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Last-minute travel insurance

If you’ve left it until the last minute to get your travel insurance, you should still be able to get a policy to suit – even if you’re travelling today.

If you’ve left it until the last minute to get your travel insurance, you should still be able to get a policy to suit – even if you’re travelling today.

Written by
Anna McEntee
Home, pet and travel insurance expert
Last Updated
27 APRIL 2023
3 min read
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Can I buy travel insurance on the day my holiday starts?

You can buy travel insurance right up until you shut the door behind you when you leave for your trip. Most travel insurance providers state that your trip ‘starts when you leave home and ends when you return’.

But if you buy travel insurance once you’ve started your journey – on your way to the airport, for example – you’ll need to make sure the policy will still provide enough cover. And if you buy your policy when you’re on your way, it’s unlikely to cover any delays that cause you to miss your flight.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

Can I buy travel insurance at the airport?

Many insurance providers offer instant online cover, which means you can buy travel insurance at the airport. But the cut-off point varies – some won’t cover you if you’ve gone through customs, for example – so you may have to look around to find the right cover.

When’s the best time to buy travel insurance?

It’s a good idea to get travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your break. Travel insurance isn’t just about what happens on holiday, it also protects the money you’ve paid out leading up to your trip. If you buy a policy straight after booking, it should mean you’re covered if you need to cancel your trip or if your holiday company goes bust before you go away.

Sorting out your travel insurance well in advance also gives you time to compare prices and make sure you get the right policy for you.

What does last-minute travel insurance cover me for?

Your travel insurance should include medical expenses, repatriation and lost luggage, well as any activities listed in the policy. But if you buy your insurance at the last minute, you may not be covered for cancellation or missed flights.


Can I buy travel insurance when I’m already on holiday?

Yes. Some insurance providers offer post-departure insurance – sometimes called ‘already travelling insurance’. This is extremely handy if you’ve forgotten to buy cover or realise your policy has run out.

But be aware that if something has already gone wrong – your baggage has been stolen or you’ve had medical treatment, for example – you won’t be covered. Your insurance is for unforeseen events that haven’t yet happened.

Although you can buy travel insurance after your trip has started, it’s not ideal. These types of policies can be more expensive, your choice could be limited, and your cover may be restricted. Also, the application process may be more thorough as the provider may carry out extra checks for fraud.

Can I amend my travel insurance from abroad?

If you decide on holiday you want to take part in an activity your policy doesn’t cover – scuba diving, for example – your insurance provider should be able to amend your policy. Give them a call and see if they can add it to your cover. If not, you may be able to buy a standalone policy on the day.

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Frequently asked questions

Does travel insurance start immediately?

It depends on the type of cover. Single trip travel insurance cover begins as soon as you pay for it. But annual travel insurance covers you from your chosen start date – so it’s best to make this the day you book your holiday. If you’re buying post-departure insurance, you’ll obviously want it to kick in straight away.

Can I extend my travel insurance while abroad?

Some insurance providers will let you extend your policy while you’re away. This can be useful if you realise your policy is about to run out, or decide to stay abroad for longer. Other providers only let you extend your policy if you’re stuck abroad because of circumstances beyond your control.

In any case, you’ll need to let your insurance provider know you want to extend your policy before it expires. You may need to do this within a certain time period – say, at least seven days before your policy runs out. Check your policy to be sure.

What if I have annual travel insurance?

The main advantage of annual travel insurance is that it saves you having to remember to buy individual policies for every trip. But before you go, check that your annual policy covers your destination and doesn’t run out while you’re away.

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