Victoria Zidwick a RoamRight Blog Author

When to Buy Travel Insurance, And When is it Too Late?

We know you are excited about planning the fun parts of your trip -- the hotel, the meals, the transportation – but you should also think about making travel insurance one of the first steps in your trip planning. With the potential for early purchase benefits and a deadline for purchasing, buying coverage early may be beneficial to you in the long term.

When is the best time to buy travel insurance?

Every traveler’s needs are different, but many travel experts recommend that you buy your travel insurance shortly after you book the first part of your trip. That way you are more likely to be eligible for early purchase benefits offered by your travel insurance provider.

How trip deposit date affects when you should buy travel insurance

Travel insurance providers may use the initial trip deposit date to determine if travelers are eligible for early purchase benefits. This is the day that you make the first payment towards your trip, regardless of whether it’s booking a hotel, arranging your flight, or reserving a car.

Which coverages may require early purchase?

While coverage varies from plan to plan, provider to provider, and even state to state, with Arch RoamRight, two of the most common benefits that are related to early purchase are the Cancel for Any Reason upgrade and the Pre-Existing Conditions Exclusion waiver.

Cancel for Any Reason Upgrade

Cancel for Any Reason coverage is an optional benefit, frequently abbreviated as CFAR, which allows cancelation of a trip for absolutely any reason, with reimbursement being for up to 75% of the non-refundable trip cost. This means, unlike standard trip cancellation coverage which is subject to additional exclusions and limitations, with CFAR, you can simply change your mind about traveling and still have coverage, provided you meet the following requirements:

  1. Coverage must be purchased within 21 days of the first deposit made towards a trip;
  2. You must insure 100% of the cost of all travel arrangements subject to cancellation penalties; and
  3. The trip must be canceled 48 hours or more before the scheduled departure date.

CFAR is an additional upgrade, so if you want this kind of coverage, look to add it during the purchase process.

Pre-Existing Conditions Exclusion waiver

Existence of a Pre-Existing Condition generally excludes or prevents coverage for the specified circumstances under a policy. This applies to medical conditions affecting the insured, their traveling companion (insured or uninsured), or either of their family members. A Pre-Existing Conditions Exclusion waiver removes the application of that exclusion to prevent coverage. Please note that the Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Waiver is not available with all Arch RoamRight plans.

For policies that do offer a Pre-Existing Condition waiver, you must meet all the following conditions:

  1. Purchase your travel insurance plan within 21 days of making your first trip payment;
  2. Insure the entire non-refundable cost of your trip;
  3. Must not be disabled† from travel at the time your premium is paid; and
  4. This must be the first and only booking for this same time period and destination.

For definitions, please refer to the travel insurance policy.

Can buying travel insurance late leave you without needed coverage?

There may be some instances when a claim can be denied if the insurance coverage was purchased too late.

One instance of this is when travel insurance coverage is purchase after the claimable event occurs. This may happen if you plan a trip and experience a medical emergency prior to departure, forcing you to cancel your trip, but the emergency happens before you purchase travel insurance. Such a medical emergency would not have coverage.

Another example involves claims that are related to pre-existing conditions, if that policy exclusion was not waived based on the criteria mentioned above.

Take special consideration when your trip is during hurricane season

As we have seen in recent years, hurricane season can significantly affect travel plans.

The purpose of travel insurance is to cover unforeseen events. When it comes to travel insurance, it is important to know that once a hurricane is named, it is no longer considered an unforeseen event, and you therefore may not be covered by a travel insurance policy if it is purchased after the hurricane develops.

For example, Hurricane Michael was first named a hurricane on October 8, 2018. Only travelers who purchased travel insurance prior to October 8, 2018 were covered for claims related to Hurricane Michael.

When is the latest you can purchase travel insurance?

With Arch RoamRight, travelers can purchase travel insurance coverage up until the day before they depart on their trip. You cannot purchase travel insurance coverage the same day as you depart for your trip or after you are already on your trip.

Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.


About the Author

Victoria Zidwick

Victoria Zidwick, a RoamRight Blog Author RoamRight's Marketing Communications Specialist, Victoria Zidwick, has worked in the travel insurance industry for more than five years. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States and has a handful of international travel experiences.Victoria's travel experiences have changed in recent years, as her family grows and she is learning the ins and outs of traveling with children. Connect with Victoria on LinkedIn or follow her onTwitter or Google Plus.

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The RoamRight mark is used by Arch Insurance Company and owned by its parent company, Arch Capital Group (U.S.). Insurance coverages are underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, NAIC #11150, under certain policy series, including LTP 2013 and amendments thereto. Certain terms, conditions, restrictions and exclusions apply and coverages may vary in certain states. In the event of any conflict between your policy terms and coverage descriptions on this website, the terms and conditions of your policy shall govern. Click here for privacy notice.

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