Is it possible to buy travel insurance last-minute? Yes, it is possible. It’s possible but it might not provide the coverage you need. You won’t be covered for cancellations if you are sick or hit by a hurricane if you don’t have travel insurance.
It is better to purchase travel insurance sooner, ideally shortly after booking your trip. This will provide you with the best coverage for your money, and it won’t cost extra.
Are you still without insurance? Not necessarily. These are some things to consider if you’re looking for last-minute travel insurance.
What is travel insurance?
When your trip does not go according to plan, travel insurance will protect you. If you have travel insurance, you don’t need to worry about things like lost luggage, delayed flights, severe weather, or medical emergencies. Some plans also offer legal referrals and lost passport assistance, so protection goes beyond financial.
Travel insurance is not a perfect safety net and has exclusions. You may not be as protected as you think. This is especially true if you wait until the last minute to buy travel insurance.
For example, some policies may not include trip cancellation insurance if you buy it within 48 hours of a trip, according to VisitorsCoverage.com. Pre-existing medical conditions can make it difficult for people to be covered if they do not buy policies soon after booking.
Websites like InsureMyTrip offer a variety options to cover an array of events including flight delays, extreme weather and even death.
When does travel coverage start?
The type of travel insurance you have will determine how you are covered.
Policies that include trip cancellation coverage typically take effect the day after the purchase. Even if your trip is less than two months away, cancellations are eligible for a refund.
Once you leave your home, all other benefits of travel insurance do not take effect. You can still use the majority of the benefits, except for trip cancellation, even if you buy travel insurance last-minute.
Some insurance companies require that a policy must be purchased within a specified time after you have booked your trip. There may also be restrictions on coverage, such as pre-existing conditions treatment.
Insurance is meant to cover unexpected events. If you buy insurance last-minute because you feel sick or a hurricane is approaching, you won’t be covered.
Be sure to be aware of deadlines and exclusions for policies before you make a purchase.
How long would you like the protection to last?
You can get travel insurance to protect you against terrorist attacks, weather disruptions, and family medical issues. This coverage is available even before you depart on your trip. However, this coverage is dependent on the date you purchase your insurance.
You’ll get coverage in case of an emergency if you purchase it before you book your trip. You won’t get as much coverage if you wait too late.
The more time you have protection for non-refundable expenses is what you need. You’ll also get more value if you buy your policy before you pay for your trip.
What coverage are you missing out on if you wait until the last minute to buy?
Some types of coverage are not available if you buy at the last moment. If you need the following protections for travel, it is important to plan ahead.
It must be purchased within two to three weeks of booking your travel. This type of “catch all” plan cannot be purchased after the deadline, which may vary depending on your insurance company.
If you have to cancel for COVID-19 reasons, fear, flying or any other reason, this plan will partially pay your upfront expenses
Pre-existing Medical Coverage
It is recommended to have travel insurance if you have any pre-existing conditions that could cause a trip cancellation. This way, if you are ever affected by a medical condition that could cause a disruption to your trip, you will have a plan of action in case it happens.
Although many insurance companies offer coverage for preexisting conditions, most require that you qualify for a waiver for your pre-existing condition. These waivers require that you purchase your policy within a certain time period after booking. Typically, this is between two and three weeks.
You may not be able to cancel your trip if your medical condition has advanced. Pre-existing conditions must be considered when a travel policy provides emergency medical coverage.
Travel insurance doesn’t often cover pre-existing conditions. It also doesn’t cover pregnancy, bad weather, and acts of war or mass destruction.
Trip cancellation coverage is most valuable when purchased soon after booking. You will often not receive cancellation coverage if you wait too long to buy travel insurance.
If you wait too long to buy trip cancellation insurance, there are other situations where you might not be eligible. You can’t buy travel insurance for any loss you might incur due to changing travel plans after a hurricane is named. You can’t purchase travel insurance if your leg is broken before you leave for your trip.
When can I rely upon a credit card or another included insurance?
Travel insurance is offered by many credit cards. Some cards even offer quite robust coverage, provided you travel with an eligible card. This coverage is especially helpful when you need to cover flight delays, lost luggage, or damage to your rental car.
Some resorts and tour operators may offer certain insurance options as part of their booking fees. Baha Mar, a Caribbean resort, and Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa, St. Lucia, offer insurance against hurricanes and guarantee no penalty if your travel plans are changed due to a storm.
SkySafari, a tour operator, offers medical evacuation insurance at no additional cost. It covers transportation from an airport to a hospital or medical facility via air ambulance in case of life-threatening circumstances.
When you have a problem, insurance offered by resorts and credit cards can help. If you have a large amount of money to spend on vacations or if you are traveling far from the main tourist areas, you may want to consider travel insurance.
A travel insurance policy typically has more comprehensive coverage and higher policy maximums than what come with a credit card, according to VisitorsCoverage.com. You may be limited to $10,000 in claims for a specific trip. Or, you may not have medical coverage.
Recap Last-minute Travel Insurance
Every traveler is willing to accept different levels of risk. Consider your health and the resources at your destination before you purchase travel insurance. It might be harder to obtain assistance on a remote island in Pacific than it is from central Paris.
You should also be aware of any coverage you have on your credit cards. There is nothing wrong in being fully covered for your trip. The sooner you purchase travel insurance, the greater the chance of getting it.
Maximizing your Rewards
A travel credit card should be able to prioritize what is most important to you. These are our top picks for the best travel cards in 2022, as well as those that work best for: