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When to buy travel insurance?

When is the best time to get travel insurance?

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Written by  Jake Edmonds
5 min read
Updated: 13 Feb 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.

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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. It's particularly crucial for overseas trips, where medical bills for accidents or illnesses can be exorbitant.

When to purchase travel insurance

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 a crucial aspect of your travel insurance policy.

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.

Timing for arranging travel insurance

It's imperative to arrange travel insurance as soon as any payment towards the trip is made. This ensures that you're covered for cancellations from the outset, safeguarding the investments you've made in your holiday.

What is not covered by travel insurance

However, 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.

  • Traveling against official advice.

  • High-risk activities without additional cover.

  • High-value items exceeding the claim limit.

Duration of travel insurance coverage

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.

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.

Purchasing insurance while already travelling

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.

Starting annual travel tnsurance

For those who travel frequently, starting an annual policy as soon as a trip is booked is beneficial for year-round cancellation cover. It's a cost-effective way to ensure that you're covered for every trip you take within a 12-month period.

End date of travel insurance policy

Understanding the end date of your travel insurance policy is crucial. 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.

Comparing travel insurance with MoneySuperMarket

Choosing the right travel insurance policy can be daunting, but MoneySuperMarket offers a comparison tool to simplify the process. The platform allows you to compare various options, including specialist policies and add-ons, ensuring you find the perfect fit for your needs.

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.

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

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