More and more travellers are now relying on an annual multi-trip policy to cover their planned trips away, often as an additional benefit of an account package offered by their bank. Figures from market research by Wise Guy Reports, found that 27.6% of people covered by travel insurance last year, had it through their bank accounts.
For many people this cover is fine, albeit it may sometimes be a false economy to pay the additional account charges in order to receive this added benefit, when the cost of an Annual Multi Trip policy bought directly from a travel insurance provider, may work out more cost-effective.
You can compare the cost of both single trip and annual multi trip policies offered by a variety of insurers on Travel Supermarket. Click here.
After finding a few good price options for your individual needs, it’s a sensible idea to also look at the website for the insurance provider/s that provided a favourable quote, and take a look at the policy benefits in more detail, and see whether you need to add an Activity Pack for any sports that you plan to do, for example, or ring a Medical Screening service to declare a pre-existing medical condition.
For those that are relying on the Annual Multi Trip policy provided by their bank, or otherwise, it can often be the case that ‘one-size doesn’t fit all.’ While you may be loath to part with more of your hard-earned holiday spending money to buy a separate single-trip policy instead of/or in addition to an annual multi-trip policy, it can prove sensible in the long-run if your annual multi-trip would never be valid for the trip you have planned.
Travel insurance is the essential financial safety net that cushions the blow of the expense of unexpected medical expenses abroad, or valuable possessions that are lost or stolen, for example, so it is important that you get comprehensive cover in place, that won’t leave you high-and-dry if the worst does unfortunately happen. For many people, a standard annual multi-trip policy is the ‘default’ travel insurance product of choice, if they have a few short trips planned in the year ahead, either in the UK or abroad. Usually, this is all well and good, but there are a few things to bear in mind, to consider whether an annual multi-trip policy is the best option for you to ensure that your travel-insurance ‘safety net’, isn’t in fact riddled with holes, when you try to make a claim…
Times when an annual-multi-trip policy may not be valid (always check with your policy provider and check your policy wording, if in any doubt):
- Travelling outside your chosen region
Annual Multi Trip policies are designed to cover multiple short trips within a year, within a chosen region e.g. Europe. If you get the chance to go on a trip outside of that region, you will have to weigh up whether the best option for you, is to upgrade the region for your Annual Multi Trip policy for the whole year, or take out a separate single-trip policy for the additional trip. Bear in mind that there is a higher premium applied for areas outside Europe (especially USA, Canada and the Caribbean), so the latter option may be the most cost-effective.
- Travelling for longer than the maximum trip duration
An annual multi – trip policy is ideal if you have planned a few short breaks in the year ahead. The maximum duration of the trips are usually restricted to something like 31 days (sometimes longer), so this kind of policy wouldn’t cover trips exceeding this length of time. Frequently, travellers think they can bend the rules by using their annual multi-trip policy for the first section of their trip away, and then tagging on a separate single-trip policy for the remainder of the time that they will be away. This will not work…Firstly, you risk invalidating your annual multi-trip policy, because you aren’t planning to return to the UK before the 31 day limit expires, and secondly, you also invalidate your second policy, as it isn’t covering you for your entire duration away from the UK, plus you will already be outside of the UK at the start of your cover. These are standard requirements of UK travel insurers, but it is surprising how many travellers still get caught out by taking a ‘patchwork quilt’ approach to travel insurance! Travel insurance Underwriters want to work out the premium you should pay for your policy, by covering you for the entire time that you plan to be away from the UK.
- Taking part in a sport that isn’t covered as standard
You’ll probably find that lots of the common sports and leisure activities that you plan to enjoy on holiday, are covered as standard by your selected annual multi-trip policy. If you’re a keen skydiver, however, and this pursuit isn’t covered as standard, you will need to investigate whether you can pay an additional premium, to add cover. This then gives you the peace of mind that if you are unfortunately injured whilst doing what you love, then the medical costs will be met by your insurer. If there are several of you on a family annual multi-trip policy, and only one of you plans to do the risky activity, it is usually more cost-effective for the adventurous one to either take out their own annual multi-trip policy, or to take out a separate single trip policy, if they only plan to do the activity on one of their planned breaks. It’s best to crunch the numbers and see what works out more favourably for you and your individual plans.
- If you plan to work whilst you’re away
More and more people are including at least an element of working within their trips away, usually within a longer trip than is allowed within an Annual Multi-Trip policy, but nonetheless, some people may be tempted to do voluntary or paid work whilst on at least one of their trips.
Annual Multi Trip policies are typically designed to cover trips of a leisurely nature, and the cover benefits may not extend to times that you are working (this may depend on the type of work that you plan to do).
For example, if a traveller plans a week doing veterinary work with cats and dogs in Greece, this wouldn’t usually be covered by an Annual Multi Trip policy. A travel insurance underwriter would usually want to cover this kind of trip under a more specialist single-trip policy, where there tends to be a higher premium applicable. If the worst happened and you were bitten by an over-excited dog whilst tending to them, it’s not worth running the risk that your claim for medical treatment is rejected because you were never covered to carry out this kind of work.
If after reading through this article, you’re happy that an Annual Multi-Trip policy will fit the bill for you, there are another couple of potential pitfalls to be aware of:
- Don’t leave it till just before your first planned trip, to set your Annual Multi Trip policy up. As soon as you have any accommodation or flights booked, then it’s a good idea to get your Annual Multi Trip set up – and not just for the date that you leave the UK for your first trip. If you set your Annual Multi-Trip policy up today, and then later found out that you couldn’t travel as planned, due to illness, then you could be covered under the Cancellation section of your policy (which is effective from the time you buy your policy), which would reimburse you for irrecoverable financial losses you had paid for flights and accommodation.
- Don’t assume that your Annual Multi Trip policy will automatically be renewed by your travel insurer, when it runs out. If you want continual cover without a break, you will need to check if you are responsible for setting up a new policy after the year’s cover has passed. This is often the case, as insurers want to check whether you still need cover for the same region, whether you need to be covered for any sports this time round, and also, whether the same people will be on the policy. Sometimes, a renewal quote will be emailed or posted out to you, so make sure that your details are up-to-date, and that you actually receive your quote, and amend it if further changes need to be made.
- If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you will be expected to declare it (either over the phone, or online) before you set up your Annual Multi Trip policy. It’s easy to then think ‘job done’, but it continues to be your responsibility during the year of cover, to make sure that you have also declared any new conditions that arise for anyone on the policy, as well as any changes to existing conditions. You may also be expected to declare any medical tests or investigations that are ongoing, so that your insurer can decide whether you need to increase your premium, in light of this new medical information. It’s important that your insurer has complete and accurate information, so that if you have a problem with a pre-existing medical condition whilst you’re away, complications are less likely to arise with your claim.
You can take a look at the details regarding both our Annual Multi Trip and single trip policies here, to see which would be the most suitable policy for you, and get a quote here , once you’ve decided which type of policy is the one for you.
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