Travel insurance at affordable premiums

Guide To Annual Multi-Trip Travel Insurance

Introduction

If you ever want level-headed, independent advice you can typically do no worse than consult the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB). What the CAB has to say about travel insurance is that it is “essential” if you are travelling away from home, and especially so if you are doing so independently.

For insurance protection that is considered essential, therefore, it may be relevant to investigate a little further and consider just what it is that makes travel insurance so important.

In this guide, we discuss:

  • the different types of travel insurance that are available;
  • why multi-trip cover is particular may warrant a closer look;
  • the level of cover you may need on your next holiday, business trip or backpacking year out;
  • any other considerations to keep in mind when arranging multi-trip travel insurance; and
  • some suggested links to sources of information that may be of special interest to frequent travellers.

In this day and age, travel is something likely to involve more and more people, more often, to more parts of the world. Travel opens up the whole world for exciting new adventures, relaxing holidays away from it all, and new markets to explore as you grow your business or otherwise develop your career.

Because travel insurance is widely considered to be an essential part of each of those journeys, this guide pays particular attention to one of the insurance products that is designed to keep you safely protected, wherever in the world you go and however often you need to travel during the course of a year.

Arranging that cover may be simple and straight forward enough since it is frequently possible to buy it directly online from providers experienced in this particular kind of cover. Indeed, this type of multi-trip travel insurance is one of your specialities here at Bengo Travel, so if this guide fails to address your particular query, you may want to contact us directly.


Why is travel insurance important?

Accidents, mishaps and downright disasters may happen to you at home, but when you are travelling the fall out tends to be considerably worse, and not simply because of the disorientation of being in a different or strange location:

  • where you might have relied upon the National Health Service to take care of any personal injury or emergency medical condition at home, when you are overseas, the treatment and attention may come at some considerable cost (even if you have an EHIC card);
  • where a close relative might be able to come to spend time by your bedside if you are at home in the UK, having to travel to foreign parts might prove prohibitively expensive;
  • your personal liability – for causing personal injury or damage to the property of someone else – is there whether you are at home or abroad, but might prove especially onerous in a foreign country, where you do not know the language and customs, where everything around is likely to be unfamiliar and where the chances of causing an accident, therefore, might be greater than usual;
  • the theft of your personal property, of course, is a nuisance at the very least, but is likely to be even more sorely felt when just a small number of possessions may form part of your luggage – and especially important items at that;
  • if you have to cut short your holiday or trip, you might also reasonably expect some form of compensation for the inconvenience and losses suffered; and
  • holidays – especially of the more adventurous kind – may be just the times when you decide to engage in out of the ordinary activities and fairly extreme forms of sport, when the risk of injury is particularly acute.

By providing cover against risks such as these – and often more – travel insurance is designed to ensure that your holiday or business trip is free of both serious and minor setbacks that might otherwise ruin the entire experience and leave you seriously out of pocket.

It is an eminently flexible form of insurance that may be tailored to suit your particular travel plans typically by offering you the choice of three main packages:

Single trip

This self-explanatory form of cover may be traditionally the most popular – providing the cover you need, as and when you need it, during the course of a single holiday or trip.

It usually starts from the moment you book and pay for your travel – since cover is typically provided against cancellations and the financial failure of carriers – and continues until the moment you arrive back home.

There is typically a limit on the maximum duration of your trip – 60 days, for example, may be typical. You can read more about single trip insurance cover here.

Long stay

But sometimes are travel plans involve an extended period away from home – travelling a long way to visit and stay with friends or relations on the other side of the world, for example.

In this case the limitations of standard, single trip travel insurance may be extended by purpose designed, long stay cover. Our Guide to Long stay insurance explains more about the cover here.

Multi-trip

Just as the term suggests, this form of travel insurance provides comprehensive cover for many trips – as many as you care to make, and wherever in the world you need to make them, throughout the period of an entire year. For that reason, it may also be described as annual travel insurance.

