How Late Can You Buy Travel Insurance?

Find out how close to your departure you can purchase your policy with Savvy.

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, updated on September 4th, 2023       

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Organising your holiday interstate or overseas is often a very busy process with multiple moving parts. As such, you may find yourself in a situation where your departure is approaching and you still don’t have your travel insurance. Fortunately, you can find out how late you can buy your policy here with Savvy.

Learn about how long before you set off on holiday you’ll need to have your insurance sorted and the importance of doing so. We’re partnered with flexible insurers who can help you source policy coverage at the last minute, so you can find the answers you need and compare options with us today.

How late am I able to purchase a travel insurance policy?

There is no set answer for how late you can buy your travel insurance policy. You can buy it as soon as the week, day before or even day of your departure. In some cases, you can purchase travel insurance after your departure and whilst you’re already overseas. However, in terms of when you should buy your travel insurance, it’s highly recommended that you purchase it well in advance of your departure, rather than at the last minute.

The reason it’s better to purchase your travel insurance sooner rather than later is largely twofold: firstly, buying your travel insurance earlier gives you access to coverage for longer. This is particularly important if something crops up in the lead-in to your holiday which causes you to cancel part or all of the trip. If you didn’t have travel insurance purchased, you wouldn’t be able to claim cancellation costs and would instead have to pay them yourself.

The second reason it’s valuable to purchase your policy sooner is that travel insurance usually comes with a waiting period of between 48 and 96 hours. This means that, should any event which is otherwise covered under your policy occur within this period, your insurance provider won’t be able to pay out your claim. This could leave you without cover when you need it and significantly out of pocket. As such, it’s crucial to buy travel insurance as soon as you can, so you can compare your options all in one place with Savvy.

Why is it important to buy travel insurance, even at the last minute?

Travel insurance is so important to have when travelling abroad or interstate due to the coverage it offers. By spending the money on a policy before or during your holiday, you can potentially avoid paying hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket for events both within and outside your control. It isn’t just the financial coverage, though, but also the peace of mind travel insurance brings you that you can be covered if something goes wrong.

As such, even if you’re buying your travel insurance late or after your departure, it’s still worth buying a policy online and potentially benefit from the security it brings you and the lessened unease you might feel while away from home. The main areas travel insurance can cover you for include the following:

  • Overseas medical costs: falling ill or getting injured and requiring treatment on your overseas holiday could end up setting you back tens of thousands depending on your destination. Either way, you should avoid the possibility of having to fork out for treatment wherever possible. Travel insurance offers unlimited medical cover, which includes emergency transportation, evacuation and repatriation.
  • Cancellation costs: if you or a family member fall ill, your work leave is cancelled or you suffer a family emergency and are forced to call off part or all of your trip, your travel insurance can take on any fees you’re required to pay or reimburse you for non-refundable bookings.
  • Personal effects: travelling with valuables such as electronics, jewellery or even just your luggage brings with it the inherent risk of loss or damage. Whether you’re the victim of theft or your phone is knocked out of your hand, your policy can cover you (usually up to $15,000 total).
  • Personal liability: should you be found liable for injury to someone or damage to their property whilst away from home, travel insurance can offer up to $5 million in personal liability cover.
  • Hire car excess: if you decide to rent a vehicle whilst on holiday in the Netherlands, for instance, and damage it, you may be responsible for paying an excess to your rental company. However, travel insurance can offer you cover up to $7,500 to $10,000, either automatically or as an optional extra.

Questions about how late you can buy travel insurance answered

Can I buy a policy for myself and my partner at the last minute?

Yes – you can purchase travel insurance as a couple in the same way as a policy for a single traveller. You’re likely to find that this is cheaper than buying a policy for each of you, as insurers will generally cut down on the overall cost when it comes to insurance which is shared between multiple people. All the same conditions, such as waiting periods, apply if you buy in these circumstances.

What information will I need to purchase travel insurance?

Each travel insurance company will have their own requirements when it comes to purchasing your policy, but you’ll generally have to supply the following information:

  • Your departure and return dates
  • Your destination(s)
  • The number of travellers on your policy
  • Whether you have any pre-existing conditions
  • Whether you require any additional cover
  • Your COVID-19 vaccination status
How should I compare travel insurance policies when buying them late?

There’s a variety of ways to compare travel insurance policies, whether you’re travelling to Thailand or Townsville. Some of the key areas to consider when you’re picking out the best deal for your needs are:

  • The inclusions and exclusions
  • The cost of your policy
  • The types of policies offered
  • The optional extras available
  • The claim limits
  • The countries covered
  • The excess requirements
  • The age limits
Will I be able to extend my travel insurance policy whilst still overseas?

Yes – there are insurers who can offer you the ability to extend your policy if you’re overseas and decide to stay away from home for a longer period. Insurance policies can last up to 12 months in length, but some insurers will enable you to extend by up to an additional 12 months. However, this won’t always be the case, so you may find that you’ll be required to purchase a new policy if you’re unable to do so.

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We do not compare all travel insurance brands currently operating in the market. Any advice presented above or on other pages is general in nature and does not consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an insurance policy.

Savvy earns a commission from our partners each time a customer buys a travel insurance policy via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased from these brands directly, as all purchases are conducted via their websites.

Before purchasing your policy, we recommend you refer to the provider’s PDS for any further information on the terms, inclusions and exclusions.