An annual travel insurance policy lets you take multiple trips to multiple destinations across a 12-month period.

You don’t need to let your insurance provider know every time you travel. Once your insurance is in place, you can jet off around the world at your leisure.

If you’re someone who regularly travels abroad, then an annual travel insurance policy could save you time and money.

With annual travel insurance, you don’t need to find a new insurance policy for every trip you take, which is great from a time-saving perspective. One policy will cover you for all the trips you take in a year.

Plus, if you find the best annual travel insurance deal you can, then you’re likely to pay a lot less than if you were buying lots of single-trip policies. Essentially, the more you travel, the more cost effective it turns out to be.

Do you need an annual policy?

Annual travel insurance isn’t a necessity, but it might be worth looking into, depending on how many trips you’ll take during the year.

If you’re only going on one summer holiday, a single trip policy is likely to be the cheaper option. But, if you’ll be going away twice or more, annual travel insurance might be the best way forward. That’s because one policy will cover you for all your trips.

When it comes to annual travel insurance, UK providers often have good deals available, and you could save money. Shop around to find the best annual travel insurance policy for your needs.

The main benefits of annual travel insurance are:

  • It’s easier because you don’t have to keep arranging single-trip cover

  • You can go away with no planning needed, knowing you’ll be protected

  • It can work out cheaper

  • It’s suitable for most of the world, and you can tailor it according to where you’re going

  • It’s flexible, so you can tailor how much cover you have for different scenarios.

This guide explains how to choose between an annual and single trip policy.

Where can you travel to?

It depends on your policy. But most annual travel insurance, UK wide, gives you the choice of three territories to travel to. These include travelling to:

  • Europe

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

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

Your insurance policy will cover travel to countries within the territories you’ve chosen.

Before you travel, you should also check current government advice for the location you’re travelling to. If you travel against the UK Government’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice, you could invalidate your insurance.

Each trip you take will have a duration limit. That means you’ll only be covered for a certain number of days per trip you go on.

Most policies offer trip durations of at least 30 days. The very best annual travel insurance policies offer as much as 90 days' cover per trip.

Some policies also set a total trip duration limit, for example a total of 180 days over the whole year. This means all your trips during the year mustn’t add up to more than 180 days.

Every annual travel insurance policy is different. But, generally, annual travel insurance covers the same things as single trip policies. This includes:

  • Medical expenses: This covers you for any medical treatment you need while you’re abroad. If you’ve got pre-existing conditions, tell the insurer about these when you take out your insurance.

  • Cancellation and delay: This covers you if you need to cancel your trip, or if your flight is significantly delayed. Check that you’ve got enough insurance to cover both the flight and accommodation if you can’t go.

  • Baggage and personal money: This cover is for lost baggage and stolen belongings. Make you have enough cover to replace everything you’re taking, in case the worst happens and it all goes missing in transit.

  • Repatriation: The covers the cost of getting you home if you’re unwell.

The very best annual travel insurance policy options may also include:

  • Passport cover: This would cover the costs you incur if your passport gets lost or stolen on your travels.

  • Extreme sports, winter sports or water sports cover: This covers you for any sporting activities you might do on your travels. For example, this could include skiing or surfing.

  • Medical cover for pre-existing conditions: You’d need to talk to your insurance provider about these, to see if you can get cover.

Here’s what a travel insurance policy should cover.

All annual travel insurance policies come with exclusions. However, you can often buy add-on cover for these, to bolster your policy.

Common exclusions include:

  • Some high-risk sports such as winter sports or extreme sports

  • Medical treatment for pre-existing conditions

  • Claims for trips taken against Government advice

  • Claims linked to drugs or alcohol

  • Strikes, if these were public knowledge when you took out insurance

  • Claims resulting from not getting the vaccinations you needed for your trip.

One of the main disadvantages can be that age limits are sometimes lower than they would be for single-trip insurance. So, if you’re older, it can be trickier to get a policy. The other disadvantage is that if you buy annual travel insurance, but only end up going on one trip abroad, you could pay over the odds for insurance.

As with any kind of insurance, the cheapest policy isn’t necessarily the best annual travel insurance. What you need to do is find the right level of cover for the best price you can.

First, you’ll need to think about what level of cover you want. How much baggage cover do you need? How much medical cover do you want? Are you looking for a policy that covers the cost of repatriation?

Once you know what you’re looking for, you can get annual travel insurance quotes using our comparison. Then, from those like-for-like quotes, you can pick the cheapest option.

If you just go for the cheapest you find without checking the policy carefully, you might not get the best annual travel insurance available. You could discover, when something goes wrong, that you didn’t have enough cover. If this happened, you could find yourself out-of-pocket.