It’s been a long time coming. But 2022 might be the year when the frequent fliers and travel hobbyists out there finally get to truly indulge their passion for adventure again. Even if you weren’t the sort of person who took multiple holidays in a single year before the pandemic, you might be feeling the pull of wanderlust now. We’ve all spent a lot of time at home and a good holiday is long overdue. Is one trip abroad going to be enough to make up for lost time?
Whatever your motives for looking forward to more than one holiday or adventure this year, you’ll want to get full cover for your travel plans. There’s still risk and uncertainty around travelling in 2022, even if things are looking a lot rosier than they have done. It still only takes a single positive COVID test to ruin everything.
Travel insurance will at least give you financial protection for late cancellations, missed flights and medical expenses overseas, as well as a host of non-COVID related benefits like lost luggage and personal belongings cover. If you plan to travel frequently, annual multi-trip travel insurance protects you for all trips within a single year on one policy, rather than having to buy insurance for every trip.
Annual travel insurance can be convenient and cost effective. However, there are some things to think about before deciding if it is the right option for you.
Multi-trip policies can be considerably more expensive if you have a medical condition
One of the big selling points of annual multi-trip travel insurance is that it can save you money compared to buying individual single trip policies every time you go away. The more you travel around the world, the more money you will save, which really helps when it comes to budgeting for holidays.
That’s not always the case if you have a pre-existing medical condition, however. Travel insurance is more expensive if you have a diagnosed condition full stop. That’s because the most expensive thing travel policies pay out on is medical care. Foreign nationals get charged for medical treatment at private rates in most countries. Travel insurance policies typically have medical payout limits in the millions of pounds to reflect how expensive this can be.
Travel insurance providers are therefore very wary about anything that could increase the likelihood of a customer making a medical claim – like having a long-term condition. Many deal with the extra risk by imposing sky-high premiums. These can be bad enough on single trip policies. But because the extra risk is multiplied further across several trips, they tend to be even more punitive on multi-trip policies. People with a medical condition often find there would be no cost benefit taking out multi-trip cover even if they went away five or six times in a single year.
So should you simply ignore annual policies if you have a medical condition? Many insurance providers shy away from the additional risk, but not all. Specialist insurers who offer tailored single trip policies for specific conditions do the same for multi-trip policies. As well as getting bespoke cover for any treatment related to your condition across multiple trips, you can still save money compared to buying single trip policies.
Think about where you want to travel
One of the attractions of annual multi-trip travel insurance is that it keeps your options open. You can book a trip at the drop of a hat and come and go as you please, safe in the knowledge you are insured for things like cancellations, lost luggage and medical expenses. However, you need to think ahead a little about where you are likely to travel to before you buy an annual policy. This is because insurers price policies according to where you travel to.
For someone from the UK, the cheapest multi-trip cover is for Europe holidays only. If you want to travel further afield, there are two types of global cover available – one that includes North America and the Caribbean and one that does not. If you categorically know you won’t be travelling to the US, Canada or the Caribbean islands in the next 12 months, policies that exclude these places are cheaper. That’s because medical care in North America is more expensive than anywhere else in the world.
Be aware of trip duration limits
Finally, a common mistake with annual multi-trip travel insurance is to treat it as an open ended pass to travel indefinitely. Yes, multi-trip policies are valid for 12 months. But that doesn’t mean you can travel for the entire 12 months and still be covered.
Multi-trip policies are not intended for long term travel. That’s a separate category of travel insurance in its own right. Annual travel insurance is designed for standard vacation-length breaks and shorter escapes. It just means you can go on more than one trip on the same policy.
Multi-trip insurance usually carries a limit on how long you can be away for at any one time, usually between 30 and 50 days. Many policies also limit the total length of time that can be spent away in a single year, often the equivalent of six months. If the sum total of the time you spent away was to go over this limit, you would no longer be covered.