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When is the best time to purchase travel insurance?

If you are considering getting travel insurance, when you choose to get it can make a difference to how much you pay and what you are covered for. Here’s some information to guide you.

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  • Finance
  • Read Time: 6 mins

If you are about to embark on a trip, you’re most likely considering how to safeguard yourself along the way. Travel insurance may be an option for you, however, when you buy it could affect the outcome.

Choosing the right time to buy will depend on your individual circumstances, such as how much risk you may be willing to take.   


The premium is the price you pay for a travel insurance policy, and it is determined by the type of policy, what it covers, the location you are travelling to, and the risk involved, among other factors.

Some travellers prefer to get travel insurance at the time of booking, while others choose to wait until the balance of their deposits are fully paid for or even within weeks or days of their departure date. 

Buying travel insurance early on 

A travel to-do list can be lengthy, and some travellers may choose to buy their travel insurance straight away so they can check it off. This ensures you don’t completely forget it. It may also be offered as part of a travel package.

If, for example, you decide to get your travel insurance a year out from your departure date, this may result in a higher premium than booking closer to the date. Consider that you will be a year older when you travel, and your health condition and travel details may be altered during the planning process.

Even so, you may choose to do some investigating into travel insurance prices early on in your planning and depending on your circumstances, you may want to get insurance as soon as you have made reservations, no matter the cost.

A last-minute purchase 

Buying travel insurance right before your trip may be okay if you’ve got that great last-minute travel deal and are set to go. But if you have planned and paid for most of your trip months beforehand, you’ve taken a bigger risk.

In that time, things can go wrong. You may need to cancel your trip for several reasons such as illness, change of plans, or any other unforeseen circumstance.

Depending on your cancellation arrangements, that could mean money lost. The bottom line is, if you leave it too late, you could risk something occurring and, therefore, risk losing the money you’ve already put down.

A good time to buy?

There are some advantages to buying your travel insurance cover a few weeks before departure. This is the time you are thinking carefully about your trip and is also a good time to gauge your travel and personal situation.

What’s the weather forecast at your destination? Has a health condition cropped up? You’re more likely to have paid for some, if not all your trip, which may cover any last-minute cancellations. The best time to buy depends on your individual circumstances and needs, so think about what makes sense for you.  

What to include/check for in the PDS  

Check the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to see if the travel insurance you are considering covers your age, activities, destinations, and medical conditions, and is right for you.

Some travel insurance issuers, like National Seniors Travel Insurance, will have no age limits on most plans², however others may have age caps on their travel insurance, which means if you’re an older traveller, they may not cover you. Check the PDS to see if the insurer has any age caps on their plan.

Older travellers may have one or more existing conditions that can result in a higher chance of requiring medical assistance while travelling. If you have an existing medical condition, check in the PDS if your condition will be covered automatically.

If your condition is not automatically covered, it doesn’t always mean the insurer won’t cover you – you may require further medical assessment. This may be by an assessment over the phone or online at the time of getting your quote. The insurance provider will then determine what they are prepared to cover.

Important note: If you’ve purchased your travel cover already but have since been diagnosed with a medical condition before you’ve taken your trip, you may need to notify your insurance provider. The insurer may require written confirmation from your medical practitioner. Check your PDS or contact your provider if you’re unsure.

Annual multi-trip policy

If you’re a frequent traveller and depending on your needs, it may end up being more convenient, appropriate, and cost-effective to select a multi-trip policy instead of taking out a new policy for each trip.

Can you buy travel insurance after departure?

It can be difficult to obtain travel insurance once you’ve taken off on your trip. Depending on the insurer, you may need to have travel insurance prior to commencing any flights, accommodation, or activities.

Be prepared 

When it comes to travel insurance, the takeaway is to consider the best time for you to buy your travel insurance factoring in your risk level and priorities. Remember to do your research and pick a provider that best suits you and your needs as no two providers are exactly alike and there are some who will customise their offerings to suit.

Members save 10% on Travel Insurance*

National Seniors members receive a 10% discount on travel insurance policies*.

With some cruise cover automatically included, as well as cover for some coronavirus-related events, for when things don’t go to plan.

Disclaimer: National Seniors Australia Ltd ABN 89 050 523 003, AR 282736 is an authorised representative of nib Travel Services (Australia) Pty Ltd (nib), ABN 81 115 932 173, AFSL 308461 and act as nib's agent and not as your agent. This is general advice only. Before you buy, you should consider your needs, the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS), Financial Services Guide (FSG) and Target Market Determination (TMD) available from us. This insurance is underwritten by Pacific International Insurance Pty Ltd, ABN 83 169 311 193. *The discount applies to the total National Seniors travel insurance premium and is for National Seniors Australia members only. Discounts do not apply to the rate of GST and stamp duty or any changes you make to the policy. nib has the discretion to withdraw or amend this discount offer at any time. This discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offer or discount. 2. Coverage is subject to the terms and conditions, limitations and exclusions for each product as contained in the Domestic Product Disclosure Statement or International Product Disclosure Statement. 

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