Modified on 30th Aug 2019

Not sure when you should buy travel insurance?

When should you buy travel insurance? The simple answer to this is ‘when your money is at risk’, in other words, as soon as you have made a financial commitment towards your trip.

If you’ve purchased a flight, put a deposit down on a holiday or paid out for accommodation, now’s the time to get travel insurance in place. Think of travel insurance as a backup if things don’t go to plan – it’s your security if you have to cancel!

When to buy single trip insurance

If you’re buying single trip travel insurance, providing the policy includes cancellation cover, you will be protected from the moment you pay!

This essentially means, that if you are forced to cancel your trip between the time you purchase your cover and your holiday departure date, you can turn to your insurance policy to recover your holiday costs (minus any excess applied to the policy).

When to buy annual multi trip insurance

Annual Multi Trip travel insurance works a little differently. Unlike single trip insurance where the cancellation cover becomes active the moment you pay for the policy, the cancellation cover on annual multi trip kicks in from the policy start date instead.

So for instance, if you pay for your policy today but don’t start it until 4 weeks’ time, you actually have no protection in place for those 4 weeks. This isn’t necessarily a problem providing you have not already booked and paid out money towards a holiday. If you have, it’s wise to start your annual policy on the same day you pay for it!

When to buy cruise cover

Again, you should get cruise travel insurance in place as soon as you’ve booked the cruise to protect you in case you have to cancel.

If you’re booking your cruise holiday well in advance, say a year to 18 months, the cost of travel insurance can be a bit more to insure against cancellation, as of course there is a long period before your departure date. Some providers don’t like to insure too far in advance, so it’s worth seeking quotes before you book.

When should travel insurance start?

There’s a common misconception that your travel insurance policy should come into effect from the very first day of your holiday.

In fact – for annual trip policies only, your policy start date should always be weeks in advance of your departure date – should you need to claim for cancellation (but, as mentioned above – some insurance companies won’t be comfortable offering insurance too far in advance).

Buying cover for UK holidays

If you’re planning a staycation, whether it be a week away or a weekend, the same rules of travel insurance apply.

Once you have paid towards a hotel or accommodation you need to consider how much you stand to lose if you were to cancel, and if the amount is significant, then it’s time to get travel insurance in place! With Medical Travel Compared, you can compare quotes for specialist UK travel insurance if you need to.  

On the other hand - when booking last minute breaks outside the UK, or if you’re travelling soon and have yet to arrange your travel insurance, whatever you do, don’t forget to buy it before you leave.

Once you depart, it will be too late and you won’t be able to get insured, leaving you vulnerable for the time you’re away without protection for emergency medical costs due to accidents and illness and other unforeseen eventualities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cancellation amounts will be per person. So, if you were going on a trip for 2 people which cost £1,000 in total you would ideally need cancellation cover for at least £500.

If you don't travel much then single trip cover is perfect as you can cover specific dates suited to your trip. If you have cancellation cover, you'll also benefit from this as soon as you buy your policy. If you travel 2 or more times a year, it may be cheaper for you to go for annual trip cover. It's best to start your anual trip cover as soon as possible, as if you have cancellation cover, you'll only benefit from this from your policy start date.

No. We can search for travel insurance quotes for all ages. However, the number of annual multi-trip quotes for older travellers may be limited due to age restrictions imposed by the providers that we search. If you are unable to get an annual trip quote, try a single trip quote instead.

You will need to add each country that you are visiting. If you are on a flight stopover this will include any countries where you leave the airport. If you are on a cruise it include any countries where your ship will be docking at.

A pre-existing condition is a diagnosed medical condition that existed prior to taking out a policy. We'll ask a series of questions about the medical history for you and any travellers on your quote. If you answer yes to any of these, you will need to tell us about the travellers conditions. This could be a condition that a traveller has now, or has had in the past. If you are not sure what conditons you need to declare, we have online support available to help you 24/7!

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