Our latest market research shows that 41%* of you do not buy your travel insurance until just before you go on holiday, team this with the comments plaguing consumer forums and it would appear consumers really are unsure about when the best time to buy their travel insurance is; last minute or as soon as the holiday is booked.

Many holidaymakers believe there is no point buying travel insurance early as they are not going to be cancelling the trip. With regards to this comment, it is important to stress that sometimes the unexpected can happen and, without the right cover, you could find yourself considerably out of pocket. Most travel insurance policies will state specific reasons for cancellation which will be covered (this can be found here), however there are some travel insurers out there which will offer ‘cancellation for any cause beyond your reasonable control’ – something to look out for next time you buy a policy.

In addition, 45%* of holidaymakers would expect their travel insurance to fully refund the cost of their holiday if they needed to cancel due to a close relative becoming ill and 43%* expect the cost of rebooking a flight home, if they need to come home due to a close relative becoming ill.

What they, and most others, don’t realise is if the relative has an existing medical condition this will not be covered by the majority of travel insurers. Again, there are only a few travel insurance providers that will offer cover for non-travelling close relatives as long as their condition is well controlled and stable at the time of booking the holiday.

So, back to our original question; when should you buy your travel insurance?

Travel insurance should, without fail, be at the top of any holidaymakers’ lists.

As soon as you pay your holiday deposit, you should buy travel insurance that is suitable for your individual needs – not just the cheapest one you can find (the reason they are cheap is usually because they have more exclusions and restrictions)! We’ve broken down the insurance jargon and explained the cover you may need here.

By buying your travel insurance policy as soon as you book your holiday, you will be covered from that moment, right up until you return back to the UK.

But, what if you have several holidays booked in a year – surely that’s going to work out quite expensive?

Almost all travel insurance companies will offer a ‘multi-trip’ policy. These are designed for holidaymakers who have more than one trip planned (be careful, there will be a restriction on the number of days you can travel for at any one time – usually 31 days per trip) within twelve months. A multi-trip policy can be more cost effective and also cover any spontaneous breaks – as long as they are within the destinations you requested when you bought your policy.

Again, a multi-trip policy should be taken out from the day you pay your holiday deposit to ensure you are covered if you need to cancel before your trip. There is a rumour out there that buying a multi-trip policy before you are due to travel is a waste of money – but should something happen and you’ve listened to the rumour, you will be left out of pocket and kicking yourself!

*stats from travelinsuranceexplained.co.uk