Passport? Check. Visas? Check. Travel vaccines? Check. Your big trip is just two weeks away, and you’ve thought of everything… then you realize you forgot to buy travel insurance. Oh no! Is it too late?
The short answer is: It’s not too late! You absolutely can buy travel insurance after booking your trip. However, it’s always best to purchase insurance as early in the process as possible. If you procrastinate, you may miss out on certain benefits. Below, we’ll explain why.
5 Reasons it’s Smart to Buy Travel Insurance Immediately After Booking
1. You have a longer coverage window for trip cancellation benefits.
You know you should buy travel insurance with trip cancellation benefits to protect your upcoming culinary tour of southern Italy. It’s a big splurge, and you’d hate to lose your investment. However, you keep putting it off. Then, a week before you leave, your wife suffers a debilitating back injury when someone rear-ends her car. You need to postpone your trip — but it’s too late to buy trip cancellation benefits.
Can you buy trip cancellation insurance after booking your trip? Absolutely. Trip cancellation protection begins on your plan’s effective date, as long as we receive your premium before you cancel your trip or make a claim. (The effective date depends on when and how you purchase a plan; if you buy travel insurance online, for example, it’s the day after we receive your order.)
So when you purchase trip cancellation insurance, you’re protected in case of cancellations due to covered reasons that occur from your effective date until you depart. However, benefits are not retroactive; you won’t be covered for losses caused by something that has already happened (such as your wife’s accident, in this hypothetical example). That’s a good reason to buy trip cancellation insurance as soon as possible.
2. You can’t cancel a trip for a foreseeable reason.
On June 1, you book a week-long resort stay in Montego Bay, starting October 1. The trip is five months away, so you figure you’ll wait to buy travel insurance until closer to your departure. Then, on September 27, Hurricane Heidi forms in the Caribbean and starts swirling toward Jamaica. Uh-oh. Time to buy travel insurance — or is it already too late?
Travel insurance is designed to protect a traveler from certain unforeseeable events — not foreseeable events. What does that mean? A foreseeable event is an outcome that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would expect to occur. For instance, once the National Weather Service issues a warning for a storm or hurricane, it is considered a foreseeable event with known potential to affect your travel. If you wait to buy travel insurance until after the warning is issued, you won’t be covered for losses related to that storm. Your plan can, however, cover losses caused by other, unrelated covered reasons.
3. For pre-existing medical conditions to be covered, you must purchase your plan within 14 days of making your initial trip deposit.
You’ve had rheumatoid arthritis for many years, and with regular treatments you’ve been able to stay active and indulge your love of travel. You always purchase travel insurance with protection for existing medical conditions, just in case. However, you delay buying insurance for your upcoming trip to Morocco for two months after you book your travel arrangements. Then, while exploring the fabled blue city of Chefchaouen, you suffer a flare in symptoms, with debilitating pain in your joints and back. A doctor’s diagnosis confirms that you won’t be able to continue the trip. Your travel insurance can’t cover the trip interruption, because you waited too long to buy travel insurance.
Several travel insurance plans from Allianz Global Assistance include the existing medical condition benefit. This means you, a traveling companion or family member can have an existing medical condition and still be eligible for all applicable benefits and assistance services. We define an existing medical condition as an illness or injury that you, a traveling companion or family member were seeking or receiving treatment for or had symptoms of on the day you purchased your plan, or at any time in the 120 days before you purchased it.
However, you must meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for this benefit, depending on the plan you choose. Below are some typical conditions you might see (but always be sure to check your plan for specifics!):
- You must purchase your plan within 14 days of making your first trip payment or first trip deposit.
- On the policy purchase date, you must insure the full non-refundable cost of your trip with us. This includes trip arrangements that will become non-refundable or subject to cancellation penalties between the policy purchase date and the departure date. (If you incur additional non-refundable trip expenses after you purchase this policy, you must insure them with us within 14 days of their purchase. If you do not, those expenses will still be subject to the pre-existing medical condition exclusion.)
- You must be a U.S. resident and medically able to travel on the day you purchase the plan.
- All other contract terms and conditions are met.
So if, like our hypothetical traveler, you buy travel insurance two months after booking your trip, losses caused by an existing medical condition would not be covered. We know this can get complicated. If you have questions about how the existing medical condition benefit works, call us!
4. Your plan choices may be limited if you wait until the last minute.
If there were a crown and a sash for “World’s Top Procrastinator,” you would win them. You’re at home, packing your suitcase when you remember you haven’t yet purchased travel insurance for your trip to Cambodia. And your flight leaves tomorrow!
“Oh no,” you say. “How late can I buy travel insurance?” You jump online to get a quote and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s not too late — but there’s only one plan available for last-minute travel. It’s OneTrip Emergency Medical, a plan that offers only post-departure benefits. You buy it, because it offers great protection for a low price. But you’ll have to cross your fingers and hope you don’t end up needing trip interruption benefits.
You can purchase travel insurance any time before the date of your departure. However, your plan choice may be limited if you wait until the last minute. If you want a plan that includes valuable trip cancellation and trip interruption benefits, as well as benefits for existing medical conditions, you’ll want to purchase travel insurance as soon as possible after booking.
5. You can avoid hassles at the rental car counter.
You’re renting a car for a cross-country road trip. You’ve heard the insurance options at the rental counter can be pricy, and you’ve been meaning to look into other options—but you’ve been so busy planning your route that you’ve neglected to do your research. Are you stuck with the rental counter option, or just using your personal car insurance?
The good news is that, yes, you can still get OneTrip Rental Car Protector. At just $11 per calendar day, it can be a much cheaper option than what you get at many rental counters—so you don’t have to settle for a more expensive option. And because it provides primary coverage for covered collision, loss, and damage to your rental, it saves you from having to use your personal car insurance if something goes wrong on the road. It also comes with our 24-hour assistance for any medical- and travel-related issues you may encounter, which can really help you breathe easier behind the wheel.