duration of a 12-month period. Whilst single strip travel insurance only provides cover for a single trip, annual travel policies cover you for an unlimited number of journeys for the whole year after purchase. Here are some of the key benefits of investing in an annual policy:
Covers for a whole year. You’ll be able to take as many trips as you like or need to for 12 months, provided you stay within the maximum agreed durations, which can be between 15 to 45 days for each trip. This information is outlined in the policy disclosure statement (PDS).
Cuts costs. Depending on the number of trips you need to take, annual travel insurance can save you money.
More convenient. You won’t have to worry about applying for a new policy each time you travel.
Travel whenever you want. If you feel the urge to travel at a moment’s notice, an annual travel insurance policy gives you one less thing to think about.
Why should I consider it?
It’s really quite simple. If you’re a frequent traveller, annual travel insurance is usually a substantially cheaper and less annoying option than needing to buy a new policy with each trip you take.
It’s important to note that premiums do vary depending on the insurer and the level of cover you choose. However, if you take two or more trips abroad per year, annual cover will often work out a more cost-effective choice than single-trip cover. That means you can have more spending money for your trip, or maybe a few extra pennies to put towards your next escape.
What’s the difference between single-trip and multi-trip insurance?
For the majority of us, purchasing a standard travel policy will do the job. If you’re lucky enough to go away twice a year or more, it makes more sense to invest in an annual cover policy that applies for multiple trips. The main differences between annual and single-trip policies are:
Annual travel insurance is an annual policy covers you for an unlimited number of individual trips to any destination for a 12-month period. The only problem is that the duration of these individual trips is limited to the maximum single trip duration. This is specified on your Certificate of Insurance and can be anywhere from 15 up to 90 days.
Single trip travel insurance covers you for a single journey. This trip can contain multiple destinations, however, the destinations must be part of one consecutive trip. Your journey is generally considered complete when you return to the UK. In general, you’ll be able to get single trip cover that lasts anywhere between one and 540 days.
The other distinct difference between single and annual travel insurance policies is the treatment of pre-existing conditions. The majority of travel insurance providers don’t offer annual policies to those with a pre-existing condition. Other than that, the cover offered by annual policies are incredibly similar to a single-trip comprehensive policy.
What else do I need to know?
There are a number of key restrictions you need to be aware of before buying multi-trip travel insurance:
Trip duration limits. Annual travel insurance covers an unlimited number of trips, however there are limits to the maximum duration of each individual period of travel. This limit differs depending on the insurer, and you’ll often be offered several options to opt for. For example, you may be able to choose a maximum individual trip limit of 15, 30, 60 or even 90 days.
Business vs leisure. Some policies outline different duration limits for business and leisure trips, so make sure you take the time read the fine print closely. An example of this is: you may find that you’re covered for leisure trips of up to 90 days, but the policy may restrict your cover for business trips to a maximum of 30 days.
Age limits. Multi-trip travel insurance usually has tighter age restrictions than single-trip travel insurance. There are policies that will only cover travellers under 60 years of age, yet, others will offer annual cover people up to 70 or even 80 years. Again, read the PDS before buying to be 100% sure that you’ll be covered for the full 12 months.
Pre-existing conditions. As a general rule, insurance providers are quite reluctant to offer people with pre-existing conditions annual travel insurance, so if you do suffer from health problems it’s probably an easier option to take out single-trip cover.
What won’t be covered by my policy?
There are always restrictions when it comes to insurance policies, so it’s vital you read the fine print in detail. Typical multi-trip travel insurance exclusions include:
Do not travel warnings. If the country you’re planning to visit has a ‘do not travel’ warning, DO NOT TRAVEL. The UK Government gives us these warnings for a reason. If you choose to travel to countries and ignore the given warnings, your insurance will be invalid.
Loss of personal property and valuables due to negligence. If you lose personal items and valuables due to your own negligence, your insurance will not cover the cost of replacements. This includes situations like leaving luggage or valuables unattended or leaving your accommodations unlocked.
Extreme sports or dangerous activities. If you are injured due to participation in extreme sports or other dangerous activities like paragliding, scuba diving or base jumping, your medical fees will not be covered by your annual travel insurance provider.
Claims related to drug or alcohol consumption. Any claim that is the direct result of alcohol or drugs will not be covered by your annual travel insurance policy.
Illness or injury from pre-existing conditions. If you fail to disclose details of previous injuries or existing conditions, it may lead to your policy being rejected in the event of a claim that is a result of either.
Elective surgery. Usually, providers will not offer cover for any elective medical, dental, surgical or cosmetic procedure. However, there are some providers that do offer cover for overseas dental surgery due to it’s recent growth in popularity.
Unlawful activity. You’re not covered for any claim that is the result of you breaking the law.
Mental illness. Insurance providers generally don’t pay out for claims arising from mental stress, anxiety or depression.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Cover is not provided for STDs, infections or viruses. Always use protection.
Pregnancy. Unfortunately, insurers often do not provide cover for pregnancy or childbirth complications. The advice on flying when pregnant is don’t fly past 37 weeks if you’re carrying one baby, and don’t fly past 32 weeks if you’re carrying twins.
Paid work. Cover is not provided for any injury sustained resulting from paid work whilst abroad. In these circumstances it’s expected that compensation should be sought from the employer.
Annual travel insurance pros and cons
Convenient for business travellers
Useful for those who regularly travel on short notice
Cheaper than a single policy if you travel often
Similar level of cover as single policies
Covers you for an unlimited number of trips over a 12-month period
Hard to find cover if you have pre-existing conditions
Questions you might have about annual travel insurance
You’ll be able to take an unlimited amount of trips on a single policy as long as your stay does not exceed the pre-specified maximum single trip length.
Yes, there are some providers that offer annual travel insurance policies for families.
Sometimes you may find that you need additional cover for individual trips. For example, Winter sports cover isn’t necessarily included in an annual policy. Some providers will allow you to add extra cover to your policy, however you may find it easier to take out a single trip policy to tailor the cover you.
Not usually. Most providers don’t offer annual insurance policies for group travel.
*Disclaimer: Please take reasonable care to answer all the questions honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t answer the questions correctly, your policy may be cancelled, or your claim rejected or not fully paid.
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Use this page to find out more about M&S Bank's travel insurance policies to see if their cover is right for your next getaway.
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