Simon Bentley
Author: Simon Bentley, Head Of Customer Interaction

Simon has over 15 years experience in the insurance industry and looks after our website, making sure our customers have the best experience possible!

Originally posted: 22nd Apr 2015

Our guide to cancellation cover

One of the many benefits of travel insurance is having cancellation cover, and if you’re offered a policy that doesn’t include it – think carefully before you purchase. Not having any cover for cancellation can leave you high and dry with no way to recover unused travel expenses if you can’t go!

What is cancellation cover for travel insurance?

Cancellation is one of the standard cover benefits you’d expect to find on most travel insurance policies.

If you book your holiday, and then for whatever reason, learn that you won’t be able to travel – cancellation cover protects you against the cost, enabling you to recoup the money you initially spent.

Why would I need cancellation cover for my holiday?

There are many reasons as to why somebody may need to cancel their holiday before they embark.

As much as we all like to plan as far as we can in advance, the reality is that it’s impossible to see into the future. We’re not to know what unforeseen changes may happen from when we book our holidays to the day we actually leave.

For instance, your employment commitments may change – and you might have to work during the time you’ve booked your holiday. A family member or friend might have passed away, and you might need to stay in the country to make the necessary arrangements as a result.

Of course, these types of things are rare – but as mentioned above, it’s difficult to predict when or how our circumstances might change. So, having an insurance policy that includes cancellation cover can be highly beneficial – especially in terms of giving you peace of mind that you’ll get your money back should you absolutely need to cancel your holiday.

Does travel insurance cover cancellation due to illness?

Illness is obviously a major factor in why people tend to cancel their holidays. Many people have certain medical conditions that put them at a potential risk when flying, for example. Whether it’s a condition, or perhaps even a recent medical surgery – this is more likely to give that person a higher risk of cancelling their trip.

Cancellation cover is therefore something you’d expect in specialist travel insurance policies for pre-existing medical conditions. If you fall ill before you fly, you’ll benefit from the cancellation cover benefit included within the policy you bought.

Cancellation cover for pre-existing medical conditions

It’s important that you declare all of your pre-existing medical conditions and anything you take prescribed medication for at the time of applying for travel insurance.

You may have to pay an additional premium to have your conditions covered – but, doing so means you’ll be entitled to claim should your existing medical conditions be the reason you have to cancel.

If you’re travelling companions are insured on the same travel insurance policy, they too can be covered for your pre-existing medical conditions and also look to claim for irrecoverable and unused travel expenses.

Unfortunately, most travel insurance policies will not cover you to cancel or cut a holiday short due to non-travelling relatives who become unwell because of pre existing medical conditions.

Does cancellation cover include flight cancellation?

More often than not, flight cancellation is not something you should expect to be included as part of your overall cancellation cover.

Anything considered out of the airline’s control – whether that’s bad weather or even employment strike action, won’t be included.

However, if your flight is delayed or cancelled for reasons for which the airline is at fault, you should be able to reclaim all of your costs through your insurance. That being said, the airline should be able to compensate you personally if they’ve cancelled your flight and not booked you on another one within 24 hours, for example.

What else does cancellation cover include?

For those of you who have booked a last minute break, you may feel there is little or no risk of you having to cancelling your trip. If this is the case, buying a travel insurance policy that excludes cancellation cover can indeed reduce your premium.

But, for those of us who plan our holidays in advance, it’s a good idea to have it. Here’s why:

  • What if anything happens to a close business associate and you need to cancel?
  • What if you are called as a witness at a Court of Law or for Jury Service?
  • What if you are made redundant and can no longer afford to travel?
  • What if the police or other authorities request you stay home due to serious damage to your home caused by fire, storm, flood etc?

Provided you’re not aware of any known circumstances that could cause you to cancel at the time of taking out your policy, then unforeseen circumstances like the ones mentioned above are grounds to make a cancellation claim. Of course, terms and conditions will vary from policy to policy – so make sure you check the small print.

Can I get travel insurance for cancellation only?

You can’t just get travel insurance for cancellation only. A standard policy will include a number of different benefits, of which cancellation cover is just one.

Buying travel insurance just for the purpose of cancellation cover, with the intent of cancelling almost immediately isn’t a wise move. If this is the case, you often won’t get the pay out that you think you’re entitled to, as you’re essentially invalidating the cover.

Insurance providers are likely to ask for proof of when something happened, to assess whether or not your claim is fraudulent.

What level of cancellation cover do I need?

This really depends on how much your trip is costing. When comparing policies, check that the Cancellation Cover limit is enough to cover the cost of your trip, including flights, accommodation and pre-paid excursions.

And, always check the excess. This is the amount you have to pay if you make a claim. It’s worth knowing if you under-insure, you may only get a percentage of your holiday costs back and not the full cancellation limit!

If you've already booked your trip

Get cancellation cover now!

If you want value for money, then buy your travel insurance as soon as you have put down a deposit or paid for your holiday. This way you can take full advantage of the cancellation benefit and have protection right up until the moment you're due to depart.

Think of it like this…. for every minute you don’t have cancellation cover in place, your money is at risk!

Frequently Asked Questions

Cancellation amounts will be per person. So, if you were going on a trip for 2 people which cost £1,000 in total you would ideally need cancellation cover for at least £500.
If you have to cancel your Cruise, your insurance provider may be able to cover the cost of your pre-booked excursions and this will usually be up to a certain amount. We'll show you whether this is covered before you buy your policy.
If you are taking out single trip cover, and have cancellation cover included, you'll be covered for cancellation from the moment you buy your policy. However, if you are taking out annual trip cover, and have cancellation cover included, you'll be covered from the start date of your policy. Consider starting your annual trip cover as soon as possible, especially if you have already booked your trip!
Full details of what you need to do to make a claim will be detailed in the Policy Wording provided to you by your insurance provider.
A pre-existing condition is a diagnosed medical condition that existed before taking out a policy. We'll ask a series of questions about the medical history for you and any travellers on your quote. If you answer yes to any of these, you will need to tell us about the traveller's conditions. This could be a condition that a traveller has now, or has had in the past. If you are not sure what conditions you need to declare, we have online support available to help you 24/7!
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