When is it too late to buy travel insurance?

Written and researched by Michael Kays (Travel Insurance Expert) | Fact Checked by Danya Kristen (Insurance Agent).

Travel insurance is one of those things that many people forget about until it’s too late. You may think that you don’t need it, or that it’s too expensive. But if you’re planning a trip, it’s important to understand what travel insurance is and how it can help you.

Is It Too Late For You To Get Travel Insurance?

It’s generally a good idea to purchase travel insurance, especially if you’re planning an international trip or a cruise. That being said, there are certain times when it may be too late to get travel insurance.

If you wait until you’re about to leave on your trip, it may be too late. Most travel insurance policies have a “free look” period, typically 10-14 days, during which you can cancel the policy for any reason and get a full refund. But once that period expires, you’re usually stuck with the policy.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, it may be too late to get coverage for that condition. Travel insurance typically excludes pre-existing conditions, so you’ll need to purchase a separate policy that covers those.

If you’re already on your trip, it’s probably too late to get travel insurance. Some policies have a “cancel for any reason” clause that allows you to cancel your trip and get a refund, but most don’t.

In general, it’s best to purchase travel insurance as soon as you start planning your trip. That way, you’ll be covered in case of any unforeseen circumstances.

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How Late Can You Purchase Travel Insurance?

Most travel insurance policies have a “look back” period of between 10 and 14 days. This means that as long as you purchase your policy within that timeframe, it will cover any pre-existing conditions you may have.

There is no definitive answer as to when the right time to purchase travel insurance is.

However, as a general rule of thumb, it is always best to err on the side of caution and purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip.

This way, you will be covered in the event of any unforeseen circumstances, such as a natural disaster or medical emergency, that may occur before or during your travels.

There are a few things you should keep in mind when buying travel insurance late:

  • Make sure the policy covers you for the entire length of your trip.
  • Check that the policy covers the activities you’ll be doing on your trip.
  • Choose a policy with a high enough coverage limit to cover the cost of your medical treatment and/or evacuation in the event of an emergency.
  • Be sure to read the fine print carefully so that you understand what is and isn’t covered by the policy.