If your hotel is refundable and you can get the value of your flights back in credits, you can skip travel insurance.
Buy close to booking
Travel insurers say the best time to buy travel insurance — which usually takes effect within a day of purchase — is just after making your travel plans to have the largest possible coverage window. A lot can happen between booking a Christmas market cruise in Europe in June and going in December.
With many plans, purchasing travel insurance 10 to 14 days from your first trip payment entitles you to “early purchase” benefits such as a waiver for pre-existing medical conditions that impact travel. If such a waiver is included, it is usually prominent in a summary of benefits, so read it carefully.
“Not all plans have a pre-existing condition waiver,” said Suzanna Morrow, the senior vice president of InsureMyTrip.com, an online insurance marketplace. “If I have a heart condition and if something occurs, I don’t want it excluded, so I would need to buy a policy within 14 days of the first dollar spent.”
Hedge against the weather
You can’t control the weather, but you can insure against its unexpected disruptions. For example, if you’re ready to jump on great rates in the Caribbean during the height of hurricane season, buy your insurance immediately after booking so that if a hurricane develops and your destination is evacuated, you’ll be covered.