The Cost of Delay: When Is It Too Late To Buy Travel Insurance? - Yonder (2024)

October 27, 2023 - Meagan Palmer

The Cost of Delay: When Is It Too Late To Buy Travel Insurance? - Yonder (1)

Picture this: You’re leaving for a trip in two weeks. In the haste of your planning and packing, you just realized buying travel insurance would be a good idea. But now the question becomes: when is it too late to 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. However, your coverage will be broader if you purchase it while booking your trip. In fact, many coverage types require advance purchase -–especially if you’re interested in cancellation coverage. Even so, there are policies you can buy, even up to the night before you leave.

Here’s what we recommend and the deadlines you need to hit if you want to get the best coverage in your travel insurance.

Table of Contents

  • When is it too late to buy travel insurance?
  • When is the best time to buy travel insurance?
  • Can I buy travel insurance right after booking my flight?
  • Can I get travel insurance within 21 days of booking my trip?
  • Can I purchase travel insurance the day before my trip?
  • Can I buy travel insurance when I’m already on my trip?
  • Where can I buy travel insurance?
  • What’s next?
The Cost of Delay: When Is It Too Late To Buy Travel Insurance? - Yonder (2)

When is it too late to buy travel insurance?

Technically, you can buy travel insurance at any point -–even when you’re already traveling. However, the policy and the amount of coverage available will be more limited the longer you wait.

The only time coverage becomes impossible is when an “unforeseen circ*mstance” becomes foreseen or evident. Let’s use car insurance as an example. Say you get in an accident without insurance to cover the damage or expenses. You can’t get insurance after the accident to cover it; that’s just not how insurance works.

Likewise, you can’t get Trip Cancellation coverage when the hurricane already hit your destination. And you can’t get coverage for a medical emergency while traveling after the fact.

When is the best time to buy travel insurance?

As soon as you make your first trip payment or deposit (considered your “initial trip deposit date”). Booking early is the best-case scenario, even if you’re not looking for any time-sensitive coverage. Buying early can give you the most comprehensive coverage, even if something bad happens soon after purchasing, making you cancel the trip.

Even if you booked a last-minute trip, you can still get travel insurance. At this point, you can probably find coverage for certain events, like if you need to be hospitalized or your flight gets delayed.

Thankfully, most medical and general travel coverage isn’t affected by the date of purchase. Those coverage types are only active during your trip, and you can only purchase travel insurance before you depart. You generally need to purchase within 1-21 days of your initial trip deposit date if you want these coverages:

  • Cancel For Any Reason*
  • Pre-Existing Medical Condition*

*Requirements vary by provider.

To sum it up, most pre-departure coverage revolves around unforeseen circ*mstances affecting your travel. So the sooner you purchase travel insurance, the more likely your trip will be covered.

Pro Tip: We don’t recommend purchasing travel insurance before booking your trip. Why? Because you might not get as much coverage as you need. Or you’ll pay for way more coverage than you need. We recommend increasing your travel insurance coverage as you make additional payments toward your trip. However, if you’re entire trip is paid for, by all means, insure the full cost! You can get started now by using our handy instant quote tool below.

Can I buy travel insurance right after booking my flight?

Absolutely! And if you know your total trip costs, we’d say this is the best time to buy travel insurance. This is also because you’re only eligible for many valuable benefits of travel insurance if you purchase early.

Especially if you have concerns about pre-existing conditions, you’ll want to purchase travel insurance right away. This way, you can secure coverage even if your pre-existing condition worsens or flares up during your trip.

For example, if your pre-existing medical condition causes you to seek medical care during your trip or come home early. Then you’ll want access to Pre-Existing Medical Condition coverage. This coverage is very time-sensitive; many policies won’t include a pre-existing condition exclusion waiver if you miss the specified time-sensitive purchase period. So, if this is a concern, get an instant quote below and compare travel insurance plans today.

Pro Tip: You might have some coverage with your credit card, airline, or cruise line. But their terms and conditions can be extremely limited. Their coverage also might not be enough for what you really need. Travel insurance through a travel supplier (like a cruise or airline) is usually quite limited and often more expensive than what’s offered by third parties. You can start comparing quotes from the best third-party options in the industry with the quote tool below.

Can I get travel insurance within 21 days of booking my trip?

Yes. In this timeframe, you can generally access most coverage benefits as well. Purchasing early can get you the broadest coverage in case you need to cancel your trip (for a covered reason). These coverages are typically only available if you buy within 21 days of your initial trip deposit date. If you’re concerned about travel advisories, travel supplier bankruptcy, or changes in your work schedule, you’ll want these coverages:

  • Natural Disaster Coverage: You’re heading to a destination where there’s any chance a natural disaster could hit.
  • Cancel for Any Reason Coverage: You can anticipate that there’s any chance you might want to cancel your trip.
  • Cancel for Work Reasons: You have an unpredictable job or work schedule.
  • Financial Default Coverage: You want protection if the travel company you’re working with (and already paid) shuts down for any reason.

Can I purchase travel insurance the day before my trip?

Maybe you’re going over the packing list the night before departure and realize you want to buy travel protection. Or you planned a last-minute trip and still want to insure it before you leave.

Either way, you can buy a last-minute travel insurance policy. At this point, it’s still possible to get a plan that includes Trip Cancellation and trip interruption nsurance. Then you can get coverage if you have to cancel for an unforeseen circ*mstance or cut your trip short. This includes including death, illness, or injury, anytime up until the day before your trip departure.

Purchasing the night before your trip works. That’s because trip insurance goes into effect the day after you purchase it. So if it’s midnight on the day of your departure, it’s too late to buy comprehensive travel insurance. Anytime before that works!

