Single-trip vs multi-trip travel insurance — What's the best policy for travelling abroad?
Indians love travelling. The thought of exploring new places, learning new cultures and tasting local cuisines is both exciting and enthralling. But in that excitement, many of us generally forget to secure oneself from any unexpected events one can face during their travel. These can range from loss of baggage, flight cancellation, accidents, etc. Conclusion: One needs to have a forceful travel insurance policy in place before they board their flight, regardless the kind of trip they are taking.
So, the next steps involve doing a thorough research on the various policies available in the market vis-à-vis one that meets your requirements to the closest. Broadly, there are two types of travel insurance policy available in the market for travellers travelling abroad: single and multi-trip travel insurance policy. But first let’s understand the basic difference between the two:
Single trip travel insurance
As the name suggests a single trip travel insurance policy provides coverage for one domestic or international trip. Even if one is on a single trip, they can visit multiple destinations or multiple countries, and that is still considered a single trip while you are away from your home. The policy will last until one returns home from the trip.
The policy cover starts from the time one flies from the home country to the foreign destination and remains in force till the date of the return/ end of policy (whichever is earlier). The insurance policy comes with an extendable facility and quick claim resolving option. Single trip insurance can be bought as soon as one plans to leave. Such policies generally cover hospitalisation expenses, emergency dental treatment costs, loss of checked-in luggage, among others.
Those who travel occasionally and for a long duration, single trip travel insurance is an appropriate choice. It is also cost-effective as one needs to pay only for the exact length of the trip.
All insurance companies have a cap on the number of days that are to be counted as a single trip. Normally, a single trip plan provides cover for a period of around 180 days.
Multi-trip travel insurance
Multi-trip travel insurance plans are generally purchased on an annual basis. The policy term, which will be in force for a period of 12 months, begins from the date on which it is bought. All trips one makes during the year will be covered under the same policy. Multi-trip travel insurance policies generally cover loss of passport, emergency medical expenses, trip cancellation among others.
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The cover is basically set for 365 days, wherein a person can fly abroad as many times as he wants under the same insurance policy. If one goes on multiple official trips in a year or believes in exploring the world, then this is the best option for you. That said, some multi-trip plans do have a limit on the duration of travel which may vary from 30-70 days per trip. Hence, reading the fine print is always advisable.
To be eligible for a multi-trip travel insurance one should hold a domestic health insurance policy in the country of their origin.
Single trip insurance policies are designed for people who only take one or two holidays a year, whether that is a short trip to Singapore or a three-week jaunt in Europe. Multi-trip policies, on the other hand, are for those lucky enough to enjoy more than two journeys a year. These policies are often better value for money than buying single trip cover for each separate holiday. Multi-trip policies allows one to make unlimited journeys in a year. Moreover, most policies will limit the length of each trip (usually between 31 and 45 days), but double-check for any restrictions before you buy.
Things to keep in mind
Whatever policy one decides to opt for, there are certain things one must cross-check. Key ones being destination, duration of stay, possible medical expenses, (including sports/activity-related injuries in case your focus is thrill or adventure travel), the cash and valuables you will be carrying, trip cancellations in case of multi-trips and policy limits and exclusions.
Destination is crucial as most insurance companies have separate cover for Europe and the rest of the world. Some worldwide policies even exclude the US, Canada and the Caribbean. The level of cover and feature varies from country-to-country and plan-to-plan.
Though every policy offers basic medical cover for unexpected or new injuries and illnesses, one must ensure that they are covered for all medical emergencies. All existing medical conditions must be declared before the purchase of the policy, otherwise there are chances of denial.
The cancellation cover must be enough to encompass the pre-paid cost of the trip(s). The cost of emergency items of clothing should also be accounted for in case the luggage is misplaced and damaged by the airline.
Both plans have different uses and advantages. The choosing criteria is solely based on one’s requirements and policy options. A single or multi-trip travel insurance policy makes your journey worthwhile and provides you complete peace of mind in a foreign territory.
(The writer is CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance)