Life happens. How does trip cancellation insurance work?
Feb. 21, 2019. Unforeseen events occur. Your meticulously planned foreign adventure should not be lost forever if you or your companions are unable to travel. For example, a close family member gets hurt or sick just before you leave town, putting you in a position to lose the entire value of your trip to stay home and help them. Luckily, trip cancellation insurance exists to help you in situations like these.
Trip cancellation insurance will reimburse you for your travel arrangements if you must cancel your trip and trip interruption insurance will reimburse you for the rest of your travel arrangements if you have to cut your trip short.
What is covered?
Trip cancellation insurance will cover losses that arise from unexpected circumstances, such as:
- Medical emergencies or death affecting you, your traveling companion or immediate family member
- The airline or travel agency ceasing operation
- Loss of employment
- Work commitments
- Bad weather and natural disasters
- Airline mechanical problems
- Jury duty
- Lost luggage
- Canceled flights and missed connections
- Travel visa denial
- Pregnancy complications
Trip cancellation/interruption coverage will cover your losses if the event occurs while you are already on vacation and must cut your trip short. Usually, it will cover the unused value of the trip plus the cost of a one-way plane ticket. It also may cover delay costs such as accommodation, alternative transport or meals. It is a good practice to review your policy options and understand what is and is not covered by your policy and how it fits with your travel plans.
What is not covered?
While you can get “cancel for any reason” coverage, it is uncommon and expensive. Most policies have certain conditions that are not covered. These include:
- Not allowing enough time for travel carriers to re-accommodate your booking. Most claims can only proceed if you were unable to make it to your intended destination within 24 hours of the originally scheduled itinerary.
- Purchasing travel insurance for a destination that was expecting a large weather event. If you have been watching days of coverage on the hurricane approaching the Florida coast and you decide to purchase insurance coverage after learning of the impending storm, your claim may not be covered. Make sure you buy coverage early to avoid this scenario. Known and expected events are not covered by trip cancellation insurance.
- Breaking up with your significant other just before the trip. While documented divorce or separation is usually covered, a relationship breakup is not.
- Death of a pet or extended family member.
How to make a claim
First review your policy to familiarize yourself with its conditions and requirements. For a medical emergency, you need to provide proof from a doctor of your inability to travel. For other circumstances, you will have to provide documentation that supports your need to cancel the trip.
These can include receipts, travel confirmations, refunds received from travel suppliers or any appropriate or related documentation that indicates the cause of your trip cancellation.
Contact your insurance agent to find out the details and begin the claim process and they will help you through it.