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When should I purchase my travel insurance policy?

Over the past 10 years, it has been shown that more and more Australians are travelling abroad. Over 9 million Australians travelled out of Australia in the year ending December 2016, a huge boost from 2006, when just 4.9 million Australians left the country. (Source:

But one of the key questions many Australian travellers want to know is – WHEN should I purchase my travel insurance?

Is there any ideal time to purchase travel insurance?

The best time to purchase your travel insurance is as soon as you have booked or finalised your holiday.

You should make sure that your insurance covers you for:

  • The destination/s you will be visiting
  • Your general level of risk depending on what you will be doing on your trip
  • Luggage and baggage items
  • Any additional valuables you decide to bring
  • Your planned activities and sports while away
  • Your specific needs, such as age or pre-existing medical conditions

What if I don’t yet know what I’ll be taking? Or what activities I’ll be doing?

That’s okay. If you’ve yet to figure out some parts of your trip, you can still book your travel insurance based on an estimate of what cover you feel you will need.

Why should you book travel insurance sooner rather than later?

Booking your travel insurance as soon as possible means you can benefit from cancellation cover, which is considered one of the most basic elements of any travel insurance package. (Source:

  • Cancellation cover allows you to claim back your prepaid costs if you need to cancel your trip prior to departing the country
  • In most cases, you can claim lost funds related to cancelled, non-refundable flights, accommodation, tours, activities, travel agency fees and other related travel bookings

Under what circumstances can you claim on cancellation cover?

If you need to cancel your trip prior to leaving Australia, you can usually make a claim for your expenses if your cancellation is due to:

  • Your Injury, illness or death
  • The death, injury or illness of a companion you are travelling with
  • The death, injury or illness of a relative back home
  • A substantial disaster at home (e.g. flood, fire, burglary) with in 48hr before the date you planned to leave
  • Being quarantined
  • Becoming pregnant or delivering a baby and being unable to travel due to complications
  • Being a member of the armed forces and being unable to travel due to being posted in Australia or another destination overseas unexpectedly
  • A redundancy in your job where you had no prior knowledge of the redundancy
  • Your obligation to appear in court as a witness
  • Cancellation of an educational course that you were planning to attend (and where you had no control over the cancellation) if the sole purpose of trip is attend that course.

In most cases, you will need to supply documentation (like a medical certificate or police report) to show that you were not able to travel and had to cancel your trip.

Can you organise insurance after deciding to cancel your trip?

No. This is not allowed and will essentially mean you are not eligible for travel insurance or cancellation cover.

What could happen if you leave travel insurance until the last minute?

If you put off organising your travel insurance until later (e.g. a week or a day before you travel) and then discover you need to cancel your trip, you won’t be able to take advantage of the cancellation cover – and you’ll lose any non-refundable fares or costs that you have already paid.


Jane booked herself on a holiday to China, but decided to leave her travel insurance arrangements until a few days before she left. However, Jane’s mother suddenly became very ill and she ended up cancelling the trip.

The airlines and hotels had a non-refundable booking policy and would not refund Jane any of the money she’d already paid.

Since she did not have travel insurance, she wasn’t able to make a cancellation claim, either. Jane found herself without a holiday and out of pocket for $6,200.

If Jane had organised her travel insurance early on, she could have made a claim for the funds she lost and then used the money to re-book her trip later on.

Don’t leave your travel insurance until the last minute!

Organise your travel insurance now and start a quote with InsureandGo below: