June 2, 2021 - Meagan Palmer
Picture this: You’re leaving for a trip in 2 weeks and you JUST realized that travel insurance would probably be a really good idea. We’ve all been there. But now the question is…is it too late? If you’ve been there (or ever will be!), we’ve got some good news: You can buy travel insurance at any point–even when you’ve already started your trip.
That said, your coverage options will change pretty drastically the longer you wait to purchase your insurance. While the price will typically stay the same no matter when you book, your coverage selection will be much broader if you purchase your travel insurance right when you book your trip. In fact, there are several types of travel insurance that require advance purchase.
Here’s what you’re looking at in terms of deadlines for purchasing insurance:
There are various valuable benefits that must be purchased within a specific time frame in order to remain eligible for them. However, if you have concerns about pre-existing conditions, you’ll want to purchase right after booking your trip. This way, you secure coverage if your condition worsens or flares up during your trip. The time frame to buy this benefit is anywhere from 24 hours – 21 days from your initial deposit, depending on the provider you purchase from.
For example, If you have a pre-existing medical condition that may cause you to seek out care or come home early, you’ll want to purchase travel insurance right after you book your trip so you have access to Pre-Existing Medical Condition coverage. This one is critical, as it’s very time-sensitive. Many policies won’t grant you a pre-existing condition exclusion waiver if you miss the post-booking time frame, so act fast!
If you have concerns related to the pandemic, travel supplier bankruptcy, or work, purchasing early can get you much-needed benefits in case any one of these things causes you to cancel your trip. The following types of travel insurance provide coverage for these worries, so make sure you buy within 10-14 days (depending on the insurance provider) of booking your trip:
Planning a trip is a massive feat and it’s understandable that you might put off purchasing travel insurance. On the other hand, you might have planned a last-minute trip and still want to insure it before departing.
Either way, you can buy a plan that includes Trip Cancellation Insurance that will cover you if you have to cancel for an unforeseen circumstance, including death, illness, or injury, anytime up until the day before your trip departure. This is because the insurance will go into effect the day after you purchase it, so you can’t buy it the day of your departure…but anytime before that works. The main issue here is that you have to get coverage before the circumstance arises. So if you get injured before you buy insurance, you can’t buy the insurance and cancel your trip and receive a refund of your trip costs.
If you find yourself on your trip and realize that you forgot to get travel insurance, there are still some coverage options available to you. Look for an international medical policy, also known as a travel medical plan. Unfortunately, travel medical plans won’t offer specific coverage like Cancel for Any Reason or Pre-Existing Condition waivers. On the bright side, getting this type of plan means you’ll likely be able to get at least Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation coverage should any unexpected medical issues arise.
Some of these policies will also include Trip Interruption insurance, which will reimburse you for any unused prepaid expenses if you have to cut your trip short for other unexpected reasons, such as illness, injury, or death. It might even cover additional Travel Loss and Delay expenses incurred as a result of those unforeseen reasons. Again, the biggest thing to keep in mind here is that the insurance generally has to be purchased before the circumstance arises–not after.
The purpose of travel insurance is to protect the money you’ve paid towards your vacation if something comes up causing you to cancel your trip. Instead of losing your money like you may without travel insurance, your policy could reimburse you for those nonrefundable costs in cash. You might already have some coverage with your credit card, airline, or cruiseline, but be wary of their terms and conditions –the coverage you have with them might not be enough. These travel suppliers’ insurance options are quite limited and often more expensive than what’s offered by third parties.
Travel insurance is much more than just Trip Cancellation coverage though! It can also provide benefits in the event of a travel or medical emergency. For example, most stateside health insurance policies won’t provide medical coverage once you leave the country. With a travel insurance policy in hand on your vacation though, you can receive reimbursements for most medical charges you receive if you have to go to the hospital or clinic. Plus, if your trip is delayed due to a covered reason, you could get reimbursed for extra hotel and meal costs while you wait for the next flight out.
At Yonder, we recommend purchasing insurance soon after making your first trip payment or deposit, even if you’re not looking to purchase any time-sensitive coverage. This ensures you’ll have benefits in case something bad happens the following day which would cancel your trip.
We don’t recommend purchasing travel insurance before making your bookings since you might end up under or over-insuring your trip –the total cost or deposit amount could be unknown before that point. Our best tip is to insure what you’ve paid so far and then increase your travel insurance coverage as you make additional payments towards your trip. However, if you’ve paid all your trip costs upfront, by all means, insure the full cost!
As we said, it pays to shop around for travel insurance. Using Yonder’s travel insurance comparison site allows you to look at the top policies in the industry, all in one place!
You can compare plans side-by-side as well so you can get the most comprehensive coverage at the most affordable price. Using our filters can help make sure you get the benefits you need added with your plan.
We’ve said it before but we want to make sure we say it again…the only time that it’s too late to get travel insurance is after an “unforeseen circumstance” becomes a “known circumstance”. So we recommend thinking carefully about what kind of coverage you might need and purchasing it as early as possible to make sure you’re all set and can enjoy the process of planning and going on your trip!
We want to make sure that purchasing travel insurance is as easy of an experience as possible for you. Use our Instant Quote Tool to figure out what coverage you can get and how much it’ll cost whether you just booked your trip or you’re already on it. And you can always reach out to us at [email protected] or 855-358-6433 if you have any other questions–we’re here to help make sure you’re covered, no matter what comes up.