Planning a big vacation can be risky. By making reservations far in advance, you’ll get the best deals, but you’re never sure what will happen between now and the date you’re supposed to leave. Even if you’re only planning a couple of weeks in advance, something could happen to completely derail the trip you’ve paid so much money to book.
For all of those things, you can buy trip cancellation insurance, which covers your loss in the event you can’t take the trip you scheduled. This is a separate policy from trip interruption insurance, which covers you once your vacation has begun.
Trip cancellation insurance covers you if an issue arrives that forces you out of the trip altogether. If you have to cancel your trip, you’ll be reimbursed for any nonrefundable costs you would otherwise lose, as long as they don’t exceed the limits of your policy.
But before you’ll be reimbursed, you’ll need to make sure your circumstances are covered. You can’t get trip cancellation insurance, for instance, if you simply changed your mind about the trip. So what does trip cancellation insurance cover? Here are a few qualifying incidents.
Reasonably Unforeseeable Events
The test as to whether or not your insurance covers an event is its level of predictability.
If you could not have known in advance that this event would occur, you’ll likely be covered. However, if you cancel because you’re too far along in your pregnancy, and you could have foreseen this months ago, you may get push back.
Other events that may be foreseeable include a preexisting medical condition (although some insurers have waivers for this), a court case where it was foreseeable you might be subpoenaed, and weather events that had already been forecast when you booked your tickets.
Damage to Your Destination
If the resort you were visiting burns down in the days leading up to your trip, obviously you won’t be able to stay there.
If you need to cancel your trip, you can get the costs you’ve already paid back. The same goes for destruction due to hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and any other disasters. It’s important to read the fine print in your policy, though, because some insurers exclude events like terrorism, civil disorder, or riots.
There are many other emergencies that can come up between the time you book your trip and the time you leave. You may suffer illness or injury, or you may get in a car accident on the way to catch the plane.
If a family member dies, you’ll be able to qualify for the insurance, but there may be limitations on which relatives are covered. You also likely won’t find if the emergency was related to illegal activities, that you’ll have any luck getting payment from your insurer.
Coverage can vary from one insurer to another, so be sure to read any policy carefully before you sign on the dotted line. The very events you’re most concerned about may not even be covered. Once you’re assured that you have protections in place, you’ll be able to book your trip with the confidence of knowing you’re covered.