If you are going abroad for a short period of time, single trip insurance is the standard policy to choose, and it covers all of the basic eventualities. It can also come under the name of Holiday Insurance, as it is the policy chosen by most people to cover their vacations. Purchasing a policy that covers only the trip you are taking means you avoid paying for extra days that you will not be using. This is why single trip insurance is recommended for non-frequent travellers. If you travel more than 3 times per year, it will usually work out cheaper to purchase an Annual multi-trip policy.

The basics

The most important feature of the single-trip policy is the number of days that you will be covered for. All providers will put a maximum time limit on a single trip, and this will very rarely exceed 180 days but is often shorter. The AA Travel Insurance provides cover for up to 185 days per trip, but for longer trips, always look at the long-stay or backpacker cover options, which will prevent any problems in the event of making a claim.

Age Restrictions

Age limits are another factor to consider. Although age limits will usually be younger on policies offering adventure holidays or winter sports cover, age limits still apply to single-trip policies.

The maximum age is usually around 65 or 70, but it can be as low as 45. It is usually made clear when obtaining a quote, but if in doubt you should always check. In such cases, the companies may provide a special insurance for the more mature traveller, but you may need to answer more questions in order to take advantage of this.

On the other hand, single trip policies can come especially tailored for younger travellers. For example, the best premiums offered by STA Travel are for those aged under 35, although these carry less cover than the standard policies. The key, as always, is to look at a number of providers to see what they can offer.

When to choose single trip insurance

With the wealth of insurance policies on offer these days, it can be difficult knowing which one to choose. However, while there are many types of policy which cater for a specific need, such as winter sports or travellers with a medical history, single trip insurance provides a basic cover for those going on holiday or for short trips abroad.

The other common type of policy which also covers the basics is multi-trip insurance. Whereas single-trip only covers you for one journey, multi-trip covers you for a number of trips, or for a set amount of days, throughout a whole year. This should be taken out if you are going on holiday a number of times, and would like to take out one policy to cover all of your trips.

It is usually the cheaper option, depending on how many times you are planning on going away in one particular year. However, if you are older than 65, quite often it is cheaper to take out a single-trip policy, so it’s best to shop around before buying.

Levels of cover

Quite often, other types of insurance policy will use the single trip as the basis for what is covered. For example, if taking out winter sports insurance, you may well simply be purchasing a single trip policy with a few extras added on for a higher premium.

However, this does not mean that it lacks any opportunities for customisation. In fact, single trip policies can often be changed around a great deal depending on the particular needs and requirements of the traveller.

For example, for those planning on going on a budget holiday with little in the way of valuables, it may not be necessary to take out baggage and personal money cover. Or if booking your trip at the last minute, then it may not be necessary to take out cancellation cover. If the provider offers the option of taking off any types of cover, then the premium will come down accordingly.


The other area to look at when purchasing a policy is the amount of excess paid. If you are paying a very low premium, then this could be matched by a high excess in the event of a claim. Once again, these are often changeable depending upon your needs.

Some providers will offer two different levels of cover with different premiums, but you may find that the only difference is the level of excess that is paid on each.

Individual or Multiple

When obtaining a quote, you will be asked if it is for individual cover, or for more than one person. If travelling with other people, you will often be asked about your partner’s details, and any children you may be travelling with. In this case, it may be worth taking out a specialist family insurance policy, which may well offer a better deal.

Other considerations

Added extras

Other optional additions exist on the single trip policy, including golf cover, wedding cover and activities cover. These are all quite specific to the type of holiday that you are going on, and will all incur a more expensive premium.


Activities, however, should be considered carefully. If you are planning on taking part in any activities when going on holiday, then look carefully at your policy details to see if they are covered. Usually, a number of activities will come with the policy, but sometimes exclusions will be made which you may not be aware of.

One way travel

Another option that is sometimes offered is for one way travel only. This is specifically for those only travelling in one direction and not returning to the UK, rather than a single trip which comprises of a trip away from your home and back again. This option will reduce the premium, but offers less cover.

Medical conditions

As with all policies, pre-existing medical conditions will be excluded unless specially mentioned. If you find that you cannot acquire insurance because of this, then it may be worth looking at a specialist provider.