When should you buy travel insurance?

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Many travelers think they can buy travel insurance anytime before their trip, and assume they will be covered if anything happens that impacts their travels. However, depending on the specific benefits and the type of coverage you are interested in, the timeline for when you should buy a travel insurance policy varies.

Trip Cancellation

Most travelers who buy travel insurance want their policies to include Trip Cancellation coverage, to refund their prepaid and non-refundable trip costs if they can’t take their trip. This benefit is available up until the day before you leave for your trip.

However, travel insurance only covers unforeseen events. This means you can only be covered for an event that occurs after you buy your policy.

For example, if you have a trip planned to the Dominican Republic, and a hurricane is named that is going to affect your trip, it is too late to buy coverage for that occur. You can only be covered if your policy was in place before the storm was named.

Cancel For Any Reason

If you are concerned about canceling your trip for a reason not covered under Trip Cancellation, such as fear of traveling or just not wanting to take your trip, Cancel For Any Reason can partially refund your trip expenses.

Cancel For Any Reason is a time-sensitive travel insurance benefit, meaning it is only available for 14-21 days after you make your initial trip payment. This is the very first payment you make that shows your intent to travel, such as a hotel reservation or flight tickets, even if it is just a small down payment toward the trip.

Pre-Existing Conditions

Pre-Existing Condition coverage is another time-sensitive benefit that is only available for 14-21 days after you make your first trip payment. Pre-existing conditions are excluded by travel insurance, unless you buy a policy with this coverage. A policy with the Pre-Existing Condition benefit can provide medical coverage for a pre-existing condition in the event of an emergency during you trip, just as it would for a new medical condition.

Other Benefits

Most travel insurance policies are comprehensive. As long as you buy a policy the day before you leave for your trip or sooner, your policy will include the other main benefits offered within the policy, including benefits for medical emergencies, travel delays, and lost or delayed luggage.