What is single trip travel insurance?

Edward Savage
Personal Finance Editor
May 19, 2024

In a nutshell

Single trip travel insurance is financial protection (cover) for just one single trip (e.g. a holiday). You’ll be able to customise the cover to suit your trip, for instance a basic level for a beach holiday, or a bit of extra cover for a ski trip. logo

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Getting away soon? Perhaps to a nice sunny beach or a city break? You’ll definitely want to sort travel insurance – and probably single trip travel insurance (it’s the most common type of travel insurance). If you haven’t guessed yet, it’s simply travel insurance for one trip (e.g. a holiday).

What is single trip travel insurance?

The main alternative is annual multi-trip travel insurance, which is where you can be covered for all of your trips across the year. It’s great if you have lots of trips planned, but there's more limitations (such as how long you’re away), so it all depends on which trips you’re going on (and things like your personal items), as to whether it will be cheaper or not.

Here’s a rundown of everything you need to know about single trip travel insurance.

You might already have travel insurance

A quick heads up, you might already have travel insurance in place with your bank account – some offer travel insurance if you pay a monthly fee (normally over £10 per month). 

If you are paying a fee, have a quick check, it should cover your family too (if you have one), so you might not need to get extra insurance for every trip away. Although it’s always worth checking what’s covered for each trip you take, as you might need extra insurance for certain holidays – and that’s where single trip insurance can come in.

Do I need travel insurance for a single trip?

Why get single trip travel insurance?

When you think travel insurance, you’re probably thinking single trip travel insurance – it’s the most common and often simply goes by the general term ‘travel insurance’.

It’s perfect for pretty much every holiday or trip that you take as you’re able to determine what you want covered (e.g. medical treatment), and what you don’t want covered (e.g. skiing protection). Meaning it’s completely personalised insurance, just for you and your trip. 

And that means the best value insurance too – you won’t be paying for anything you don’t need, you’ll be paying for just the right amount of cover for you and your trip.

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What does single trip travel insurance cover?

Not quite sure what is actually covered with travel insurance? Here’s a run through of what we recommend as essential, and additional cover (if not included in the essential cover).

Essential cover

Here’s what every single trip travel insurance policy should cover:

  • Medical bills
  • Getting you home
  • Holiday cancellation (out of your control)
  • Missed departures and delays (out of your control)
  • Lost or stolen luggage and personal belongings
  • Damage to property or injury to someone else (personal liability cover)

Recommended additional cover

Here’s what we recommend to include:

  • Emergency dental care
  • Cash and cash equivalents (e.g. pre-paid tickets)
  • Lost passport
  • Terrorism (we’re being serious)

Specialist cover

And if you’re jetting off for some adventure, it’s best to get the right specialist cover:

  • Winter sports cover
  • Extreme sports cover
  • Adventure sports cover
  • And more cover, specific to your holiday

If you’d like more information on each, take a look at our guides to what travel insurance covers and what travel insurance does NOT cover. We’ll run through the main points below.

Medical cover

Unfortunately only the UK has free medical care for us Brits (thanks NHS!), so if you have an accident and get injured or fall ill abroad, you’ll be looking at some hefty fees – medical care is very expensive. It’s around £15,000 for a broken leg when abroad, and up to £100,000, if not more, for long hospital stays.

Single trip medical cover

And emergency medical expenses such as an air ambulance at a ski resort isn’t worth thinking about. Getting travel insurance to cover your medical bills is essential – it’s simply not worth the risk.

Most travel insurance policies will normally get you home too if your plans need to change (called repatriation), and sometimes the insurance will even pay to fly a friend or family member over, and fly back with you.

Note: the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), and the Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), which replaces the European card following Brexit, is great, and you’ll get free or reduced medical treatment costs in most European countries – but it’s not a replacement for travel insurance.

