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When Should You Buy Travel Insurance and When Does it Start?

Becky Hart | Feb 25, 2022

They say timing is everything—when swinging a baseball bat, taking a souffle out of the oven, meeting someone special. Buying travel insurance is no different. When travel insurance should be bought, when it starts, and how long it lasts are all important when you want to protect yourself and your trip. Here are your answers to some of your biggest questions.  

When should travel insurance be purchased?  

Travel insurance covers many events that happen during your trip, but it can also offer protection for unexpected events before you leave, sometimes days, weeks, even months prior to departure. That’s why we say it’s best to purchase protection as soon as possible after your initial trip payment is received.  

One benefit of travel insurance is coverage if your trip is cancelled for certain reasons. You can also purchase optional Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage in case you need to cancel for other reasons not covered in your trip protection plan. This could include a change in financial status or simply no longer wanting to travel.  

You could wait to purchase protection, but as you can see, procrastinating may mean you miss being able to take advantage of certain benefits. Also, certain benefit options may be available only if you buy coverage within a specified number of days of the date your initial trip deposit is received.   

CFAR coverage (and for a pre-existing medical condition waiver, if that applies), you typically have to buy your travel insurance within a specific time period. This varies by plan. Our RoundTrip plans require you to buy your travel insurance within 20 days of the date your initial trip deposit is received. (Additional terms apply.) For example, if you paid your first trip deposit on February 1, you need to purchase insurance by February 21 to be reimbursed for a cancellation.  

Equally important is the coverage travel insurance can provide during your trip. Trip insurance can cover unforeseen events such as lost or stolen baggage, and illness or injury. Of course, you’ll need this coverage once your travels begin.  

So, can you buy trip insurance at any time? Insurance must be purchased before you travel, and we always recommend buying it sooner rather than later. It’s best to give yourself time to review your plan document, ask questions, and make sure you’re choosing the best plan. This isn’t a time to feel rushed, especially if you’re new to travel insurance.  

When does travel insurance coverage start?  

Coverage for our RoundTrip plans starts at different times depending on specific benefits.   

  • Trip cancellation and CFAR: Your cancellation coverage begins the day after the date the payment for your plan is received.  

  • Trip delay: Coverage for delays begins after you’ve traveled 50 miles or more from your primary residence en route to join your trip.  

  • Accident and sickness coverage: This coverage included in your plan protects you if you incur medical expenses due to an accident or illness during your trip. This benefit is effective when you depart on your first travel arrangement for your trip. Your plan document will define what qualifies as a “travel arrangement.” 

This plan is available only to U.S. residents. Review your plan document for details as requirements and benefits vary by state.  

We’ve said it before, and we can’t say it enough: Don’t delay when finding the right travel insurance. Get a quote today. 


Important information from the United States Fire Insurance Company 

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