You need to purchase your policy before you need it. You can’t wait to buy your insurance until something happens that precludes you from traveling. You can’t make a deposit on your trip, then break your leg, and then purchase your trip insurance. You are purchasing insurance to protect you from what could occur, not what has already happened. You can’t buy auto insurance after you crash your car either.
So, when is the best time to purchase your insurance? While you can purchase a policy up until the day before your trip starts, it doesn’t make sense to do so. Your policy will cost the same whether you buy it the day or a year before you start your trip. So why wait? Buying earlier won’t save you money, but it can give you more benefits for the same investment. And you’re less likely to forget to buy it, as you get busy preparing for your trip. [box]You can purchase travel insurance up until the day before you depart.[/box]
Many policies offer coverage options that are only available if you buy within two weeks of your initial trip deposit. For example, many plans offer a waiver of pre-existing medical conditions if purchased within 14 days of your initial trip deposit. If you’re currently able to travel, but are being treated (or have seen a doctor within a specified amount of time) for a medical condition, you can be protected if you have to cancel because of this condition – if you buy your insurance in a timely manner.
Policies with Cancel for Any Reason provisions must also be purchased in a specified amount of time after your initial trip deposit. If you want the freedom to change your mind about traveling for any reason, you can – if you purchase your insurance soon after you make your first trip payment.
If you haven’t finalized your travel plans and don’t know you total cost, you can still purchase you policy within the 14 day window that allows you to get waiver of pre-existing medical conditions or cancel for any reason. Most policies allow you to add to your policy as your travel costs change. Just make sure you add additional costs in a timely manner in order to maintain coverage.
What are you waiting for? If you’ve just booked your trip, buy your insurance now to have the opportunity to get the most options for coverage.
Don’t worry though – you can cover yourself during your trip as long as you purchase your travel insurance up until the day before you travel. It’s (almost) never too late.