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Here’s when you should buy travel insurance

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There are plenty of reasons to buy travel insurance but saving money and potential headaches are top of mind.

Travel costs are continuing to climb (airline tickets, in particular) as people resume leisure travel after taking a hiatus during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

And inflation certainly doesn’t help. The price of plane tickets is expected to spike to a 5-year high during the peak holiday season, according to the travel booking app Hopper, which reported Christmas airfare prices are hovering around $435 round-trip.

With prices that high, it’s a good idea to protect your wallet in the event of an unforeseen event or emergency. That’s when travel insurance can come in handy. Fortunately, sites like SquareMouth make the process easy. Get started now.

When to buy travel insurance

While it’s likely a good idea to buy travel insurance amid sky-high prices, there are specific timeframes to keep in mind. Here are some specific guidelines to follow based on the type of insurance you’re considering. 

  • Trip Cancellation: Most companies will allow you to purchase Trip Cancellation coverage up to 24 hours before your scheduled trip. 
  • Cancel For Any Reason: Unlike Trip Cancellation, you’ll need to buy this type of coverage in advance, typically within 14 to 21 days after your initial booking date.
  • Pre-Existing Conditions: This type of coverage also requires advanced booking around 14 to 21 days after your initial booking date.

Are you interested in purchasing one of the above travel insurance plans? If you’ve recently booked a trip or you’re getting ready to do so, then shop around for quotes now (before it’s too late!).

Ultimately, though, you should try to buy travel insurance as soon as possible. Waiting could end up costing you in the long run.

“Don’t wait until the last minute: Travel insurance is intended to protect travelers against sudden and unforeseen events,” the Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking in Washington, D.C. recommends. “If, for example, you are heading to Florida in two days amid hurricane predictions, purchasing travel insurance at the last moment isn’t likely to help you. Typically, if you buy travel insurance after a winter or tropical storm is named, your plan won’t provide coverage for claims related to that event.”

Travel insurance can cost anywhere from 4% to 8% of your trip, according to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA). Squaremouth’s estimates are similar, saying that costs can range from 5% to 10%.

What are the different types of travel insurance?

The first two types of travel insurance coverage are fairly self-explanatory. 

Trip Cancellation insurance allows travelers to potentially request up to a 100% reimbursement for their trip if they need to cancel their plans for a long list of covered reasons. Those who don’t want to be limited to one of these specific reasons can upgrade to the Cancel For Any Reason policy (just note this can increase your premium up to 50%, per SquareMouth).

Coverage for pre-existing conditions, on the other hand, isn’t typically included with your travel insurance unless you specifically purchase a policy that lists this as an option.

“A policy with the Pre-Existing Condition benefit can provide medical coverage for a pre-existing condition in the event of an emergency during your trip, just as it would for a new medical condition,” SquareMouth explains on its website.

Whenever you buy any type of insurance – whether it’s life insurance, pet insurance, travel insurance or another form – you should always carefully read the fine print to fully grasp what’s included in the policy, as limitations or exclusions can apply. You always want to make sure you’re getting the proper coverage for your needs.

Here are some of the top benefits often included in travel insurance policies that travelers should look for, according to SquareMouth:

  • Emergency Medical
  • Medical Evacuation
  • Medical Coverage for COVID-19
  • Travel Delay
  • Extension of Coverage

How to buy travel insurance

Purchasing travel insurance is simple if you follow these six steps on a travel insurance marketplace like SquareMouth:

  1. Fill out trip information (departure and return dates, destination)
  2. Fill out traveler information (state, country, citizenship, number of travelers and their ages)
  3. Fill out trip cost information (specify whether you want cancellation coverage, trip cost amount, the deposit date and whether you have any payments left) 
  4. Click “Search Results” to scan different travel insurance policies
  5. Evaluate the different travel insurance policies (click “Full Policy Detail”) and compare plans
  6. Buy the plan that fits your needs best and is the most cost-effective 

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