Oh and one more thing, if you’ve got any pre-existing medical conditions, and don’t share them with the insurance provider beforehand, they typically won’t cover any medical expenses related to them. It’s best to be upfront and honest when taking out the policy.

Pre-existing medical condition

Cancellation cover

If you can’t go on your trip for any reason outside of your control, you’ll normally be compensated for the cost of your holiday, or up to a certain limit that you decide when you take out the policy (e.g. up to £4,000).

Single trip cancellation cover

Common reasons for cancellation include:

  • An injury or illness, either yourself or a close family member
  • The loss of a close family member
  • Attending court either as a witness or part of jury service
  • Losing your job (redundancy)

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, the airline should normally rearrange this for you, or provide a refund. If it’s over 24 hours, or affects more of your trip, your travel insurance company can get involved and potentially provide compensation (your money back).

Lost luggage and personal items cover

If your luggage goes missing (which surprisingly, can happen a lot at airports), or any of your personal items while on holiday, or if they’re stolen, you can be compensated by your travel insurance company (if they’re not returned to you).

You’ll have a set limit for all of your items together, which you decide when you take out the policy (we recommend at least £5,000), and also a limit per item. So, if you’re travelling with expensive items, such as film cameras, it can often be a good idea to take out extra separate gadget insurance to cover those items specifically.

Note: you’ll only be covered if your items are safely looked after. If they’re left unattended, or not stored safely, you likely won’t be covered.

Passport cover

Your passport can also be covered too (if you lose it or it's stolen). And the travel insurance company will compensate you to replace it.

Single trip passport cover

Personal liability cover

This is super important. Personal liability cover is insurance for you if you get into an accident involving someone else or their property (e.g. your hotel room). This covers all the legal expenses if they try to claim compensation from you – and the legal fees can be eye watering (sometimes into the millions).

With some policies they can also give you legal advice to claim compensation if you’ve been in an accident due to someone else's fault.

Sports cover

If you’re getting away for some sports (such as golf or skiing), or travelling with expensive sports equipment, you can be covered with this insurance, although usually as an extra addition, or specialist cover just for this.

The extra costs if something goes wrong, such as emergency medical treatment or replacing expensive equipment, means insurance companies want a bit more extra cash to cover you before you go.

Family cover

If you’re travelling with your family (a partner and kids), you can normally get insurance to cover all of you, in one single policy. Which makes things a bit easier!

The level of cover is normally the same as if you were just buying the insurance for yourself too, but of course, you’ll pay a bit extra to cover everyone – it normally works out cheaper than buying insurance for everyone individually.

Travel insurance excess

With all types of insurance, you’ll normally have to pay money out yourself if you want to make a claim (which is asking the insurance company to pay out and give you money), and this is called an excess. It’s intended to stop fraud, and people claiming small amounts of money.

Single trip travel insurance excess

With travel insurance, expect an excess of around £150-200, but you can adjust this up or down if you want to, which will change how much your insurance premium is (the cost of your insurance). A lower excess will mean a more expensive premium, and vice versa.

Excess amount

Single trip travel vs annual multi-trip insurance

If you’re going on multiple trips away this year, you’ve got two options, either single trip cover for every holiday, or multi-trip cover that lasts for the whole year (12 months).

You might be able to save money if you take out multi-trip cover, but only if the level of cover you need is pretty similar for every trip, otherwise, it’s often best to get single trip cover for each trip.

Annual multi-trip insurance

Imagine you have a holiday to Spain for 2 weeks on the beach, and then another holiday skiing in Canada – they’re pretty different, and with the ski trip, you’ll need a very high level of cover that covers you worldwide (Canada), and for skiing (winter sports).

If you were to arrange a high level of cover for the whole year, it’s going to work out pretty expensive, especially if you only need it for one trip – meaning you’ll likely be paying over the odds for your cover to Spain where you’re simply chilling on a sunny beach.

So, often, single trip cover can work out cheaper per trip if you need specialist cover for things like skiing, and worldwide travel, but not for the whole year.

