Can You Buy Travel Insurance At The Last Minute? – Forbes Advisor
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One of the most important tasks in planning a trip can be getting travel insurance, especially if you are going on an expensive trip or a trip abroad.
Locking in travel protection is especially important while the pandemic continues – even if you have last-minute plans.
To get the maximum benefit from travel insurance, take out travel insurance at the time of booking a trip.
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Travel Insurance Benefits You Are Going To Miss
One of the perks that you will miss out on buying last minute travel insurance is the coverage of cancellation insurance prior to your departure. This pays off 100% of the loss of prepaid and non-refundable deposits – if you cancel for a reason set out in the policy. If you’ve forgotten to take out travel insurance and need to cancel, you won’t have a safety net for lost deposits.
And travel insurance doesn’t cover any issues that are already looming. For example: “If you haven’t already taken out travel insurance and a hurricane is brewing, you experience symptoms of illness or you suspect that your travel company may go bankrupt, you cannot buy a plan for each of these events to be covered,” says Christina Tunnah. Spokeswoman for the World Nomads.
Another consideration: if you wait too long to get travel insurance, you lose the opportunity to add a pre-existing disease exclusion waiver. This waiver gives you cover if a pre-existing condition occurs during your trip. However, you typically need to purchase it within two to three weeks of your first deposit.
You will also miss the opportunity to add a cancellation for any reason if you book a trip but then wait for travel insurance to be taken out. With this coverage, you can cancel for any reason even if it’s not listed in the base policy. Depending on the policy, you can get 50% to 75% of your lost deposits back. However, you usually need to purchase it within a couple of weeks of making your first deposit.
Last minute trips can be insured
Whether you buy last minute travel insurance because the trip is spontaneous or because you forgot about it, you can get quality insurance.
“You can certainly get travel insurance anytime before your departure, even if you are booking last-minute travel,” said Carol Mueller, spokeswoman for Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. “The most important point is to remember to get travel insurance, especially if you are traveling outside of the US.”
Getting travel insurance at the last minute can provide important post-departure benefits that will cover you while you are traveling.
- Travel interruption and delayed travel coverage to reimburse you for unexpected hiccups like a delayed flight
- Cover for medical travel expenses if you get sick or injured while traveling (especially important for international travel where US health insurances usually don’t work)
- Emergency evacuation protection if you need to be transported to a medical facility
- During your trip, you will have 24/7 access to the insurer’s tour guide
- Cover for minor headaches such as baggage delay.
If you want to get travel health insurance that covers Covid, make sure you get pandemic travel insurance. These plans cover travel cancellation costs if you have to cancel because of a contract with Covid and even the costs if you have to be quarantined if you get sick while traveling.
The annoying small print
It is always important to check the details of your travel insurance.
Your travel insurance has an effective date that is exactly the date and time your coverage becomes effective, says Tunnah of World Nomads. “This may be different for different vendors, so be sure to check your policy documents for an accurate definition of the term,” she says.
For travel cancellations, you can only make a claim if the problem is covered by the policy and only if it occurs after the policy effective date.
And there may be additional rules for making a claim. According to Tunnah, for example, your travel agent must have shut down operations for at least 24 hours (or some other time specified in the schedule) in bad weather and prevented you from getting to your destination.