Why do I need cancellation cover?
So you’ve booked your holiday but you’ve got a letter through the post – you’re needed for jury duty right when you’re due to be sunning yourself on that beach. Now, this isn’t anyone’s ideal situation, but that’s where cancellation cover comes in to save the (holi)day.
It’s always better to stick to the safe side of things when it comes to your holidays. Heaven forbid – but it’s there in case something happens that may impact your travel; like jury duty or falling ill from a pre-exiting medical condition.
If you don’t have the right cover, then you may be at risk of losing all your hard-earned money, should you have to cancel your holiday.
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What will cancellation cover include?
Cancellation cover will essentially protect you against certain unexpected events that happen which prevent you from going away on your holiday. This will usually be for you, and any of your travelling companions who are on your policy too. Some common scenarios that you should find covered are:
- You fall ill or injure yourself and are medically unable to go on your trip
- The unexpected death of someone on your policy, or a close relative
- You are called for jury duty
- Your home is made uninhabitable due to fire, or a flood
- You are made redundant and can no longer afford to go on your trip
- Your destination is no longer safe to travel to and the FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) are advising against going there (although usually not included if the reason is due to COVID-19 or any other pandemic).
Depending on your policy, you may be covered for other areas as well, so it’s best to always check your policy wording so that you can see exactly what you are, and are not covered for.
What can I claim for under cancellation cover?
Most travel insurance policies will be able to cover you for:
- Your transportation costs, whether it be airplane, train or ship
- Your accommodation costs
- Your pre-booked excursions
You may also find that some policies will be able to cover you for other losses, such as unused visas, or anything else you’ve had to pre-pay for as part of your trip. If you’re going on a cruise, it’s very important that you find a policy which has cruise cover, otherwise you may find that the cost of your cruise will not be covered.
Can I get cancellation cover for COVID-19?
Whilst many policies will not include cover if you have to cancel due to COVID-19, there are some travel insurance providers who are able to offer Enhanced COVID-19 Cover. This cover could help you if you caught COVID-19 before you were due to travel, or even in some cases, if you had to self-isolate when you should have been going away.
You can find more about COVID-19 cover here.
What won’t cancellation insurance cover me for?
Cancellation cover won’t cover you for every eventuality, and it’s important to know what to watch out for. Generally, cancellation cover won’t be able to help you if:
- Any claim is caused by drug or alcohol consumption
- You’ve had a change of heart and just decided not to go on your trip
- Your airline has cancelled your flights, or your accommodation provider has cancelled your booking (they should refund your money for this anyway)
Again, it’s best to check your policy to see exactly what isn’t covered. There will be some scenarios which aren’t covered across your policy, and some which will be specific to cancellation cover.
Cancellation cover for pre-existing medical conditions
When you take out a travel insurance policy, you’ll be asked if you, or any of your travelling companions have any pre-existing health conditions. This could be a condition that you have now, have had for a certain time period, or in some cases, have ever had, no matter how long ago.
But, the good news is, that once you’ve added these conditions to your policy, they will be included as part of your cover. So, if you have to cancel your holiday because of a problem with a pre-existing medical condition, this will be taken into consideration.
If you don’t tell your insurance provider about your pre-existing health conditions, and your cancellation is related to these, it’s unlikely that you will be covered.
If you are travelling with other people, it’s worth being on the same travel insurance policy, as they will also be covered if you need to cancel due to your pre-existing health conditions. You can find out more about covering all travellers on one policy using the link below.
Does cancellation cover include flight cancellation?
If your flight is cancelled, in the first instance your airline should be able to re-arrange your flight or refund your flight for you. They should also be able to compensate you if they are at fault for any lengthy delays unless it’s outside of the airline's control, such as strike action or poor weather.
Although a cancelled flight wouldn’t generally be included in cancellation cover, depending on your policy, you may be covered for any delays or disruption to your trip.
Does cancellation cover begin on my policy right away?
For single trip cover, your policy benefits, including cancellation will start from the time that you actually buy your policy. So, you’ll be covered straight away should anything happen.
Annual multi-trip policies work a little differently. Your policy benefits will begin from the start date of your cover, not from when you buy your policy. So, if you're taking out annual multi-trip cover, consider starting your policy as soon as you can, so you aren’t caught out should the worst happen.
Can I get travel insurance for cancellation only?
You can’t get travel insurance for just cancellation cover. A standard policy will include a number of different benefits, of which cancellation cover is just one.
So 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. The cover limits will usually be per person, per claim, the total for everyone you are covering on your policy.
And make sure you check the excess. This is the amount you have to pay or have deducted from a settlement if you make a claim.
If you’re after 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 make sure you are cover right from that start and have protection right up until the moment you're due to go on your holiday.
How do I claim for cancellation cover?
The process of making a claim is always different depending on who your insurance provider is. So, if you’re unsure it’s best to check the policy details. Once you know you need to make a claim, there should be the contact number of your insurance provider on your policy documentation so you can take the next steps. It’s usually best to contact your travel insurance provider as soon as possible if you know you need to cancel your trip.
In general, these are usually the things you will need to make a claim:
- A medical certificate from your GP confirming you are unable to travel, if due to illness
- Receipts/ invoices from any bookings you have made and any cancellations
- A signed copy of a death certificate from any bereavement that is prevented you from travelling
- Any travel documents that show when and where you are going
- Other pieces of evidence showing you had to cancel, for example a letter demanding jury service