Multi-trip travel insurance may be limited by the maximum length of any one journey you are making or by the accumulated total number of days you plan to be away from home during the course of the year.

Specific cover

There are also other variants on the type of cover you may opt for depending on your needs, namely Cruise insurance, Backpacker’s insurance, Winter sports cover and Business travel insurance.
Why choose multi-trip insurance?

Travel insurance is important – multi-trip travel insurance might prove still more valuable yet.

Although you might remember the need to arrange cover each and every time you need to travel abroad, be it on holiday or otherwise, it is one of those details perhaps too easy to overlook or forget altogether.

Without insurance of any kind, you are likely to be running a considerable risk of things going seriously wrong if you have an accident, fall ill or if someone makes off with the best part of your luggage.

There is always the chance that you remember the importance of arranging cover for your journey at the last minute of course. In that case, you might find no shortage of outlets – from airlines, to hotel reservation agencies, and even hire car companies – more than happy to arrange travel insurance for you. There are at least two main reasons for avoiding going down such a road:

  • agencies such as this are by no means experts in the provision of travel insurance – and are likely to have little clue about your particular needs and requirements; and
  • cover arranged through sources such as these is invariably expensive – and may be unlikely to offer you the most competitive rates.

Be prepared

In order to avoid recourse to such last minute solutions, you might instead choose to organise your travel insurance before you set out on your journey, online and from the comfort of your own home.

But you might also choose to go one step better than this and arrange travel insurance that remains valid the entire year and offers you cover for as many trips as you choose and to as many foreign destinations that you may need to get to.

Furthermore, on a trip for trip basis, annual cover is invariably a cheaper option than arranging travel insurance every separate time you go away.

Clearly, this kind of cover may suit anyone who is a frequent traveller or who is accustomed to taking several holidays during the course of the year, but it is also a valuable product to keep by you whenever the need for any travel might turn up.

If you have multi-trip, annual travel insurance, you need never worry about having to remember to arrange it in advance of any upcoming trip and you do not need to find yourself having to buy expensive cover from any kind of agency at the last minute. In a word, you are always prepared – prepared to travel at the drop of a hat and with your safety firmly in mind.


What level of cover do you need?

When choosing your travel insurance, you might notice that many policies offer a range of different levels of cover. How do you choose the most appropriate level of cover for you?

As with practically any other kind of insurance, of course, the answer depends entirely on your own individual circumstances and the level of protection you are seeking. In the case of travel insurance, it may also depend on:

  • where in the world you are going;
  • what you are likely to be doing and what kind of activities you might choose to enjoy during your trip; and
  • how long you are going to be travelling.

With these considerations in mind, you might begin to consider what are going to be the important elements of your travel insurance – and for this it may be helpful to refer to some advice prepared by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on the subject. The FCO, for instance, suggests the following principal components:

Medical cover

  • your health and your safety are likely to be the most important elements worth protecting when you are travelling;
  • the need for insurance to help you with this is simply because of the very high costs that may very quickly mount up when you are in need of emergency treatment;
  • the FCO, for example, suggests that it may cost between £35,000 and £45,000 if you need an air ambulance back home from the eastern seaboard of the United States;
  • determining the level of cover you need may be difficult, but it may make sense to anticipate the worst, pay only slightly more in any insurance premiums, but rest assured that everything is covered if and when you need to rely on the emergency services;
  • the level of cover you need might also be influenced by the way you intend to be spending your holiday – if you heading off to enjoy some winter sports, for example, you might want to be reassured that the cover extends to the possible cost of mountain-side rescue, hospital treatment and repatriation, whilst if you are about to enjoy a cruise you might also want the comfort of knowing that an airlift from the ship to a properly equipped hospital on shore is also covered;
  • when thinking about the amount of medical insurance you may require it is also important to consider the merits of the cover provided by a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC);
  • if you are a UK resident, the scheme gives you free access to publicly provided health services throughout the European Economic Area (EEA);
  • the cover is restricted therefore to whatever level of cover is provided publicly in the country or countries you are going to be visiting and it only applies, of course, for travel within Europe;
  • the UK’s National Health Service is unequivocal in its insistence that an EHIC alone is no alternative to travel insurance;

