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Last-minute travel insurance

If you’re rushing off on an overseas holiday, don’t forget you still need travel insurance.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 14 October 2019  | 4 min read

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, and it’s best to get travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. That way you’ll be covered for cancellation or if your airline goes into administration.

The sooner you book your travel insurance, the better, but you can still get travel insurance right at the last minute, or even when you’re already abroad.

Key points

  • If you already have an annual travel insurance policy, you probably don’t need additional insurance to cover a last-minute trip
  • You might be able to buy travel insurance while you’re abroad, but you’ll probably pay a higher premium than if you’d bought a policy before your trip
  • Alternatively, you can get specialist post-departure travel insurance

Travel insurance on the day of departure

If you book last minute, you might not be able to get cancellation cover - it’s unlikely you’ll be covered for missed flights either. But, even if you buy last minute your travel insurance should include:

  • Medical care
  • Repatriation
  • Lost luggage
  • Delays and disruption

You can make the most of cancellation cover by taking out a policy as soon as you buy your holiday. You'll be covered straight away.

There will be exclusions, so make sure you check the policy details to see exactly what’s covered - it’s one way to pass the time on a long flight.


Buying travel insurance when you’re already abroad

If you’re already abroad when you realise you don’t have travel insurance, you can get travel insurance that begins straight away.

Alternatively, you could get specialist post-departure travel insurance.

Getting travel insurance when you’re already on holiday might cost more than usual - as you’re buying it last minute. Or, it could end up being cheaper, because insurers won’t need to worry about your trip being cancelled before you travel.


Why should I buy travel insurance in advance?

If you get travel insurance at the last minute, you could miss out on important cover.

For example, if you have a pre-existing medical condition, it could be more difficult to get a policy to cover your specific health needs.

Any claims you do make will be scrutinised extra carefully, which could cause delays. It's likely you'll have to provide additional proof that your claim happened after you had taken out your policy.

Top tips for last-minute travel

Here are a few things to bear in mind when you’re preparing for a last-minute trip:

  1. Travel insurance should be the first thing you sort out after booking your holiday

  2. Be as accurate as possible when declaring any pre-existing medical conditions

  3. Make sure you take copies of your passport and other travel documents with you. Store a copy on email or using a site like Dropbox

  4. Notify your bank that you are travelling, in case they block your card

  5. Let a family member, friend or neighbour know you’re going away, so they can keep an eye on your home

  6. If you’re travelling with children, put an ID bracelet on them with your contact details just in case you get separated

Your travel insurance only protects you from the moment you buy it, so make sure you get the right cover for you as soon as you book your trip – whether it’s last minute or not.

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