Can I Buy Travel Insurance After Booking? - NerdWallet (2024)

When you’re planning a trip away from home, travel insurance provides peace of mind, especially for pricey vacations. Maybe you’ve already started booking a trip and only now realized travel insurance might be a good idea. You may be wondering, “Can I buy travel insurance after booking my trip or purchasing plane tickets?”

The short answer is: Yes, you can.

However, timing is everything when it comes to buying travel insurance — and some options won’t be available if you wait too long. Here's a look at buying travel insurance, the best times to purchase it and when it’s too late to get it.

When can you buy travel insurance?

Depending on what you’re doing, travel insurance can provide coverage for a variety of situations, including medical care, trip delays, lost luggage and even trip cancellation.

If travel insurance is something you’re considering, you’ll want to purchase it sooner rather than later — but not before booking your travel.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Many travel credit cards come with complimentary travel insurance.

Before booking

You won’t want to buy insurance before you book any travel, especially if you aren’t firm on your plans. Policies such as trip cancellation insurance are meant to protect you against nonrefundable losses that you have incurred. If you haven’t booked your travel yet, you won’t know your out-of-pocket costs or how much coverage you’ll need.

After booking

While it’s not recommended to purchase travel insurance before booking travel, you’ll want to do so as soon as your reservations are made. At this point, you can expect to see the greatest number of options to choose from, including Cancel For Any Reason insurance.

It is possible to purchase travel insurance up until the very last minute — most insurance companies will allow you to buy a policy until the day before departure. Keep in mind that your options will be limited if you wait, however, and some benefits such as trip cancellation and interruption may no longer be available.

» Learn more: How to find the best travel insurance

When is the best time to buy travel insurance?

The best time to purchase travel insurance is as soon as your reservations have been made. Waiting a long period of time after booking your trip can make you ineligible for certain types of insurance. Examples of this include:

  • Pre-existing medical condition insurance. This is time-sensitive insurance and allows for treatment for existing medical conditions if they’re aggravated by travel. You’ll need to be medically fit to travel at the time you purchase this coverage. You must also insure 100% of your trip. Finally, the time period you have to buy the insurance will vary according to the provider; generally, you’ll be expected to purchase this 10 to 21 days after first putting down a deposit.

  • Cancel For Any Reason insurance. As the name suggests, this insurance allows you to cancel your trip and receive a portion of your nonrefundable costs back, no matter the reason why you’re canceling. Typically, you’ll need to purchase CFAR insurance 10 to 21 days after putting down your initial deposit. Providers may also require you to cancel your trip earlier than 48 to 72 hours before your scheduled departure.

Finally, your ability to buy travel insurance evaporates if you aren’t already covered when an event arises. Just like you are unable to buy cell phone insurance when you’ve already cracked your screen, you can’t buy most types of travel insurance if your trip has already been affected.

Let’s say that you booked a trip to France last June. You’ve been intending to buy trip cancellation insurance but have been putting it off. However, just two weeks before you’re set to leave, you slip down a set of stairs and break your leg. Now you’re rocking a set of crutches and there’s no way you’re fitting in that economy class seat you’d booked.

Trip cancellation insurance would have covered you for any nonrefundable purchases you’d made due to your unforeseen injury. But now that your leg is already broken, it’s no longer an option. Because trip cancellation insurance isn’t retroactive, you’ll just have to absorb the cost.

» Learn more: Trip cancellation insurance explained

When is it too late to buy travel insurance?

How close to a trip can you buy insurance? We’ve outlined some specific situations above in which you’re no longer able to buy travel insurance, including time-sensitive policies that must be purchased soon after you make your reservations.

Otherwise, you’re able to buy most types of travel insurance all the way until the day before you begin traveling. Any time after that — even 12:01 a.m. on your departure date — and it’s too late to insure your trip.

Can you buy travel insurance at the airport?

No, you can’t buy travel insurance at the airport. You also can’t buy it when you’ve already boarded your cruise, you’ve chosen not to attend a tour or your flight is so late it causes you to miss your connection.

» Learn more: What does travel insurance cover?

