It Matters When, Where You Buy
The best time to buy coverage is when you put your first deposit down on the trip, Walker said.
“Travel today is a large investment. Travel insurance is for anyone who wants to protect that investment, given that there’s a lot of uncertainty in the world today,” said Walker.
“A lot of things can happen between the time you book and the time you go on the trip,” he said. “That’s when you need the protection.”
Also, the medical portion of many policies limit coverage of pre-existing conditions if you don’t purchase the policy within 15 days or so of the first deposit. In other words, if you wait a couple of months after that initial down payment,
the insurance policy may not cover you if a known condition — such as a heart condition
or asthma — acts up and requires you to seek medical attention while on your trip.
You often can purchase travel insurance from your travel agent or from the tour operator,
cruise line or hotel. Airlines now have begun to offer delay insurance for an additional
cost to your ticket.
However, be careful. You might save money by buying a policy directly from the tour operator, but it’s a good idea to make sure the policy is provided by an unrelated insurance company. Otherwise, if tour operator goes out of business, you might lose your coverage.
Also, policies that even have the same name can offer different coverage. For instance, seven large U.S. airlines offer insurance from Access America, and while the policies are all called Ticket Protector, they all offer slightly different coverage.
You can visit Web sites such as insuremytrip.com or squaremouth.com, which let you compare many different policies, options and costs.