You’ve probably heard at some point that purchasing travel insurance is important, whether that’s online or from concerned family and friends.
A survey commissioned by Fast Cover found that 1 in 5 travellers required medical assistance while overseas, but 41% of travellers go without or forget to buy travel insurance!
So when is it the right time to purchase your policy?
Read on to find out what benefits you might be missing out on if you leave it to the last minute.
When is the best time to buy travel insurance?
Generally, the earlier you buy your travel insurance policy, the better, for two main reasons:
1) To get the most out of your Cancellation Cover
One of the primary benefits of purchasing your travel insurance policy early is that you can have cancellation cover for a longer period of time.
The cancellation benefit provides cover for any deposits you’ve already made, so that if you experience an emergency and can no longer travel, you’re able to claim for those prepayments up to the maximum allowed by your policy.
The types of deposits you may be able to claim for are:
- A cruise
- A rental car
- Tickets to sporting events
- Festival tickets
The types of emergencies that can lead to cancelling your holiday vary. You may need to make a claim for cancellation because:
- You become sick
- You injure yourself
- Your child, parent or another relative becomes sick or injured
- Your travelling companion becomes sick or injured and is no longer able to travel with you
- A natural disaster occurs which leads to your airline cancelling your flight
- You’re involved in a traffic accident on the way to the airport
Depending on your holiday plans, you could be left hundreds or thousands of dollars out of pocket if you unexpectedly have to cancel your trip and cannot get a refund.
If you have travel insurance that provides cover for cancellation, you can be confident that you have cover for the deposits you’ve made for your holiday.
2) To avoid unexpected expenses
Another key benefit of purchasing travel insurance earlier is you have cover for unexpected emergencies which can increase the likelihood of you spending more money than expected overseas.
For example, if a natural disaster occurs at your destination after you purchase your policy, you’ll likely have cover for cancellations or any additional costs incurred such as alternative transport expenses.
Mount Rinjani in Indonesia erupted several times in 2016, grounding all flights in and out of the country.
Should I purchase travel insurance before I book my holiday?
You can buy travel insurance up to 12 months prior to your departure date, including before you’ve purchased flights or booked your accommodation. This may be of interest if there is a sale on travel insurance.
If you buy a policy that includes cover for cancellations, keep in mind you won’t have cover for deposits you haven’t made yet (for example, flights you haven’t booked). As soon as you do make these deposits, the travel insurance policy you’ve taken out will provide cover for them.
Why you should consider buying travel insurance before your next birthday
Age is one factor that contributes to the cost of travel insurance. The price of travel insurance is calculated on the age you are when you buy the policy, not the age you are when you travel.
Compare prices with your age today and your age after your birthday and you might find it’s cheaper to buy a policy before your next birthday!
Buy travel insurance before your next birthday to 'lock in' the price for your current age!
Is there any time that travel insurance offers discounts or sales?
Travel insurance companies often do have sales or special offers throughout the year. You’re more likely to spot a sale around the traditional sale periods including Easter, End of Financial Year, Click Frenzy, Christmas and Boxing Day.
Various travel insurance companies allow you to purchase travel insurance up to a year in advance. So keep your eye out for sales if you know when you’re travelling in the next year.
One way to keep updated with special offers is to sign up to a company’s newsletter. You’ll then be one of the first to know if there’s a sale on or if there are any exclusive offers for newsletter subscribers.
When is the latest I can purchase travel insurance?
Most travel insurance companies can provide you with a policy up until you board your flight, cruise ship or begin your road trip. So if you are at the airport and remember you need insurance, you can always jump on your mobile and buy last minute travel insurance.
There are also travel insurance policies that can provide you with cover when you’re already overseas but your options will be significantly less if you leave it to after you’ve left the country.
Also remember the later you leave purchasing your policy the longer you risk not having cancellation cover or, in the case of going overseas without a policy, having no cover at all!
So what are you waiting for?
If you’ve booked your flights, hotel, cruise or rental vehicle or are even contemplating booking a trip, look into buying a travel insurance policy as soon as you can and get the most value out of your policy.
Not sure which policy is right for you? Read our post: Which Travel Insurance Should I Get?