Once you’ve decided to buy travel insurance, the next logical question is should you buy a single or multi-trip policy? There are a number of factors to consider, but the primary factor is the frequency with which you travel. We’ll discuss that and other factors to consider such as destination, extras like winter sports and convenience, to help you decide which is the most economical route for you.
How Many Times a Year do You Travel?
On average, if you travel 2 or more times a year then an annual, multi-trip policy will save you money on your insurance premium. This is because multi-trip policies cost on average 2X a 7-day single-trip policy, as you can see in the chart below. The frequency of your trips is by far the largest deciding factor when comparing single and multi-trip policies.
Where do you Go?
While on average, travelling twice a year is more economical on a multi-tip policy than buying two single-trip policies, the breakeven analysis changes a bit when destinations are taken into account. This is particularly true for those travelling to Europe only.
When it comes Europe-only travel, a multi-trip policy costs 2.4X a single-trip policy. As a result, those travelling exactly twice a year to Europe are likely to pay less for travel insurance by purchasing two single-trip policies, rather than one annual multi-trip policy.
The most common way in which insurance companies break up geographies is: Europe, Worldwide excluding the USA & Canada (and maybe some islands like the Caribbean) and finally Worldwide including the USA & Canada. In the table below, you can see how the breakeven between single and multi-trip policies differs by destination.
Should You Buy Single or Multi-Trip? Depends How Often You Travel
|Average Single-Trip Policy Cost
|Average Multi-Trip Policy Cost
|Breakeven Number of Trips
|Worldwide excluding USA & Canada
|Worldwide including USA & Canada
Should You Buy Single or Multi-Trip? Depends on the Length of Your Trip
Interestingly, if you are taking only one trip in a year but it is on the longer side, say 20-30 days, then it may come out cheaper to buy an annual multi-trip policy than a single-trip policy.
When it comes to pricing single-trip policies, insurers typically charge according to trip duration—the longer the trip, the higher the premium. This type of pricing is quite logical, because the longer you are away, the more likely you are to have an incident and make a claim.
In fact, prices on single-trip policies increase so dramatically that a 20-day single trip costs nearly the same as an annual policy in some cases. In the chart below you can see how 7-day and 20-day single policies compare to the cost of an annual multi-trip policy.
Extras like Winter Sports
Usually, the add-on cost of travel insurance extras is lower for a single-trip policy than an annual multi-trip policy. The is one major exception is Winter Sports. Adding winter sports to your travel insurance actually costs less on an annual policy on average. There is a bit of inconsistency in how insurers price the winter sports add on, so be sure to check both single and multi-trip policies before you decide—even if you’re only travelling once in the year.
The average cost of travel insurance in the UK varies significantly by these factors (e.g., frequency of travel, destination and extras) so be sure to consider which features you need, and which you don't.