If you want to buy travel insurance after booking

Travel insurance can be a good idea for many reasons, especially if you’re worried about anything going wrong during your trip or if you’ve invested a lot of money into a vacation. Happily, for procrastinators, most types of travel insurance are available after you’ve already booked your travel. You’ll simply need to make the purchase at least one day before travel.

However, there are some types of coverage that you’ll need to buy soon after booking or they won’t be available. These include Cancel for Any Reason insurance as well as pre-existing medical condition insurance. So if you are interested in buying travel insurance, purchasing a policy soon after booking your trip is the best way to go.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024, including those best for:

  • Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

  • Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

  • Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

  • Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Can I Buy Travel Insurance After Booking? - NerdWallet (2024)


Can you get travel insurance for a trip already booked? ›

You absolutely can buy travel insurance after booking your trip. However, it's always best to purchase insurance as early in the process as possible. If you procrastinate, you may miss out on certain benefits.

Can I add travel insurance after purchase? ›

You may be wondering if you can add travel insurance after booking. The answer is yes. In fact, the best time to buy travel insurance is shortly after you book your flight.

How late can I buy travel insurance? ›

The good news is that you can buy travel insurance at any point–even if you already started your trip. However, you might not get all the coverage you were hoping for. Your coverage options become more and more limited the longer you wait. The price typically stays the same no matter when you buy travel protection.

Do you buy trip insurance before or after booking? ›

In general, you can buy coverage any time before the date of your trip. That said, it's always best to buy coverage as soon as you make your reservations. The sooner you buy travel insurance, the sooner you'll be protected and the more benefits you may be eligible to receive.

Does travel insurance cover trip cancellations? ›

Comprehensive travel insurance typically covers canceled flights that delay your trip for at least 3–12 hours. If your flight is delayed more than 12 hours, you may even qualify for trip cancellation coverage, depending on your plan.

Is Allianz travel insurance good? ›

We at the MarketWatch Guides team awarded Allianz Travel Insurance 4.1 out of 5 stars based on our provider review methodology. Named our pick for concierge services, Allianz offers 24/7 travel assistance through a multilingual team, which can help policyholders with travel and coverage issues while abroad.

Does travel insurance get more expensive closer to the trip? ›

Unlike other aspects of your travel experience like airfares or hotel-room rates, the price of travel insurance doesn't increase the closer you get to your travel date. There's no financial penalty if you wait to buy travel insurance (except for those bonus coverages, of course).

Do I need travel insurance if I already have insurance? ›

Even if your health plan does cover you internationally, you may want to consider buying a special medical travel policy. Much of the additional coverage available is supplemental (or "secondary"), so it covers whatever expenses your health plan doesn't, such as deductibles.

How much in advance should I get travel insurance? ›

The golden rule is to buy your insurance as soon as you book your trip. This move will make you a savvy traveller because it means you're immediately protected against any pre-departure mishaps, like cancellations or health issues that prevent you from travelling.

How long in advance do you need travel insurance? ›

When to buy travel insurance can depend on the trip or trips you're taking and the kind of policy you choose to suit them. Usually, though, it's best to get cover in place for your holiday as soon as you've booked or made a financial commitment to it.

What is Travelers insurance grace period? ›

No, Travelers does not have a grace period unless required by state law. In states that don't have a mandatory grace period, Travelers may cancel a policy as soon as a payment is missed.

What does travel insurance not cover? ›

Travelling against medical advice or to get medical treatment. If your doctor says it's not safe for you to travel, then you won't be covered. Similarly, if you go abroad to get planned treatment, sometimes called 'medical tourism', a standard policy will not cover this – you'll need specialist insurance instead.

What is the difference between trip cancellation and trip insurance? ›

In short, trip cancellation coverage provides coverage for the money you would lose, while trip interruption coverage provides payment for the additional money for covered reasons you would have to spend to return home or resume your trip.

When should I buy trip cancellation? ›

It is advisable to purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip or holiday. For instance, travel insurance that includes trip cancellation benefits may help you recover non-refundable trip costs if you have to cancel your travel plans due to a covered reason in the run-up to your trip.

How much does travel insurance cost? ›

The average cost of travel insurance is about 3% to 5% of a trip's total value, according to quotes gathered by our research team across different travel insurance providers for various traveler profiles.

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