What is a Policy’s Effective Date?

When buying travel insurance, your policy’s Effective Date is the date your coverage begins. This date may vary depending on the type of policy you purchased, your purchase date, and your trip’s departure date.

Effective Dates by Policy Type

The type of coverage you choose has a direct impact on your effective date. See how the effective date is applied across the three main policy types:

  • Comprehensive Travel Insurance: Since comprehensive travel insurance plans include Trip Cancellation coverage, they go into effect sooner than other policy types. If you buy a comprehensive policy, your effective date will be 12:01 AM the day after the purchase was made.
    • Example: If you bought a travel insurance policy with cancellation coverage on July 14th, your effective date will be at 12:00 AM on July 15th.
  • Travel Medical: Since Travel Medical plans don’t offer any pre-departure benefits, such as Trip Cancellation or Cancel for Any Reason, the effective date of your policy will coincide with your trip’s departure date.
    • Example: If you bought a travel medical policy on July 14th for a trip with a departure date of August 3rd, your effective date will be 12:00 AM on August 3rd.
  • Annual (Multi-Trip): The effective date for Annual Travel Insurance is typically the departure date for your first scheduled trip. Coverage will then continue for 12 months after the effective date, regardless of how many trips you take in between.
    • Example: If you bought an Annual policy on July 14th and your first planned trip is scheduled for August 12th, your effective date will be 12:00 AM on August 12th and continue for 12 months.

How to Find Your Effective Date

In most cases, you will receive an email immediately after purchasing a plan that includes the most important policy details, including your effective dates, provider name, policy name, and important contact information. Be sure to save this email so that you can reference it later if needed.

If you can’t access your email, you can also call your provider directly to find the effective date of a recently purchased policy. You may need your policy number or credit card information handy for verification purposes.

Can I Cancel My Policy Before the Effective Date?

Yes, it’s possible to cancel your travel insurance policy before the effective date. Most travel insurance providers offer a Free Look Period that provides a window for travelers to cancel their policy and receive a full refund. This period usually lasts 10-14 days after a policy is purchased.

You may cancel your policy after the Free Look Period, but may not be eligible for a refund. Contact your provider directly to cancel or modify your coverage.

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