By Trudi Mehew on 24 February 2015

Has a government guide influenced how and when we buy insurance? The answer could well be ‘yes’. According to, the launch of the Foreign Minister’s Travel Insurance Buying Guide in October last year has shown ‘obvious changes’ to how consumers buy insurance.

One month before the guide came out, a third of Aussies were looking for insurance on the site within a week of flying off. Shockingly, the most common day for searches was the day before leaving - talk about leaving things to the last minute!

However, three months after the guide was published, the most popular day to buy travel insurance was ten days before the departure date. Only 24% of travellers were buying their travel insurance just before leaving.

We’ve crunched some numbers of our own, and we’ve discovered that between August 2014 and January 2015, the number of people who bought their policy only the day before or on the day they left decreased by 14%. At the same time, the number of people who bought their policy at least seven days in advance increased by 25%. Well done, you lot.

The research conducted by suggests that older travellers are wiser; those over 60 are most likely to prepare in advance, with only 19% searching for insurance within seven days of their departure. Younger people aged 40 - 49 were the most likely to make last-minute purchases, as 37% of people waited until the week they were leaving to purchase a policy.

Antje Lauterbach, spokesperson at Columbus Direct Australia, said: “We’re delighted that the government has been able to raise awareness of the importance and complexities of travel insurance - and that people are responding to the message.

“Arranging travel insurance early gives travellers the best chance at finding the right cover at the right price, and is especially important if medical conditions or other special circumstances are involved. We hope that the trend continues and that more and more people think about organising their travel insurance as an integral part of their trip planning.”

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