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Timing is Everything–Especially With Travel Insurance

November 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Finance

Few things in life are as satisfying as a trip abroad, and most of us can hardly wait until we leave on our great adventure. Anticipation of things to come merely heightens our delight. Planning our trips is part of the enjoyment. Running around, buying our tickets, luggage, clothes and other items that we plan to take with us don’t even seem like chores. It’s not even painful to pay for these things because we know that soon we’ll be exploring places we’ve never been before. However, there is one “fly in this ointment”, one more expense that we’d rather not have because even though it costs us money, we receive no tangible benefit. What am I talking about? Why, travel insurance, of course!!!

Is Buying Travel Insurance at the Last Moment Okay?

I don’t know about you, but as far as I’m concerned, paying for travel health insurance is not exactly my favorite way of spending money. Could it be because travel insurance is not exactly sexy? Or is it because it just adds to the cost of an already expensive trip?

Whatever the reason, I’d rather not spend the bucks on travel insurance. However, because I know that it really is a necessity, I buy it. Nevertheless, I tend to put off the purchase as long as possible because it still feels like an “extra”. Am doing myself a favor or not?

Are You a Gambler?

Is keeping my money in my pocket for as long as possible helping me or hurting me? By delaying my travel medical insurance purchase until the day I leave, I’m actually hurting myself. This is because I’m actually gambling that nothing will happen to me before I buy my insurance. I’m betting that I or someone in my family won’t fall ill or get injured prior to departure. Also, if I haven’t bought it and something bad does happen, I won’t have any insurance coverage and I’ll be out of luck. Wouldn’t I be smarter to get my travel insurance ASAP in order to minimize my risk and maximize my potential benefits?

Don’t Lose Your Pre-Existing Condition Coverage

There is another reason to buy travel insurance without delay. Sometimes we make our travel arrangements in stages and don’t book our flights at the same time. We travelers are eligible for pre-existing medical condition exclusion waivers provided we buy our travel insurance from 7 to 21 days (depending on the policy) of making our arrangements. If we wait longer, we may not be eligible for those benefits, especially if a previously unknown health condition should materialize.

Don’t Wait To Finalize Everything Before Buying

Whenever I have traveled, I have known in advance what my plane tickets were going to cost, but what about you? Maybe you’ve made travel plans but have not yet bought your plane tickets. I suggest that it’s a good idea to buy your travel insurance even if you haven’t bought your tickets because doing so will ensure that you will qualify for the pre-existing condition exclusion waiver. If you don’t know what your flight will cost, estimate the cost and include this figure in the total cost of your trip. Later, when you have purchased your flight tickets, you can advise the insurance company.

That way you will not risk being ineligible for coverage for a medical conditions that crops up prior to departure.

What If You’ve Already Left on Your Trip?

I happen to be one of the world’s greatest procrastinators. My motto is, “Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow because you might get lucky and not have to do it at all!” Maybe you, too, are a Great Procrastinator and you avoid buying travel insurance before you leave on your trip. What happens if you have delayed buying your travel insurance or expatriate insurance until AFTER your departure? Are you out of luck? Are you ineligible for insurance because you didn’t buy it before you left home?

Fortunately, the good news is that, even if you decide to buy after departure, you are still eligible for insurance. If you can get access to the internet, both travel insurance and expatriate insurance can be found and purchased online, even after you’ve left on your trip or taken up residence abroad. As the old saying goes, “Better late than never,” especially in this case!

Can You Get Insurance for Someone Else Who Has Already Left?

Here’s another scenario. What if there is an emergency and a family member (including minors) or a friend or employee has not bought travel insurance but has already left on their trip? Do they have to travel uninsured? The answer is no, they don’t have to go without travel insurance. You, or someone else they designate, can go online and purchase travel insurance on their behalf. It’s good to know that when friends, family or employees are too busy to get their own travel insurance, they don’t have to go without it.

In this case, all you need to do is fill out an online application and make the required online payment. You’ll get instant confirmation and can even print out a copy of the policy. There is one cautionary note though. If you’re purchasing travel insurance on behalf of a minor, you’ll first have to register as an adult in order to get the insurance. It is also important to note that they will not be eligible for coverage for pre-existing medical conditions that occur during the trip after departure and prior to purchasing their insurance. This is merely another reason why purchasing travel insurance should not be delayed.

In the World of Travel Insurance, Timing Definitely IS Everything

Timing is everything, they say. Purchasing travel or expatriate insurance was probably not on the mind of whoever coined that phrase. Nevertheless, those words apply as much to buying travel insurance as they do to anything else. Given the potential for financial ruin if you’re not insured, the time to buy yours is before you need it because buying it after you need it is impossible and much too late. Learn from the “Great Procrastinator” and get the insurance you need before you need it.

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