If you have been spurred on by the dreary January weather to book a holiday, it pays to have travel insurance in place. We look at the pros and cons of single-trip versus annual travel cover.
There is no point waiting until the day before you leave to take out a travel insurance policy.
If you take cover out now, you will be able to claim if you need to cancel your trip for health reasons, say, between now and your departure date.
But it is also worth considering the extent of the cover you buy. Most people tend to buy policies just to protect them for the duration of a particular holiday.
More frequent travellers, however, should check whether it would be better value buying an annual policy which would cover them for any trips made in a 12-month period.
Making your choice
Mhairi Duffin, head of travel at Confused.com, says: "Basically the message is that if you know you'll only make one or two trips this year then you're fine to just take out single-trip insurance.
"Any more than that, however, and you might want to consider an annual travel insurance policy."
When you are shopping around for insurance, you will be able to compare the costs of individual policies with annual deals.
But, Duffin adds, there are often other advantages of taking out a year-round package.
Having an annual policy in place means you’re covered for any last-minute or unexpected trips you might make.
You are more likely to be protected against the costs of having to cancel a holiday if you have annual cover.
"Most people tend to take out single-trip insurance just before they travel meaning they're not getting the benefits of cancellation cover," Duffin says.
This could also be of benefit if you need to cancel a UK-based holiday, she adds.
"Most people don't bother to take out travel insurance if they're planning a trip in the UK or just visiting friends and family, but if you were forced to cancel your plans for any reason, having cover in place would mean you were able to claim back things like the cost of hotels or train tickets."
Annual policies can also cover extreme sports, though there are usually a maximum number of days of cover available.
"Check policy documents to make sure you're covered for any activities you have planned," Duffin says.
But watch out…
Annual policies do have some limits on the cover they offer, however.
Duffin explains: “Annual policies put a cap on how many days you can travel consecutively - usually around 31 days.
“If you're planning an extended trip you should look at backpacker insurance which will cover you for a much longer period."
And you should make sure you declare any pre-existing medical conditions when you purchase your annual cover.
"If you develop any medical conditions during the term of your policy then you should make your insurer aware of this."
A rough guide to prices
A single-trip policy to cover a holiday outside of Europe for a fortnight in July could cost £14, Duffin says.
But an annual policy with similar excesses and conditions starting on 1 February would be only £25.50.
For travel within Europe, single-trip cover could be as little as £6.15 for a fortnight in the summer, with annual European cover coming in at just over £13.