Given the headlines of the past month or so, I doubt very much that I have to work very hard to convince anyone at this point that travel insurance is a good investment. It seems that the “why” of purchasing travel insurance isn’t really the question anymore. What may be more important at this point is the “when” to buy it; too often, well-meaning travelers miss out on excellent coverage options because of timing.
Between airline strikes, civil unrest, and of course, the terrible tragedy of the Costa Concordia, there have been more than enough examples in recent days of travel gone awry. And as a result, the InsureMyTrip Customer Care Center has seen what we by now expect to see after major travel news hits the airwaves: a big increase in calls from worried travelers who want to buy insurance.
You might expect that an increase in call volume would make us happy; after all, InsureMyTrip exists to help people find the right coverage for their trips, and to provide them with the peace of mind that they’re traveling with a solid insurance policy in their back pockets…just in case. Unfortunately, when an influx of news-related calls comes in to our phone lines, it’s not always possible for us to help every one of those callers find the right insurance policy. Too often, we have to tell customers the simple, but painful, truth: “You waited too long.”
Too long for what? Too long to be eligible for that Cancel for Any Reason benefit you really wanted; too long to buy a policy with a pre-existing conditions waiver that our Customer Care rep can see you definitely need. Too long to get the correct insurance coverage for your specific trip, so that you’re left with fewer options where once there might have been a virtual buffet.
We’ve said many times that if a volcano erupts in Iceland, you can’t call us the next day to get insurance against that volcano’s effects. I’m pretty sure that message has gotten through to a number of travelers by now. But what we need to add is the following piece of crucial information: If you want to be covered for the greatest possible number of unforeseen events, if you want to have travel insurance that offers the highest level of service and benefits to you, or even if you just want to have every option available when you buy…it’s worth at least taking a look at the range of plans that are out there as soon as you’ve booked your trip.
On behalf of our Customer Care Center, I ask you all not to wait before looking into travel insurance. Not a week, not a month, not until a few days before your trip if you can help it. As the days beyond your first payment on your trip continue to elapse, your options for insurance slowly diminish. And nothing is more disappointing to us, or to a traveler we’re trying to help, than to have to say “I’m sorry…if you had called a week ago, you could have gotten that, but now you’re past the window.” You don’t have to wait until every detail of your travels has been planned and paid for; in fact, your choices will be at their most broad when you’ve just made the first payment on your trip.
So go ahead — call us when the rush of that first booking is still fresh. Call us when you’re still excited about making your plans for a new adventure. We can’t wait to hear where you’re going, and we hope as always that you’ll want to take us with you.