Travel SOS: when should I buy travel insurance?

Buying travel insurance last minute can leave you without cancellation cover.

Travel insurance policy with globe

Travel insurance is often a last minute thought, but this leaves people without cover should they have to cancel a non-refundable trip. So when should you actually buy your policy?


Q. Trudie
I always buy my travel insurance last minute, but a friend told me recently that I should buy it much earlier to ensure my trip is covered for cancellation. I’ve never considered this before and wonder does that mean I have to select the date I’m actually buying the insurance as the date I want it to commence?


A. Travel insurance is a must, especially when travelling overseas and many people do buy it at the last minute. Ideally though, you should buy your travel insurance policy as soon as you have booked and paid for your trip, particularly if your trip is non-refundable. The sooner you buy your insurance, the sooner you’re covered; however, it’s imperative that you check the details closely and know exactly under which circumstances you’re covered for delay or cancellation.

When it comes to selecting the dates for cover, you simply choose those you are actually travelling. The cover for cancellation will begin once the purchase is made and certificate issued, but again, you may just wish to clarify this with the policy issuer.

Of course, if you purchase a portion of your travel using a credit card, you may be covered under the travel insurance policy issued by your provider. Certain criteria, such as the amount you spend before the cover applies, how long you're travelling and whether you're covered for the whole trip, where you're travelling and which valuables are covered should be considerd. You may also have to contact your provider to confirm the cover is activated.

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