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Should I get travel insurance when I book or depart?

By SmartCoverage Team on December 6th, 2017

When you’re booking a vacation, travel insurance is either the very first thing on your mind, or the very last. For some people, the idea of simply booking a vacation without purchasing travel insurance is too stressful to even think about – what if you get sick and can’t go? What if your luggage gets lost at the airport? What if you fall and break your leg?

Other people are more laid-back, preferring instead to take a wait-and-see approach when booking travel insurance. If you can’t immediately tell which group you belong in, you’re probably wondering, “Should I get travel insurance when I book my trip or before I depart?”

When booking

The reason many people get travel insurance when they book their trip is because it provides total piece of mind, straight away.

If you get travel insurance when you book your trip, you will get cancellation protection, ensuring that you can get your money refunded if something occurs that prevents you from taking your trip.  

Although there are benefits to waiting before buying travel insurance (see below), they come at a risk. People who purchase travel insurance shortly before departing will not be covered if they need to cancel their trip. If you’ve booked a dream, all-inclusive vacation six months ahead of time, you should be wary that many things can happen in that span. Having travel insurance (including cancellation coverage), means you can relax knowing that a slip and fall in October won’t mean paying for a December vacation you can’t attend.

Before departure

On the flip side, buying travel insurance when you book your trip can be more expensive than waiting. The reason: comparison shopping.

If you forego the suggested policy when you book your trip, you can head online to get travel insurance quotes from various insurers, which you might find to be cheaper. What’s more, you might find an even better insurance product to meet your specific needs.

However, as mentioned above, this time to comparison shop comes at a price – you could lose your valuable trip cancellation coverage. In this case, paying a little bit more from the beginning can be the difference between being stress-free and being worried in the months leading up to your vacation.

The compromise

You don’t have to choose between buying the insurance you’re prompted to buy and giving yourself time to shop around. Instead, shop around while you’re planning your vacation.

Get quotes that match up with your expected itinerary. If something changes when you actually book, make an adjustment on your policy. This way you get the benefit of cancellation coverage from the moment you buy your flight, as well as the benefit of shopping around.

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