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Is It Too Late to Get Travel Insurance After Booking Flights, Departures, And During Your Trip?

Annette Anthony

Annette Anthony

Last updated 08 March, 2024

Travel insurance is such a necessity, especially during the pandemic. Between booking your flight ticket and boarding the plane, when is the right time to purchase travel insurance?

Having travel insurance during the pandemic is paramount, especially if you catch COVID-19 abroad. Other than that, it may also cover trip cancellations, baggage loss or damage, accidents, theft, and more.

But what if you already booked your flight ticket? Would it be too late to get travel insurance? When exactly is the best time to get travel insurance, anyway?


Table of Contents

Is it necessary to buy travel insurance before flying?

Understanding the importance of travel insurance is crucial in today's travel landscape, especially when statistics reveal the unexpected can, and often does, occur. In the U.S. according to a Bankrate’s survey, about 77% of travellers experience travel-related issues, with 23% encountering disruptions like lost luggage and belongings as well as flight delays and cancellations. What’s more, about 10% report contracting an illness during their trip and about 2% suffering from an injury, quoted by Oxford Academic. Just by looking at the numbers, you’ll understand the need for comprehensive travel insurance coverage.

Travel insurance serves as a safety net, offering protection against a wide range of travel mishaps. Whether it's replacing a lost passport, covering for stolen luggage, or providing emergency medical services in a foreign country, having adequate coverage can dramatically lessen the financial and emotional stress of dealing with such problems. 

Given the unpredictable nature of travel, coupled with the potential for high medical costs abroad and the inconvenience of trip interruptions, you might wonder if you should get travel insurance before booking flights. Also, what if you’ve already secured your tickets? Can you still purchase travel insurance after booking?

While the timing of buying travel insurance is a common concern, what’s more important is the level of protection the coverage can provide. If you’re curious to find out if it is too late or too early to buy travel insurance, keep reading this article to get all the details you need to make an informed decision.

The best time to get travel insurance

The best time to get your travel insurance is right after booking your flight tickets. By doing so, you’re maximising your travel insurance coverage timeline in case you need to cancel your trip before embarking on that flight. However, it’s always good to double-check with your travel insurance policy’s benefits to be sure.

Travel insurance is also extra handy when the money you shelled out for your trip is at risk. This includes non-refundable airfare tickets, cruise cancellation penalties, and such.

For travel insurance plans that cover pre-existing conditions, you must purchase this at a certain time frame, such as 14 days prior to your trip. A few insurers offer pre-existing medical coverage during travels, such as Tiq Travel Insurance or MSIG Travel Insurance. These plans may cover cancer, sleep apnea, and heart diseases. 

Benefits of booking your travel insurance early: 

  • Saves you the hassle from car rental woes. Booking a car rental usually requires insurance coverage, and the car rental excess from your travel insurance may save you some bucks. 
  • Unforeseen travel cancellations will be covered.
  • Benefit from a ‘free-look’ period in case you wish to cancel your travel insurance plan and get a premium refund.
  • A better travel insurance coverage overall.

Can you buy travel insurance after booking a flight?

Yes, as we’ve mentioned, the best time to purchase travel insurance is after you’ve booked your flight. However, make sure that you do so before your departure date. We also recommend that you secure your insurance as you plan your trip. This way, you can choose the coverage that will suit your anticipated activities.

Can I buy travel insurance after departure from Singapore?

If you’ve forgotten to secure your coverage before leaving Singapore, you can still find select providers who offer post-departure travel insurance. However, you must recognise that these after-the-fact policies often come at a premium, both in terms of cost and limitations in coverage. 

Typically, travel insurance plans bought before departure are designed to provide comprehensive protection, covering a wide array of scenarios from the moment your trip commences. In contrast, post-departure policies might restrict certain benefits, such as pre-existing condition coverage or trip cancellation, which are only available if the insurance is purchased prior to leaving. 

Consequently, while the option to buy travel insurance after leaving Singapore offers a safety net for those in need, it's generally more advantageous to arrange your travel insurance at least 14 days ahead of your departure. This way, you can ensure better value and more extensive coverage for your travel insurance.

Can you purchase travel insurance during your trip?

While you can buy travel insurance after booking your flight, you should do so at least 14 days ahead of your departure date. Unfortunately, most providers will not approve your request if you try to purchase a policy during your trip. 

Can you extend your travel insurance coverage while you’re abroad?

