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Can I buy travel insurance after starting my trip?

Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella...

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UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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You can buy travel insurance after your trip has begun if you wish. If you decide to purchase coverage at that point, you do need to understand that the policy will only cover you for claims made after it was issued.

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Buying travel insurance before your trip starts is a much better choice, since it allows you to have protection in from the first day of your excursion.

About Travel Insurance

There are various forms of travel insurance:

  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption: A common form of travel insurance covers trip cancellation or interruption. If a traveler has bought tickets and made reservations for accommodation and is unable to travel due to severe weather, illness, or death, the insurance pays out a benefit. This type of policy may also provide coverage for a person who is unable to travel because he or she is called up for jury or military duty.
  • Bankruptcy of Provider: The travel insurance policyholder is also covered if the airline or cruise line that he or she has been booked on goes bankrupt before the start of the trip.
  • Terrorism: Depending on the insurance company, a policyholder may also be covered for terrorism. This part of the policy kicks in to reimburse the traveler for expenses paid when the State Department issues a travel warning advising the public not to travel to a certain country for a time.
  • Medical Coverage: Insurance coverage is available that pays out if a medical emergency occurs while away from home. It pays for the cost of treatment in a foreign country, as well as transportation home.
  • Burial Costs: In the unfortunate event that a policyholder dies while on the trip, the travel insurance would cover the cost of transporting the body home for burial.

People who travel frequently would benefit from a comprehensive travel insurance policy. This plan would cover a number of circumstances and, in some cases, a policyholder can choose what kinds of coverage should be included. Travel insurance does not provide retroactive coverage to the policyholder. If a medical emergency occurs while on the trip, the cost of treatment and arranging transportation home will not be covered without this coverage.

Why Buy Travel Insurance Coverage After Departure

A person who is not an experienced traveler may not realize that they should have bought travel insurance prior to leaving home. They may have overlooked buying the coverage or been feeling the effects of a time crunch and not had time to make the arrangements beforehand. In these circumstances, it’s not too late to arrange travel insurance coverage.

There are times when travel insurance is bought after a trip has commenced because the traveler has decided to extend his or her stay. In some cases, the trip is prolonged because a family member has become ill and is unable to return home on the originally scheduled date. The traveler may choose to contact the company that issued a travel insurance policy prior to departure to arrange additional coverage in that case.

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Buying Travel Insurance

When you are looking for travel insurance after you have already started your trip, be sure to find out when your coverage starts. Some insurance companies offer insurance coverage online and if you buy a policy and pay for it using a credit card, you would be covered immediately. Other companies do offer the convenience of paying in this manner, but the actual coverage doesn’t start right away. You will need to know whether there is any delay in your protection being put in place.

The travel insurance company will probably ask about any pre-existing conditions that apply. A pre-existing condition is a medical concern for which you sought treatment in a certain period before the policy takes effect. Depending on the insurance company involved, this period may be 90-180 days. You would not be covered for any health-related issues that stem from a pre-existing condition.

There are a number of coverage options available to you for travel insurance. You can find a policy that will cover you for a single trip only, or for multiple trips. Coverage for extended time away from home can also be arranged, and these policies protect travelers for periods of 90 days to 18 months.

While you can buy travel insurance after your trip has started, you may be paying a higher rate for your coverage. Shopping for insurance early means that you can compare rates from different companies, and you may be able to take advantage of price breaks offered to customers who book their travel insurance in advance. Start by typing your zip code into the free tool, and compare travel insurance quotes now!

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