How to get travel insurance

The good thing about travel insurance is that it’s super easy to get – in fact, you can be covered in less than 10 minutes.

All you need to do is first determine the level of cover you’d like, for instance, are you heading off to the Alps for a ski trip, or do you just need the standard level of cover for a family holiday to Tenerife? This doesn’t need to be set in stone, a rough idea is fine.

After that, head off to a travel insurance comparison site. Not sure what one is best? We recommend Confused.com¹, and have listed all the best comparison sites below. On the website, you’ll be asked a few questions about you, and the trip you’re going on – and then they’ll work out the best insurance deal for you in just a few seconds.

Then it’s simply picking the best deal that suits the insurance you’re after (normally the cheapest one from the shortlist). And then click through to the insurers website, you should have all your details pre-filled, have a check through, and then simply buy the insurance. Simple right?

How to get single trip travel insurance

You’ll typically be covered immediately, and have all the insurance documents sent to you (the single trip insurance policy), and often an online account will be created for you, and all your insurance documents will be stored safely for you, ready for if you need them again.

We recommend printing out your documents if you can, or save them to your phone. That way, they’re handy if you never need them on your trip.

If you want a bit more information, check out or guide on how to get travel insurance.

Best travel insurance comparison sites

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Best overall

This normally has the cheapest travel insurance quote for most people. will compare up to 40 travel insurance companies (and all the largest companies).

They'll cover all the main types of insurance (e.g. pre-existing medical conditions, winter sports etc).

You can get a quote in just a few minutes too.

Learn more

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Meerkat Meals

Compare The Market will search 42 travel insurance companies to find you the right deal.

They'll cover all the main types of insurance (e.g. pre-existing medical conditions, winter sports etc.)

Learn more

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Quick quote


MoneySuperMarket compares 35 travel insurance companies to find a great deal for you.

They'll cover all the main types of insurance (e.g. pre-existing medical conditions, winter sports etc.)

Learn more

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Get a travel insurance quote

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How to claim

Remember we mentioned keeping a copy of your insurance documents? This is so you’ll know how to claim if someone goes wrong – and it can be a stressful time, so it’s great to be prepared beforehand.

Your insurance company will provide you with a direct contact number to get in touch. Call this, and they'll guide you through everything you need to do – and will help resolve any issues. Simply tell them everything that has happened and they’ll know what to do.

If you claim later, when you’re back home, there can be a time limit, so it’s best to call them as soon as you can. Get in touch with your insurer and they’ll run through how to claim, which is normally filling in some forms, and showing proof of ownership (if you’re claiming for lost items).

Let’s recap

Has that made single trip travel insurance a bit easier to understand? We hope so!

Travel insurance is essential when travelling anywhere, and often getting single trip insurance is the best way to go – you can decide the exact cover you want, such as just the essentials for a beach holiday, or the full works if you’re heading off to a remote mountain to ski. 

And that means, you won’t be overpaying for insurance that you won’t need, and have just the right extra cover suited just for you and your holiday.

If you’re a keen jetsetter, the alternative is annual travel insurance, which can cover you for the whole year, and all of your trips. For more low-key, basic holidays, this can work out cheaper, but if you’re throwing in a holiday that needs extra cover (e.g. skiing), you might find that the cost to cover you for the whole year is a bit too much – so you can either get annual insurance for the basics and single trip insurance with specialist cover for your ski trip, or simply single trip for each holiday.

Either way, the best way to get the best deal for you is to use a travel insurance comparison site. We recommend Confused.com¹, as they’re super quick and easy, and they’ll search most of the deals out there to find you the cheapest price for the right amount of cover.

And that’s it. All the best finding the best deal, and enjoy the trip!

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Get a travel insurance quote

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No items found.

Get a travel insurance quote

Find the best deal for you in no time with

Visit Confused.com¹Visit Confused.com¹
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