Are you a frequent flyer? Find out how an annual travel insurance policy could help you save.
If you travel multiple times throughout the year, annual travel insurance (also referred to as multi-trip travel insurance or annual multi-trip travel insurance) is more convenient and often more affordable than multiple single trip travel insurance policies. Read on to find out how to find a policy that works for you.
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What is annual multi-trip travel insurance?
Annual travel insurance is travel insurance that covers all the trips you take during a 12-month period. While ordinary travel insurance only provides protection for a single trip, annual travel insurance covers you for an unlimited number of journeys for the year after you purchase a policy. Here are some of the benefits of getting an annual policy:
- One policy means cover for one year. You can take as many trips as you like for 12 months, up to the maximum trip duration (usually between 15 to 45 days for each trip) outlined in the policy disclosure statement (PDS).
- One policy means savings. Depending on the number of trips you take, annual travel insurance can save you money.
- One policy means convenience. You don't have to worry about organising a policy each time you travel.
- One policy means you can travel whenever you want. If you want to travel at the drop of a hat, an annual travel insurance policy means that there's one less thing for you to think about.
Why should I consider it?
It’s simple: if you’re a frequent traveller, annual travel insurance is usually cheaper and less annoying than having to buy a separate policy for each trip you take. Though premiums vary depending on the insurer and the level of cover you choose, if you take two or more overseas trips a year, annual cover will often work out to be cheaper than single-trip cover. That means you can have more spending money for your trip, or maybe a few extra dollars to put towards your next holiday.
What's the difference between single-trip and multi-trip insurance?
For most people, buying a regular travel policy will do the job, but if you go away twice a year (or even more, you lucky thing!) it can make a lot more sense to get annual cover that will work for multiple trips. Here's are the main differences between an annual and a single-trip policy:
- Annual travel insurance. An annual policy will cover you for multiple individual trips to multiple destinations over a 12-month period. However, the duration of these individual trips is limited to the maximum single trip duration specified on your Certificate of Insurance, which can be anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
- Single trip travel insurance. A single trip policy will cover you for one journey. The single trip can contain multiple destinations. However, these destinations must be part of one consecutive journey. Your journey is generally considered complete when you come back to Australia. You can get generally cover for single trips that last anywhere from one to 540 days.
The other major difference between single and annual travel insurance is the treatment of pre-existing conditions. Most travel insurers won't offer annual policies to those who declare that they have a pre-existing condition. Aside from the two instances above, the cover offered by annual travel insurance is similar to what you would generally be covered for by a single trip comprehensive policy.
What does annual travel insurance cover?
Multi-trip travel insurance covers all the same things as a single-trip policy. This means you can expect cover for:
- Overseas medical and hospital expenses. If you fall ill or suffer an accidental injury while overseas, your policy will cover the cost of your ambulance transport, hospital accommodation and surgery fees.
- Medical evacuation. If you need to be evacuated to another medical facility or repatriated back home to Australia, this expense can be covered by annual travel insurance.
- Additional expenses. This benefit covers the additional travel and accommodation expenses you incur due to circumstances outside your control, such as if you’re ill or injured and medically unfit to continue your journey, or if you have to return home following the death or serious illness or injury of a close relative.
- Cancellation fees and lost deposits. When unforeseen circumstances beyond your control force you to cancel your trip, annual travel insurance will cover your non-refundable deposits for pre-paid travel expenses and any cancellation fees you’re required to pay.
- Luggage and personal belongings. When your luggage or personal items are lost, stolen or damaged during your journey, your policy can cover the repair or replacement costs.
- Luggage delay. When an airline or other carrier misplaces, misdirects or delays your luggage for more than a specified period of time, you’ll receive an emergency allowance to help you purchase essential clothing and toiletries.
- Travel delay. When your pre-paid scheduled transport is cancelled, rescheduled or delayed for a reason outside of your control, you’ll be covered for the additional accommodation and meal expenses you incur as a result.
- Rental vehicle insurance excess. If you hire a car during your trip and that vehicle is crashed, stolen or maliciously damaged, annual multi-trip insurance can cover the cost of the rental car insurance excess.
- Personal liability. Your policy will also cover your legal liability if you’re responsible for causing death or bodily injury to another person during your trip, or for damaging someone else’s property.
What else do I need to know?
There are a few key restrictions you need to be aware of when considering multi-trip travel insurance:
- Trip duration limits. While annual travel insurance covers an unlimited number of trips, there is a limit to the maximum duration of each individual trip. This limit varies from one insurer to the next, but you’ll often have several options to choose from. For example, you may be able to choose a maximum individual trip limit of 30, 60 or 90 days.
- Business vs leisure. Some policies have different duration limits for business trips and leisure trips, so read the PDS closely to find out whether this applies to your policy. For example, while you may be covered for leisure trips of up to 90 days, the policy may only provide cover for business trips of up to 30 days.
- Age limits. Multi-trip travel insurance tends to have tighter age restrictions than single-trip travel insurance. Some policies only cover travellers under 60 years of age, but others will cover people up to 70 or even 80 years. Read the PDS before you buy to make sure that you’ll be covered for the full 12 months.
