Travelers can purchase travel insurance at any time, even after they have started a trip. Those who have purchased insurance directly from a travel supplier before may be under the impression that insurance is only available at the time of booking the arrangements. However, travelers may still have options available as they near or begin their trip.
The earlier travelers purchase insurance, the more options they will have. Specific benefits are time-sensitive, and may only be available to travelers for a short time after their initial booking date. For example, those who are looking for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions or who want cancel for any reason coverage will need to purchase their insurance within 14-30 of their first booking date.
Those looking for cancellation coverage can purchase travel insurance up until the day before their departure, as the policy will go into effect the day after purchase. Therefore, the sooner a cancellation policy is purchased, the sooner coverage will begin. In order for travelers to protect themselves from unforeseen events causing a trip cancellation, it is recommended that travelers purchase a travel insurance policy soon after they begin booking their trip.
For travelers who have already left for their trip, international medical policies will still typically be available. These will provide emergency medical, medical evacuation and sometimes trip interruption coverage. Many times, these policies will also provide coverage for an unforeseen recurrence of a pre-existing medical condition.
While it is recommend that travelers purchase insurance within 14-30 days of booking their trip in order to have the most options available, it is not too late to consider a policy in the days before departure or even after a trip has begun.