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Is It Too Late to Buy Travel Insurance?

man running late to buy travel insurance
Allianz - man running late to buy travel insurance

“If it weren't for the last minute, nothing would get done,” wrote author Rita Mae Brown. That’s true of many things in life — but what about buying trip insurance? Can you do that at the last minute?

The short answer: It depends on your situation. In many cases, you can buy travel insurance if you’re traveling soon — even if you’re leaving tomorrow! But there are downsides to buying at the last minute, such as not being able to get certain benefits.

Is it too late to buy travel insurance if I’m leaving for my trip tomorrow?

Your plants are watered. Your phone is charged. Your bags are packed. You’re all set to leave for Belize… and then you realize you forgot to buy travel insurance to protect your trip. Is it too late?

No, it’s not too late — but your plan choice will be limited. When you get an online quote for travel insurance and enter tomorrow as your day of departure, you’ll see one plan that’s available for last-minute travel: OneTrip Emergency Medical.

True to its name, this low-cost plan gives you emergency medical and dental benefits and emergency transportation benefits, plus benefits for travel delays, missed connections and lost/stolen or damaged baggage. All these benefits — especially emergency medical — are essential protections for international trips.

OneTrip Emergency Medical does not include trip cancellation/trip interruption benefits, however. This means that if you must cancel your trip at the last minute, or if your travel is interrupted by circumstances beyond your control, your travel insurance won’t be able to reimburse you for lost trip costs.

Is it too late to buy travel insurance if I’m leaving for my trip today — or if I’ve already left?

You’re just settling into your seat on the plane, ready to take off for  Amsterdam, when you remember something your mom told you. “Always buy travel insurance when you’re going overseas,” she said. “That way, I won’t have to worry about you so much.” You have five minutes until takeoff, so you whip out your phone  to find a plan on AllianzTravelInsurance.com. Is it too late?

Unfortunately, yes. You can’t buy travel insurance from Allianz Travel Insurance on the day of your trip departure, or after you’ve begun your trip.

Here’s a tip for next time, though: Get annual travel insurance! It’s a smart, affordable choice for anyone who takes more than two trips in a year. Buy it once and your travels are automatically protected for 365 days, whether you’re going on a long trip or a weekend jaunt, an international journey or a getaway in the U.S. Get a quote right now! Your mom will be proud of you.

Is it too late to buy travel insurance if I already booked my trip?

Way back in November, you booked a beach cottage in St. Augustine, Fla., for June. Now that your trip is just a few weeks away, you realize that you never bought travel insurance to protect your vacation rental. This trip means a lot to you, and you’d be really disappointed (not to mention broke) if you had to cancel it. Is it too late to buy trip insurance?

It’s not too late! You still can buy insurance with trip cancellation benefits, even if you made your trip arrangements a long time ago. You should know, however, that losses related to pre-existing medical conditions won’t be covered. That’s because you must purchase your plan within 14 days of making your first trip payment or first trip deposit in order to be protected by the existing medical condition benefit.

(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 taking prescribed medication for [unless the condition or symptoms are controlled by that prescription, and the prescription has not changed], or had symptoms of on the day you purchased your plan, or at any time in the 120 days before you purchased it.)

Read more: When Does Travel Insurance Cover Existing Medical Conditions?

Is it too late to buy travel insurance if an adverse weather event is in the forecast?

Three days before your long-planned trip to the Philippines, you see an alert that a tropical depression is forming in the Pacific. That’s not good. If it develops into a typhoon, your trip could be ruined. Is it too late to buy travel insurance?

It's not too late to purchase travel insurance for your trip — but your plan may not cover you for potential losses caused by the storm.

Travel insurance is designed to offer protection against sudden or unforeseen situations and events — not events that are expected or forecasted. If you buy travel insurance after a winter or tropical storm has been named, or after the NOAA or a similar government agency has issued a warning, your plan won't provide coverage for claims related to that event. Your plan can, however, cover unrelated claims (such as emergency medical care if you get sick while traveling, for example).

In this specific scenario, the traveler may still be able to purchase travel insurance with trip cancellation benefits that could apply to the looming storm, if the tropical depression hasn’t been named and no warning has been issued. Check the latest Coverage Alerts for updates on global events that can affect travel. If an event is listed in Coverage Alerts, you can’t buy travel insurance protection for that specific event as of the date posted.

Read more: When a Hurricane Hits, What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

So… When’s the Best Time to Buy Travel Insurance?

The best time to buy travel insurance is immediately after you’ve made your travel arrangements. Once you’ve booked your flight, tour, cruise, hotel, etc., you’ll know your total pre-paid trip costs. Then, you can get an accurate quote, if you’re purchasing travel insurance with trip cancellation/trip interruption benefits.

Don’t delay! The earlier you buy insurance, the bigger your coverage window. Trip cancellation benefits begin on your plan’s effective date, as long as we receive your premium before you cancel your trip or make a claim. If you buy travel insurance online, your effective date is the day after we receive your order. Once you know your trip is protected, you can relax and focus on enjoying your getaway.

One more thing: If you’re wavering about buying travel insurance, remember that you can get a full refund of your premium if you cancel your plan within 15 days of your plan purchase (depending on your state of residence). This only applies if you haven’t filed a claim or departed on your trip. Get a quote today.

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