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How much could you save by buying an annual travel insurance policy?

Written by: Emma Lunn
Brits could save an average of £26.85 a year by buying an annual travel insurance policy instead of separate polices for each trip.

According to Columbus Direct, many holidaymakers buy multiple single trip insurance policies, when a multi-trip policy would be much cheaper. The insurer calculated that buying the wrong type of travel insurance policy is costing Brits a collective £630m a year.

Columbus Direct’s research found the average Brit goes on three beach holidays a year in Europe, and spends £53 on three separate single trip insurance policies.

However, you can buy an annual multi-trip policy for £26.15 to cover all three trips – a saving of £26.85 a year. Brits who go on more holidays could save even more.

Why are travellers not buying annual policies?

Columbus Direct found only 16 per cent of consumers bought an annual travel insurance policy, despite recognising that annual policies are usually more cost effective if you go on two or more holidays a year.

When questioned about why they didn’t buy an annual policy, more than a quarter (28 per cent) said they don’t like committing to an annual multi-trip policy in case future holidays needed specialist insurance such as skiing or backpacking.

A quarter (26 per cent) said they just choose the cheapest option available, while almost a quarter (22 per cent) booked last minute and picked the quickest option.

Worryingly, one in 10 (11 per cent) mistakenly thought buying an annual multi-trip policy means you must holiday in the same country all year.

Stuart Lloyd, travel insurance expert at Columbus Direct, said: “Spontaneous trips and a desire for short term savings mean many of us buy the cheapest travel insurance available just before we jet off. While we feel good that we’re covered, the reality is this behaviour means many holidaymakers end up paying double what they should.

“Next time you’re looking to buy travel insurance think about the trips that you have planned for the year, where they are and what activities you have planned. Take the time to compare the cost of multiple single policies, with one annual policy. The reality is that everyone’s outcome will be different. If you’ve planned a beach holiday to Europe and a ski trip in the winter you’re likely to be better off purchasing two single trip policies. Whereas if you go on regular city breaks throughout the year, an annual multi-trip policy will earn you significant savings.”

Other tips for buying travel insurance

If you buy an annual travel insurance policy, buy it as soon as you book your first trip rather than waiting until nearer your departure date. That way you’ll be covered if your trip is cancelled for any reason.

Make sure your policy covers all the countries you intend to visit. Some cheaper policies just cover Europe, or exclude the US and Canada.

If you buy a couple or family travel insurance policy, check each party is covered when traveling separately as well as together.

Check the policy claims limits and excess amounts for each type of claim. Consider adding ‘scheduled airline failure’ if you’re buying flights directly with the airline, rather than part of a package holiday.

Make sure you have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) which entitles you to state health care in the EU. Some travel insurance policies insist you have an EHIC.

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