Last Minute Travel Insurance

Published by March 8, 2011

Last minute travel is becoming very popular.  It is increasingly easier to quickly find the last minute travel deals from travel comparison websites and through social media.  For those booking last minute travel and also interested in travel insurance, a few helpful tips can avoid a frustrating claim experience.

The absolute last chance to purchase a policy is the day of departure, however, coverage does not begin until the following day.  This means the outward journey might not be covered, depending on the times and dates of the travel itinerary.  This will also limit your options because only some insurance carriers will sell a policy on the departure date.  Buying a policy at least one day before travel will give a wider selection of plans and will cover incidents that might occur on the actual departure date.

Don’t buy a policy to cover something that has already happened.  Some travelers realize their trip is going to be affected by something that is happening now or in the recent past and begin shopping for insurance.  It is important to understand, incidents that occurred before the policy was purchased are not covered.  For example, if you are hospitalized just before the trip, then buy a policy and try to cancel the trip, your claim would be denied.  This concept is also imperative when considering insurance for a recent terrorist attack, a hurricane threatening your destination or volcanic ash clouds that could delay your flight.  Once an event has occurred or is considered foreseeable, a new policy will not cover that event.

Cancel for any reason coverage will not work for the last minute booking.  This benefit requires you to cancel the trip at least two days before departure.  Once you are within two days of the trip, you are not able to file a claim under cancel for any reason.  A policy can still have trip cancellation coverage, which allows you to cancel the trip for a covered reason, but it is too late to get cancel for any reason coverage.

You won’t get a better price by waiting until the last minute.  Almost all travel insurance costs the same whether the trip is 6 months away or 1 day away.  This means buying a policy earlier will cost the same but will cover trip cancellation for a longer period of time.  Only plans from CSA become less expensive when the departure date is close, however, once the trip is a month away, the change in cost is negligible.