Yes, you can extend your travel insurance during your trip. However, most insurers will base the decision on the event that caused the need for it. It ultimately boils down to the conditions of your insurer. Some may extend your policy for a higher premium fee.

AIG Travel Guard Direct, for instance, has a policy period extension for a maximum of three days if you encounter circumstances beyond your control, such as an injury or illness that prevents you from travelling, adverse weather conditions, or an unexpected strike. This applies under one condition – you have to make every effort to get back to Singapore at the first available opportunity.

How to find the best travel insurance?

Selecting the right travel insurance after booking a flight is a critical step in planning your journey, ensuring peace of mind from start to finish. For travellers from Singapore, here are key factors to consider when buying the most suitable coverage.

1. Consider Your Coverage Needs

It’s essential to assess the type and extent of coverage that you need. At this point, consider the nature of your trip, destinations, and activities planned to determine the protection required. Whether it's adventure sports coverage or high medical expense limits, identifying what's important can guide you in choosing what travel insurance to buy after booking your trip.

2. Assess the Policy Benefits

After booking a flight, take the time to compare policy benefits across different insurers. Look for comprehensive coverage that includes trip cancellations, medical emergencies, baggage loss, and delays. Comparing these can highlight the best travel insurance options that offer the most value.

4. Consider Pre-existing Condition Clauses

For those with pre-existing medical conditions, it's crucial to check if the policy provides coverage for such conditions. Some policies may exclude them, so finding one that includes your specific needs can be key to buying the ideal travel insurance after booking your flight.

4. Familiarise Yourself with the Claims Process

Purchase travel insurance with a straightforward and hassle-free claims procedure. This way, you can enjoy your trip knowing that you can easily access support and compensation when needed.

5. Check Customer Reviews and Ratings

Customer reviews and ratings can provide insights into the insurer's service quality and reliability. Buying a policy after reading positive reviews on the provider can often lead to a better travel insurance experience.

6. Understand Global Assistance Services Provided

Purchase a policy that offers comprehensive global assistance services, including 24/7 support for emergencies. This is especially important for travellers from Singapore heading to a different timezone.

As you can see, there are several factors to consider when buying travel insurance after booking a flight. Well, you can comb through each Singapore travel insurance website and gauge the best prices and features on their platforms yourself. However, you’d potentially miss out on fantastic promos with this tall order method. 

Get all the information you need on the best travel insurance deals at one glance. Click and compare travel insurance plans below to find all the details you need for you and your travel buddies!

Don’t wait till it’s too late to get your travel insurance!

While it's perfectly fine to purchase travel insurance after booking your flight, aiming to secure it at least 14 days prior to your departure date is crucial for maximising the benefits and comprehensive coverage it offers. This strategic timing ensures that you're fully protected against a wide range of travel-related mishaps, from cancellations and medical emergencies to luggage issues. 

So, if you want a more extensive scope of coverage and peace of mind knowing that your travel insurance is tailored to cover the entirety of your journey, secure your travel insurance early.

FAQs about when it’s too late to buy travel insurance

Travel coverage typically starts as soon as your policy becomes effective, which is usually at 12:01 a.m. on the day following the purchase date for most travel insurance policies. However, the commencement of specific benefits, such as trip cancellation coverage, often begins immediately after the policy is purchased, protecting your investment from that moment onwards. It's crucial to review the terms of your chosen policy, as start dates can vary based on the insurer and the type of coverage you select.

Securing travel insurance becomes less effective once an unforeseen event, like a natural disaster impacting your journey or a sudden illness, occurs before securing a policy. The optimal timeframe to ensure broad and effective coverage is to purchase your travel insurance after booking your flight and at least 14 days before your departure date. Besides, buying insurance post-departure restricts the breadth of coverage available. To maximise the benefits, including pre-departure cancellations and comprehensive protections, purchasing your policy well in advance of your trip is essential.

You can buy travel insurance anytime after you've made any payment towards your trip, such as booking flights or accommodations, often up to one year in advance. Purchasing your policy early can be beneficial, especially to take advantage of pre-departure benefits like trip cancellation coverage. Some insurers specify a maximum period before departure within which you must purchase your insurance to be eligible for certain benefits, such as coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. Reviewing your travel insurance policy's terms will provide clarity on how far in advance you can secure your coverage.

Read these next:

Best Travel Insurance Plans With COVID-19 Coverage

Best Travel Insurance Plans And Promotions In Singapore (June 2022)

5 Common Mistakes People Make When Making A Travel Insurance Claim

Money Confessions: Have You Ever Submitted a Travel Claim?


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