- Domestic cover. Some annual policies will only cover international trips and not protect you for travel within Australia. There are plenty of policies that cover both domestic and international travel, but check the fine print to make sure you’re covered.
- Pre-existing conditions. As a general rule, insurers are reluctant to underwrite people with pre-existing conditions for annual travel insurance policies, so if you suffer from any health problems you may find it easier to take out single-trip cover.
How do different brands compare?
Check out the comparison of annual travel insurance policies from our panel of insurers below:
|Brand||Max individual trip duration||Domestic travel included?||Maximum age covered|
|1Cover||90 days||60 max|
|AIG||45 days||69 years and under at the date of departure|
|American Express||45 consecutive days||69 years and under at the date of departure|
|Budget Direct||30 days||100 years of age or under at the date of application|
|Columbus Direct||60 days||69 years and under at the date of departure|
|Covermore||74 years max|
|Easy Travel Insurance||Less than 60 days (59 days)||70 years and under|
|Fast Cover||59 years of age or younger|
|Go Insurance||31 days (can be extended to 50 or 60 days)||75 years of age or younger|
|InsureandGo||60 days||100 years of age or under at the date of application|
|Simply||70 or under|
|SkiInsurance||21 days||66 years of age or younger.|
|Southern Cross||90 days||No maximum age|
|TID||76 years of age to be eligible for the policy|
|Travel Insurance Saver||60 days||69 years of age or younger|
|Travel Insuranz||93 days||65 years of age or younger|
|The Wise Traveller||90 days||65 or under|
|Virgin Money||45 days||75 years of age or younger|
|Woolworths||30 days||80 years of age or younger|
|Worldcare||71 years of age or younger|
|YouGo||85 years of age or younger|
|Zoom||45 days||69 years of age or younger|
What won't be covered by my policy?
Just like with any other travel insurance, you can't expect to be covered against every possible risk you might face while on holiday, so it’s important to read the fine print closely. Typical multi-trip travel insurance exclusions include:
- If the country you're planning to visit has a 'do not travel' warning, DO NOT TRAVEL. The Australian Government issues advisories for a reason. If you choose to travel to these countries and ignore these warnings, your insurance will be invalid.
- Loss of personal property and valuables due to negligence. If your loss was a result of negligence, your insurance will not cover you. This includes leaving your luggage or valuables unattended or leaving your hotel room unlocked.
- Extreme or dangerous activities. If you are injured due to participation in extreme sports or other dangerous activities such as paragliding or base jumping, your medical expenses will not be covered by your annual travel insurance provider.
- Claims related to drug or alcohol consumption. Any claim that is the direct result of alcohol or drugs will not be covered by your annual travel insurance policy.
- Illness or injury from pre-existing conditions. Failure to disclose details of previous injuries may lead to your policy being rejected in the event of a claim that is related to the previous injury.
- Elective surgery. Generally, you're not covered for any elective medical, dental, surgical or cosmetic procedure. However, there are now some providers that offer cover for overseas dental surgery.
- Unlawful activity. You're not covered for any claim that is the result of an unlawful act.
- Mental illness. Insurers will generally not pay claims arising from mental stress, anxiety or depression.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Cover is not provided for STDs, infections or viruses.
- Pregnancy. Insurers generally do not provide cover for pregnancy or childbirth complications.
- Paid work. Cover will not be provided for any injury sustained while carrying out paid work overseas. Compensation should be sought from the employer in these circumstances.
- Motorcycling. Your travel insurance will generally cover you if you ride a motorbike overseas. However, this will depend on the engine capacity of the bike and whether or not you have a valid motorbike licence.
Check out our guide to travel insurance exclusions for more information on when you will and won’t be covered.
How to compare policies
What should you look for when choosing an annual multi-trip travel insurance policy? Remember to consider the following factors:
- What's covered? Check the table of benefits to find out what your policy covers. Also check whether there are any additional options you can buy for an extra premium.
- What are the cover limits? While looking at the table of benefits, check the cover limits that apply to each individual benefit. For example, does the insurer offer unlimited cover for overseas medical expenses? Also remember to check the sub-limits that apply to particular benefits, for example cover for luggage and personal belongings.
- How long can I travel each time? What is the maximum allowable duration for any individual trip? Can you choose from a range of trip limit options or is there only one choice offered?
- What is the age limit? Check the eligibility criteria to make sure you’ll be within the insurer’s age limits for the duration of the policy.
- What's not covered? Next, run your eye over the list of general exclusions to make sure you’re aware of the situations and circumstances when no cover is available.
- What's the claims process like? What do you need to do to make a claim? Can you make a claim online at any time? Does the insurer have a good reputation for handling and paying claims as quickly as possible?
- How much does it cost? Get quotes from several insurers to get a better idea of how much cover will cost. When considered alongside the features and cover limits of each policy, this will help you find the best value for money.
- Can I get a family policy? Most single policies will cover up to one extra child or grandchild, while a family policy will cover spouse or de facto partner and accompanying children or grandchildren.
