How to Get the Most Out of Trip Cancellation

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As you prepare to travel, you’ll soon realize that it takes more time and usually more money than you anticipated to get yourself into vacation mode. Not only is there a long list to get done, but mental preparation that your perfectly planned schedule might not go as you expect.

Having travel insurance is one of the best things you can purchase to protect your trip, your health, and your wallet as your departures edges near. Most travel insurance policies include trip cancellation insurance and we’re about to explain what that is and how you can use it to your benefit in the off chance your travel plans are turned upside down. 

town walkway with shops and buildings
Most travel insurance policies include trip cancellation insurance.

These questions can help you understand how to get the most out of your trip cancellation insurance. Trust us, knowledge is power when it comes to travel insurance!

Keep reading for the details!

What is trip cancellation insurance?

Before you think trip cancellation insurance isn’t worth it, let’s explain what it is. If you can no longer go on your trip or need to leave your trip early, this particular coverage protects the nonrefundable prepayments or deposits you’ve made towards your trip. For example, if you cancel your trip for a covered reason (we’ll get to that next!), then you’ll get your trip cost reimbursed. Pretty useful, huh? We’ve got more details for you, so keep reading!

What is covered under trip cancellation insurance?

Now that we’ve clarified what is means, let’s narrow down what’s covered. When it comes to canceling your trip, there are some pretty common reasons for cancellation that most insurance companies have in common such as:

  • If you, a family member, or a traveling companion gets sick or injured before your departure
  • If you, a family member, or a traveling companion passes away before you leave
  • If you or a traveling companion has to serve on jury duty
  • Your primary residence or destination is uninhabitable due to a natural disaster
  • Your passport or visa was stolen
  • Severe weather causes your airline to shut down services for a certain period of time

Depending on the provider you purchase your travel insurance policy with, there might be more specific reasons for cancellation. We always encourage travelers to make sure their plan includes the coverage they’re looking for before purchasing. If your reason for cancellation lines up with what’s in your policy description of coverage, then you could receive up to 100% of those non-refundable payments you made towards your trip in reimbursement. 

If you are already on your expedition and need to cut it short, there’s usually coverage called trip interruption. To claim for this benefit, the reasons for coverage are similar to cancellation covered reasons. With trip interruption, you might need to rejoin your tour after your scheduled departure date if you missed your departure initially or you might need to get home earlier than expected and be transported back to your return destination. In whichever case, you’ll be reimbursed for extra accommodation expenses like flights and unused prepaid deposits up to 150% of the total coverage you purchased for most plans. 

What isn’t covered by Trip Cancellation insurance?

Although it covers reasons like cancellation due to an illness, there are some situations that are excluded from coverage. Of course, the exclusions will be different when looking at various insurance companies, but some general benefit exclusions include:

  • Civil unrest
  • Normal pregnancy
  • Pre-Existing Conditions (without purchasing a waiver)
  • Not Medically Fit to Travel
  • Failure to Maintain Visa or Required Documents

These situations are usually excluded because travel insurance doesn’t protect known, or expected events. The intent for cancelling travel plans and having travel insurance is to insure your investment cost against sudden and unforeseen events. 

Is there Cancellation insurance only with no medical coverage?

The short answer is yes, but there’s more to the story here. We’ve found that most standalone trip cancellation policies are the same price or are actually often more expensive than comprehensive travel insurance policies. Comprehensive plans provide much more coverage and tend to be more affordable. 

You can get the most out of cancellation insurance when buying a comprehensive travel insurance policy because they include other vital coverage categories like Emergency Medical coverage and Travel Loss and Delay coverage. Since your major medical health insurance usually doesn’t offer coverage once you set foot out of the United States, having medical coverage while overseas can be invaluable. If you’re curious about what else is covered by comprehensive travel insurance, check out our article dedicated to explaining the details of what’s covered and what’s not.

What credit cards offer free travel insurance, including trip cancellation?

Another option to obtaining travel insurance coverage, including trip cancellation coverage, is by checking with your credit card company. Some credit card companies like Chase, Citi, and American Express do provide trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage, as well as some other coverages. 

hand holding a credit card

However, there are a couple things to keep in mind when using travel insurance through credit card companies. First, there might be more exclusions and limitations with policies from credit card companies. Be sure to double-check the policy before fully committing. Another note is you will most likely be required to pay for the travel costs with the specific card company. As Aaron Crowe, an author from has written, it’s always wise to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to fill in the gaps for added peace of mind.

Not only will having insurance coverage give you more peace of mind, but it could really save you your large vacation investment if you needed to cancel for an unexpected reason. One less thing you’ll have to stress about as you pack for your departure! To find the right travel insurance policy, we recommend always comparing plans to get the best coverage at the most affordable rate. With more details about trip cancellation, you’ll be able to get the most out of it in the rare case an emergency comes up before your departure.