There is a large amount of time for the traveler to decide on a travel insurance policy. It is wise to purchase a policy when the cancellation penalties for the trip become effective. Before that time, there is no risk of loss, as the traveler would be refunded by the travel provider. With most policies, the last chance to buy travel insurance is 24 hours prior to departure. However, the longer one waits, the greater the chance that a pre-existing medical condition or other foreseeable event could develop, preventing the traveler from being covered. Always refer to the certificate of insurance for specific details.