- How much excess will I pay? The excess is the amount you will pay out of pocket when you make a claim. Excess amounts can vary greatly between insurers, and some offer policies with excess eliminators. A reduced excess will usually mean increased premiums.
How to find the best* annual travel insurance
The right policy for you will vary depending on your travel plans and cover requirements, so there’s no such thing as one annual travel insurance policy that can be considered the best* for all travellers. However, there are plenty of simple steps you can take to make sure you choose a policy that’s right for your needs:
- Think about the cover you need. In order to find the best* policy, you first need to think about exactly what you want your policy to cover. How many trips do you plan on taking per year? How long will each individual trip be? Do you want unlimited cover for overseas medical expenses, or maybe additional cover for snow sports? Once you know what you’re looking for in a policy, you can then start searching for your perfect match.
- Read the PDS. Travel insurance product disclosure statements don’t make for interesting reading but it’s still worth taking the time to peruse them. The PDS contains all the important information you need to know about a policy – what’s covered, to what limit, and what’s not covered. You can also find all the relevant details about trip duration limits, age limits and how to make a claim.
- Get quotes. Use the finder.com.au travel insurance quote engine to obtain multiple quotes from our panel of insurers. See how the premiums stack up between policies, but remember that the cheapest policy isn’t necessarily the best.
- Don’t forget about the excess. The premium is only part of the equation when calculating the cost of annual travel insurance; you also need to consider the excess that applies to claims. Check the fine print to find out how much you’ll have to contribute out of your own pocket to cover the cost of a claim.
- Read reviews. Check out independent online reviews to see what other travellers, especially those who have had to make a claim, say about travel insurers. Asking family and friends for their recommendations can also help you narrow down your choices.
- Shop around. What’s the most important thing to remember when buying annual travel insurance? Compare, compare, compare! Even a quick comparison could save you hundreds of dollars, and in the online world, it’s easier to compare multiple policies than ever before. If you compare your options and search for the best value, you’ll be sure to find the right annual travel insurance for your needs.
How do I know if this cover is right for me?
Before you buy an annual travel insurance policy, ask yourself the following questions:
- Am I getting value for money? What you pay for your annual travel insurance premium is more than you would pay for a single trip policy. Or two. Or three. You get the idea. When assessing value for money, it all comes down to personal circumstances. Work out how much you would pay per single trip versus annual travel insurance. There is also the convenience [read: laziness] coefficient to consider.
- Do I often have to travel without much notice? If you have to travel without much notice, annual travel insurance may be a suitable option. Not only does it provide peace of mind, it takes one less task out of your travel preparation.
- Do I have any pre-existing conditions? Annual frequent travel insurance may not be the best option if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Insurers are reluctant to underwrite people with pre-existing conditions for annual travel insurance policies, which is why a single trip policy may be a more suitable option.
- How many trips am I going to take in the next year? Annual travel insurance is cost-effective for those who travel often. You need to factor in the cost of the policy and the number of trips you'll be taking over the next year. Once you have done that, you'll be able to know if you're getting value for money.
- How long are these trips going to be? Most annual policies cap the length of a single trip somewhere between 30 and 90 days. If your trip is going to exceed this length of time, you'll need a single trip policy.
- Does it suit my cover needs? Most annual travel insurance policies do not cover people who are over the age of 65. It's important to compare travel insurance policies from various insurance providers so that you can pick a policy that provides the best scope for all your trips.
I MOSTLY TRAVEL FOR BUSINESS RATHER THAN FOR PLEASURE. IS THERE ANY POINT IN CONSIDERING ANNUAL TRAVEL INSURANCE?
For sure! Business cover is usually included in an annual frequent travel insurance policy, which means it doesn't matter whether you are travelling for business or going on a holiday.
However, certain types of professions may be excluded from annual travel insurance policies. For example, manual work is not usually covered by annual travel insurance. Make sure you check the conditions for work prior to purchasing cover.
Is annual travel insurance tax deductible if I'm travelling for work? No. Unfortunately, you can't claim travel insurance as a tax deduction.
Weighing up the benefits and drawbacks of annual cover
- Convenient for business travellers
- Useful for those who regularly travel on short notice regularly
- Cheaper than a single policy if you travel frequently
- Same level of cover as single policies
- Covers an unlimited number of individual trips over a 12-month period
- Hard to find cover for pre-existing conditions
- Domestic travel not always covered
- Trip duration normally capped at 90 days
- Lower age limits than single trip policies
Questions you might have about annual travel insurance
Compare multi-trip policies today
If travel you travel a lot for work or pleasure, it's worth seeing whether an annual travel insurance can save you money. Use the comparison tool at the top of the page to compare your options and find the right cover today.
* The offers compared on this page are chosen from a range of products finder.com.au has access to track details from and is not representative of all the products available in the market. Products are displayed in no particular order or ranking. The use of terms "Cheapest", 'Best' and 'Top' are not product ratings and are subject to our disclaimer. You should consider seeking independent financial advice and consider your personal financial circumstances when comparing products.