Last minute travel insurance

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

Josh Daniels
Travel Insurance expert
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Last Updated 8 APRIL 2022

Can I buy travel insurance on the same day as my holiday begins? 

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

However, if you buy travel insurance when you’ve started your journey – on your way to the airport, for example – you’ll need to make sure the policy will still cover you. And, if you buy your policy when you’re already on your way, it’s unlikely to cover you for 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 any claim you make 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?

Some insurance providers might offer you travel insurance if you contact them from the airport. However, the cut-off point at which providers will offer cover varies – some won’t cover you if you’ve gone through customs, for example – so you may have to look around to find a policy that will cover you.

When’s the best time to buy travel insurance? 

It’s a good idea to get travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked a break. Travel insurance isn’t just about what happens when you’re on holiday, it’s there to protect the money you’ve paid out in the lead up to your trip as well. If you buy a policy straight after you’ve booked, you might be 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 policy that’s the best fit for you.

What does last-minute travel insurance cover me for?

Your travel insurance should include cover for medical expenses, repatriation and lost luggage, well as any activities listed in the policy. However, if you leave it until the last minute, it may not cover you for cancellation or missed flights.

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

Yes. Post departure insurance – sometimes called ‘already travelling insurance’ – is available from specialist providers if you’ve forgotten to buy cover or hadn’t realised that your policy had run out. But be aware that if something has already gone wrong – your baggage has been stolen or you’ve had to have medical treatment, for example – it won’t cover that. It’s just for unforeseen events that haven’t yet happened.

Although it’s possible to buy travel insurance once 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 process of applying might not be as simple as usual, as the provider may carry out extra checks for fraud.

Does travel insurance start as soon as you buy it? 

It depends on the type of cover. Single trip travel insurance gives you cover as soon as you pay for it. But annual travel insurance gives you cover from the policy start date you choose – so it’s best to make sure this is the same as the day you book your holiday. For post-departure insurance, you’ll need to check the start date.

Can I extend my travel insurance from abroad? 

Some providers will let you extend your policy while you’re away if you realise it’s about to run out or decide you want to be away for longer. Others will 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 provider know you want to extend before your policy expires, and you might need to do this within a certain about of time – at least seven days before you policy runs out, for example. Check your policy to be sure.

Can I amend my travel insurance from abroad? 

While you’re away, you may want to add cover for an activity that’s not already included in your policy – say you decide to go scuba diving, for example. In this situation, call your insurance provider and see if they can add the cover on. If not, you may be able to buy a standalone policy on the day.

What if I have annual travel insurance? 

One of the great advantages of annual travel insurance is that you don’t have to remember to buy individual policies for each trip you make. Before you go though, check that your annual policy covers you for your destination and that it’s not due to run out while you’re away.

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