The critical thing to know is you need to buy coverage before the bad thing happens. So if you get injured before buying travel insurance, you can’t buy it afterward, cancel your trip, and expect to get a refund of your pre-trip costs.

The Cost of Delay: When Is It Too Late To Buy Travel Insurance? - Yonder (5)

Can I buy travel insurance when I’m already on my trip?

If you find yourself on your trip and realize you forgot to buy travel insurance, you’re in luck. You can still buy travel insurance. However, at this point, you’ll want to look for an international medical policy, also known as a travel medical plan.

Unfortunately, these travel medical plans won’t include trip cancellation coverage or benefit upgrades like Pre-Existing Condition waivers.

On the bright side, this plan will likely have Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation coverage, at the very least, should any unexpected medical issues arise. Plus, they usually include a 24/7 emergency assistance provider that can help in an emergency.

Some of these policies will also include Trip Interruption insurance, which will refund you any unused prepaid expenses if you have to cut your trip short for other unexpected reasons, such as illness, injury, or death. It might even cover additional Travel Loss and Delay expenses incurred as a result of those unforeseen reasons.

Again, travel insurance generally needs to be purchased before a bad thing happens (while it’s still considered “unforeseen”) -–not after.

The Cost of Delay: When Is It Too Late To Buy Travel Insurance? - Yonder (6)

Where can I buy travel insurance?

Right here. Our travel insurance comparison tool makes it easy to compare the top travel insurance policies in the industry –all in one place. Comparing the plans side-by-side lets you easily find the most comprehensive coverage for the most affordable price. Our filters also let you narrow down policies with the benefits you need.

The Cost of Delay: When Is It Too Late To Buy Travel Insurance? - Yonder (7)

What’s next?

When is it too late to buy travel insurance? Only when an “unforeseen circ*mstance” becomes evident. That’s why it’s best to purchase trip protection as early as possible. Then, you can have peace of mind and enjoy the planning process before your departure date. If you have other questions, check out the top travel insurance questions being asked right now.

You can compare the best travel insurance plans side-by-side with our quote tool below. This makes it simple to find the most comprehensive coverage at the most affordable price. Using our filters can help make sure you get the benefits you need added to your plan.

Meagan Palmer

The Cost of Delay: When Is It Too Late To Buy Travel Insurance? - Yonder (9)

As a seasoned professional with over five years of experience in the travel insurance industry, Meagan has honed her expertise in marketing and operations working for Yonder Travel Insurance.Throughout her career, she's shown dedication assisting customers at every stage of their travel insurance journey, from the initial quote process to navigating the claims process. Her expert understanding of travel insurance equips her to provide unbiased and valuable insights, which help travelers find the best coverage and maximize its benefits.

Tags: travel insurance

The Cost of Delay: When Is It Too Late To Buy Travel Insurance? - Yonder (2024)


How late is too late to buy travel insurance? ›

Purchasing the night before your trip works. That's because trip insurance goes into effect the day after you purchase it. So if it's midnight on the day of your departure, it's too late to buy comprehensive travel insurance. Anytime before that works!

How late can you take out travel insurance? ›

CAN I BUY TRAVEL INSURANCE LAST MINUTE? Yes, even if you've left it until the eleventh hour, it's still possible to get travel insurance. However, each provider generally has its own cut-off point for when you can buy cover and what that cover can include.

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).

Is it better to buy travel insurance early or late? ›

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.

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.

Does travel insurance cover cancelled flights? ›

Cancellation cover is a common inclusion with most standard travel insurance policies, but you can take it out separately if it doesn't offer enough cover. Alternatively, if you only want cancellation cover to protect you against cancelled flights rather than baggage protection, you can get it for that.

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.

Does travelers insurance have a grace period? ›

No, Travelers does not let you pay late, unless you live in a state like Washington or Florida with laws requiring that car insurance providers offer their customers a grace period. In other states, insurance companies are not required to extend a grace period for late payments to their customers.

What is the best travel insurance company? ›

The Best International Travel Insurance Providers in Detail
  • Faye. Our Top Pick. ...
  • Travelex. Our pick for families. ...
  • Nationwide Travel Insurance. Our pick for most coverage reimbursed. ...
  • Tin Leg. Our pick for customizable coverage. ...
  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. ...
  • Seven Corners Travel Insurance. ...
  • AIG Travel Guard.

What is the most common travel insurance claim? ›

By far, the most common and often most significant travel insurance claim is for medical emergencies. A sudden illness or injury during your trip can not only ruin your plans but also cause a severe financial strain.

Does AARP offer international travel insurance? ›

While there are no AARP travel insurance products or discounts available for seniors, members can use the AARP website for trips and tricks on how to plan for international travel and information regarding how to choose the right insurance plan for older travelers.

Can you buy travel insurance at the airport? ›

You can buy a travel insurance policy even when you're at the airport about to board the plane. Most insurers, including us, offer travel insurance policies until you have gone through customs at the airport. We can't provide post-departure policies – once you've entered the country or are halfway through your trip.

Can you buy travel insurance anytime? ›

While you'll likely get better coverage if you buy a policy soon after making an initial payment on your trip, it's still possible to buy a plan if your trip is days away — or if you've already departed.

Is Allianz a good travel insurance company? ›

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.

Can you buy travel insurance after you've left? ›

The short answer is: Yes you can. Many insurers provide policies that you can buy after you've left home for your trip. Just remember that travel health insurance that you buy after departure won't cover anything that happened before you bought the plan.

Can I buy travel insurance the day of? ›

Some travel medical plans are available for purchase after you have departed, but comprehensive plans that include medical coverage must be purchased before departing. However, you can't buy any medical coverage once you recognize a need for medical attention. The same applies to all travel insurance coverage.

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