Personal liability

  • if you are to blame for an accident that results in personal injury to someone else or the loss or damage of their property, you may be held liable and required to pay compensation;
  • the amount of compensation of course depends on the damage done, but may be very substantial – for that reason, travel insurance policies may offer a minimum of £1 million of cover and double this amount on slightly more expensive policies;

Stolen or lost luggage and possessions

  • whether you are travelling light or with a full complement of steamer trunks the contents of your luggage may be worth a substantial amount and you are likely to want cover that meets its value – which may vary widely from one traveller to another;
  • your home contents policy may cover some or all of the items you have taken away from home but this is by no means always the case and you might do well, therefore, to consider the additional protection of travel insurance up to, say, several thousands of pounds;

Cancellation and delays

  • it is common for travel insurance policies to provide compensation for travel services that are cancelled or delayed – although the amount of cover you need of course depends on the value of the travel arrangements you have made;

Special provisions

  • some travel insurance may include cover for special items necessary for your enjoyment of a particular kind of holiday – loss or damage to ski equipment or even the closure of ski slopes that prevent your enjoying your winter sports holiday for example.

The level of travel insurance you are likely to need, therefore, depends entirely on the type of holiday or journey you are undertaking. Fortunately, specialist providers of travel insurance are in a position to help you tailor the cover in a way that appropriately meets your needs and requirements.


Other considerations

The foundation for any kind of insurance contract is based on the long-established principle in English law of uberimae fideii. This Latin expression means “ultimate good faith” and relies on the parties to the contract being entirely honest, open and transparent about any information that may have an impact on the risks insured. These are known as material facts.

In the case of travel insurance probably the most critical of these material facts are those relating to your state of health and any pre-existing medical conditions you may have.

Your insurance proposal form is almost certain to include a number of questions about your health and ask you to specifically detail any pre-existing conditions.

It is vitally important that you answer these questions fully, honestly and as accurately as you are able, since a failure to declare pre-existing medical conditions is one of the most frequent reasons for an insurer to turn down a claim for treatment, care or repatriation under a travel insurance policy. Some of these reasons are discussed further in reporting by the Financial Ombudsman.

Our Guide to travelling with existing health conditions goes in to this in more depth.


Useful links for frequent travellers

If you are the kind of frequent traveller for whom multi-trip travel insurance is a sensible choice, there may be a number of sources of information to which you turn on an equally frequent basis.

Whilst the list is by no means exhaustive, the following are offered for your ease of reference:

http://www.masta-travel-health.com/ - MASTA offers the biggest network of private travel health clinics in the UK, so whether it is vaccinations you require or advice on health issues you may encounter, you might want to take a closer look;

http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/travelhealth/Pages/Travelhealthhome.aspx - on the question of all matters related to travel and health, the National Health Service also offers a great deal of information and links to related sites;

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice - this is the official government website regularly updated with information from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about those countries and parts of the world where it is recommended that you do not travel (and where, if you persist, your travel insurance may no longer be fully effective);

http://abta.com/ - the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) is a trade organisation with a strict code of conduct for its members designed to ensure that you travel and travel arrangements are made with confidence;

http://www.iata.org/Pages/default.aspx - the International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association of the world’s airlines and one of your first ports of call, therefore, in the event of an unresolved dispute with your chosen airline;

https://maps.google.com – in this day and age, any map, of anywhere in the world you are likely to travel, is immediately available online – in most cases with a street view or aerial photographs too;

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/weather/world - you are able not only to see just where you are going but thanks to the UK’s Met Office, also find out about the weather you are likely to encounter once you get there.