Single Trip vs. Multi-Trip Travel Insurance – Which one do you need? 

Single Trip vs. Multi-Trip Travel Insurance - Which one do you need?

Travel health insurance policies are of two types- single-trip and multi-trip travel insurance. Single-trip insurance is needed when traveling abroad temporarily and returning home. It does not matter if you are visiting different countries during the trip with a single trip insurance plan. It is designed for people who take one brief trip a year. 

On the other hand, multi-trip coverage is designed for people taking multiple trips abroad in a year. These policies cover you for one calendar year beginning on the effective date you enter while buying a plan. They offer you protection multiple times when you leave home for a year. 

Understanding the difference between the two 

When you go on a trip for a few days or weeks, or months and return home, you need an insurance plan to cover you temporarily for the journey. Such plans are called single-trip insurance plans. Single-trip insurance plans are suitable if you travel occasionally or go on a vacation with family or friends once a year.  

Typically, single-trip insurance is of two types: 

  • Travel medical insurance– These plans focus more on medical-related benefits and offer coverage like emergency medical evacuation, hospitalization, surgeries, and dental emergencies mentioned in the plan. Of course, these plans can offer travel-related benefits, as well. 
  • Trip cancellation insurance– These plans focus more on travel-related benefits like a trip interruption, trip delay, trip cancellation, baggage delay, lost/damaged/stolen luggage and personal belongings, medical evacuation, repatriation of remains, etc. 

Therefore, depending on the nature of your trip, you can choose to travel medical insurance, trip cancellation insurance, or a plan that offers both benefits. The travel medical insurance plans can cover you from 5 days to 3 years and more while the trip cancellation insurance plans typically can provide coverage for up to 180 days.  

Multi-trip insurance plans can be bought on an annual basis. So, multi-trip insurance is ideal if you travel multiple times a year for leisure or business. Some plans require you to have a health insurance plan in your home country to be eligible for a multi-trip insurance plan. The plan will cover you the entire year irrespective of the number of trips. However, each trip has a maximum duration of 30 to 70 days per trip, depending on your chosen plan. 

Multi-trip insurance is a more cost-effective insurance choice compared to buying travel insurance for each trip. With a multi-trip insurance plan, you can plan frequent trips with your family and travel abroad. Moreover, the overall cost of insurance per trip will be lower. 

How do you know which coverage to choose? 

The types of trips you plan will typically decide whether to choose a single-trip coverage or a multi-trip coverage. Basic multi-trip travel insurance plans are best for: 

  • Travel enthusiasts go on several vacations in a year. 
  • Business travelers who fly frequently. 
  • People who want to save money multi-trip plans are less expensive than insuring every trip individually. 
  • People who do not bother much about trip cancellation and trip delay. 

You can rely on a single trip insurance plan for expensive international trips as you can opt for a trip cancellation plan.  However, the annual plan is your best choice for low-cost trips, where your primary concern is all about unforeseen medical expenses and emergency evacuation. It is also an excellent choice for frequent international fliers, who go on many short trips, during the 364 days. 

What to consider when buying a plan? 

Whatever policy you have decided to opt for, there are several things you must consider before putting down any money. 

  • Destination– This is important to know, as most insurance companies have separate cover for Europe and the rest of the world. Some policies can exclude the US and Canada, so it is essential to check. If you plan to spend your vacation in the US, you need a robust insurance plan with a high policy maximum as the US has one of the highest medical costs in the world. If you are going to Laos or Vietnam, you may not need a plan with high coverage. Now, if you plan to go to multiple cities in a year for a short duration, like a few weeks, an annual insurance plan can suit you the best. 
  • Levels of coverage- There are many diverse levels of coverage, so you must ensure you pick the one that best suits your requirements. You may be working as a summer intern during your trip or taking part in extreme activities, such as snorkeling. If this is the case, you may need additional medical evacuation and optional coverage for hazardous sports. Every policy will offer medical coverage for unexpected injuries and illnesses and coverage for evacuation and repatriation. You can opt for more evacuation benefits and other coverage options.  In such cases, single-trip insurance works the best. 
  • Age- Your age plays a pivotal role in choosing a plan. Older adults pay a significantly higher premium than younger adults for the same plan because they are more prone to sickness and injuries. If you are 60 and above, you must choose a plan that covers the acute onset of pre-existing conditions. Multi-trip plans typically can be bought if you are below 76 years of age.  
  • Duration- As already mentioned, if you go on shorter trips to the same or different destinations throughout the year, you can opt for multi-trip insurance plans. In contrast, for a month or two long vacation, where you will be exploring various cities, taking on road trips, going on hikes, taking part in various hazardous activities, and more, you need single trip insurance to get you covered for the entire duration. 

Double-check the brochure to understand what is covered, no matter which insurance plan category you choose. Remember that many insurances provide you a 14-day (about 2 weeks) free look to ensure it is the right coverage for you. For any doubts or queries, contact