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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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 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!