When Should I Buy Travel Insurance?



Buying within 14 days of your trip purchase can sometimes be the difference that makes all the difference.

“Timing is everything” is a saying that readily applies to activities from trading stocks to planning a vacation. And, believe it or not, it has great relevance to purchasing travel insurance too.

You can purchase a policy any time from the moment your make your major trip purchases such as the payment for your cruise, hotel rooms, or airline tickets up until the day before you actually begin your trip. This certainly gives you great flexibility. But one facet of travel insurance many people don’t consider is the huge benefit of buying a policy within 14 days of making your major trip purchases. When you do this, you are eligible for both a pre-existing condition waiver and cancel-for-any-reason coverage.

These additional features mean a great deal if you have to file certain kinds of claims. With the pre-existing condition waiver, for example, the insurance company doesn’t need to request your doctor’s records, which makes the claims process much easier for the company and much faster for you. There’s no debate over whether or not your condition existed before you bought the insurance. And you’ll be paid sooner. This coverage can also mean a great deal to people who have ongoing but manageable conditions such as diabetes, heart issues, or circulation problems in their legs or joints. Normally, these conditions can easily be controlled. But sometimes something comes up that keeps a person from traveling. When this happens, the pre-existing condition waiver is extremely important.

Likewise, the cancel-for-any-reason coverage gives you more flexibility to cancel your vacation for reasons that are not normally covered in your policy. You can simply change your mind, if you want to. Cancel-for-any-reason coverage is perfect for people with chronic illnesses that can flare up, and, although your doctor may say you are still well enough to travel, you just aren’t in the mood to do so. 

“Why 14 days?”

Many people ask this question. And the reason for the 14-day limit is to help insurance companies prevent fraud. For example, a person pays for a trip but not for travel insurance and then learns that he has a serious heart condition that prevents him from going. So, he runs out to buy travel insurance in the hopes of cancelling the trip and getting his investment back. In a way, this is like an uninsured motorist getting into a traffic accident and then trying to get automobile insurance after the fact. The same basic principle applies for the cancel-for-any-reason coverage. Perhaps a person books a cruise and then decides she doesn’t want to go. The 14-day limit discourages her from trying to buy travel insurance after she already has plans to make a claim and pass the bulk of the trip expense on to the insurance company.  

Now, it’s not always important to purchase the insurance within 14 days. If you don’t have to worry about a pre-existing condition or cancel-for-any-reason coverage, for example, you can buy your insurance up to the day before you depart and receive medical coverage,  trip interruption coverage, travel delay coverage, and other benefits.

The Bottom Line

As a general rule, I highly recommend getting travel insurance within 14 days of your main trip purchase or purchases. Even if you don’t have a pre-existing condition, you always have the option to change your mind about your trip and get your claim resolved with relative speed and ease. You won’t get a better value.

If you have additional questions about these subjects, feel free to call or email us. There is no obligation to buy. We’re just happy to help.

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