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When to buy travel insurance?

When is the best time to get travel insurance?

Jake Edmonds
Written by  Jake Edmonds
5 min read
Updated: 30 Apr 2024

The sooner you buy travel insurance after booking a trip, the sooner you’re protected against any eventualities – from breaking your leg to your holiday company going bust – that force you to change your plans. That’s why it’s best to buy travel cover on the day you book your holiday.

Key takeaways

  • The best time to buy travel insurance is after booking your trip

  • Travel insurance offers pre-departure cover for cancellations and travel changes

  • Single trip travel insurance cover lasts from the day you buy your policy to your return home date

  • You can still buy travel insurance at the last minute or even after you've departed

Man and woman looking at map

When to purchase travel insurance

When planning a holiday, one of the key considerations should be how to protect your trip from unforeseen events. Travel insurance covers you against any costs or losses involved when things go wrong while you’re on holiday. From medical emergencies to lost luggage, travel insurance is an essential tool for ensuring peace of mind.

The best time to secure travel insurance is immediately after booking your holiday. Whether you opt for single trip cover or an annual travel policy that covers all your trips for the next 12 months, the cancellation benefits kick in as soon as the policy comes into effect. Procrastinating on this purchase could mean missing out on these vital benefits.

Cover before the trip

Travel insurance isn't just for when you're abroad; it provides a safety net for issues that might occur before you even start your journey. It can cover cancellations due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances such as illness, accidents, death in the family, redundancy, bankruptcy of a travel provider, and even pregnancy-related issues.

This pre-departure coverage is an important aspect of your travel insurance policy and without it you may be missing out on valuable financial support.

Cover during the trip

Once you embark on your trip, your travel insurance continues to protect you. Here's what you can usually expect:

  • Medical cover: pays out for emergency treatment and repatriation costs, but usually excludes any costs related to pre-existing medical conditions you did not declare on your policy.

  • Baggage cover: pays out if items such as your suitcase or handbag with your important documents are lost, stolen or damaged. May also cover lost or stolen cash up to a certain amount.

  • Disruption cover: pays out for disruptions to your plans including cancelled flights and involuntary curtailments.

  • Legal cover: assists with legal fees related to incidents that may occur during your trip.

Every policy is different and while these are common inclusions, be sure to check your policy documents to see what is and is not covered in your policy.

What is not covered by travel insurance?

It's important to be aware of what typically isn't covered by travel insurance:

  • Changing your mind about traveling.

  • Reckless behaviour leading to accidents or losses.

  • Undeclared pre-existing conditions.

  • Travelling to a destination against Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advice.

  • High-risk activities without additional cover.

  • High-value items exceeding the claim limit.

How long does travel insurance cover last?

The duration of your travel insurance coverage depends on the type of policy you choose:

  • Single trip cover ends on the day you are due to return home from the trip in question.

  • Annual multi-trip cover lasts for 12 months from the start date you chose for your policy.

  • Long-stay cover, like single-trip cover, protects you for a specific period and ends on the date you are due to return home.

Check the end date of your travel insurance policy

Understanding the end date of your travel insurance policy is very important. Whether you've chosen single trip, annual multi-trip, or long-stay coverage, knowing when your protection begins and ends is key to ensuring you're fully protected during your travels.

In some emergency cases, insurance providers can extend the end date of your policy if you're unable to get home. For example, if a natural disaster has stranded you in another country, your provider will most likely keep your policy until you've managed to get home safely.

When is it too late to buy travel insurance?

For most travellers, there are options available If you've already started traveling and realise you need insurance, it's possible to buy post-departure insurance. However, options may be limited, more expensive, and there might be a waiting period before coverage starts.

The cost of last-minute travel insurance

For the spontaneous traveller, last-minute travel insurance can be a lifesaver. It can be bought right up to the day you travel, with policies available online even from the airport or departure port. However, keep in mind that booking last minute means you'll miss out on the cancellation benefits that could have been available earlier.

Comparing travel insurance with MoneySuperMarket

Travel insurance is an indispensable part of holiday planning. It's a small price to pay for the reassurance it provides, allowing you to enjoy your travels with the confidence that you're protected against the unexpected. As you prepare for your next adventure, remember to secure your travel insurance as soon as your trip is booked. With the right policy in place, you can look forward to a stress-free holiday experience.

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