How far in advance to buy trip/travel insurance?
December 28, 2013 12:16 PM   Subscribe

We're booking flights from the US to Scandinavia soon, with the trip planned for late May 2014. I'm getting confusing guidance about when it's best to buy trip/travel insurance from a third party vendor (i.e. not our airline).

In some places I've seen suggestions that you should purchase the insurance as soon as possible after you've made your first deposit or payment for the trip/reservations itself, with some requiring insurance to be bought within x number of days after doing so. I've seen other suggestions that imply as long as you're not buying the insurance last minute right before you travel, then you're probably ok. Any advice is appreciated!

Background: we're more interested in cancellation/cancel-for-any-reason insurance, especially since we'll be buying non-refundable airline tickets. A portion of our airline tickets will be funded through credit card points, but not all of them. We're planning on booking lodging ahead of time, as well, so we'd want those deposits to be covered in the rare event unforeseen circumstances mean we have to cancel.
posted by midatlanticwanderer to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
From what I've noticed, cancel for any reason insurance often must be purchased within X days of the first deposit. I usually only purchase medical only (my health insurance offers very little coverage outside the US), and that can be purchased usually up to a few days before you leave, so I often put it off for a while. Check with the carriers for their exact requirements.
posted by Calloused_Foot at 12:46 PM on December 28, 2013

Best answer: A quality policy like TravelGuard only offers cancel for any reason coverage within fifteen days of the initial deposit. Don't wait. You also get the added benefit of pre-existing condition coverage. Furthermore, the insurance costs the same no matter how early or late you buy it, at least with TravelGuard. I have no affiliation with them except as a satisfied customer.
posted by wnissen at 3:27 PM on December 28, 2013

Best answer: Seems safer to buy sooner than later. In my experience, the price does not fluctuate, so there is no advantage to waiting until the last minute. If you're planning out till May, I can see why you might not feel in a rush to buy insurance, however.

Considerations are probably more for medical reasons. I had a medical emergency a month before a trip that didn't prevent me from flying, but would have been considered a "pre-existing condition" if I had required further treatment after our departure. That was a good lesson in buying the insurance right after buying the tickets.

I've never seen a travel insurance policy that covered airfare purchased with frequent flyer points, so keep that in mind. I usually use World Nomads, and I know that you can cancel your policy within 14 days of purchase. (But note that policy details may vary from country to country and from US state to US state.)
posted by amusebuche at 5:11 PM on December 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Definitely check the terms of what you plan to purchase to see what is covered etc. The travel insurance I've had actually requires you to have the policy in place before the plane tickets are purchased in order to be covered for all the various types of cancellation and lost luggage, etc.

(PS: Scandinavia is awesome. Enjoy!)
posted by urbanlenny at 6:51 PM on December 28, 2013

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