Must Haves: Trip Cancellation Insurance
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Every traveler at some point will experience a hiccup in their travel plans. Issues like a lengthy delay or an emergency cancellation disrupt travel plans and can sometimes be costly. Travel insurance is so important because a good plan can reimburse you to cover the thousands in prepaid trip expenses you lost because of a trip cancellation.
Trip delay insurance covers what?
Travel delay insurance exists to help you get through short delays in your travel plans. It reimburses meals, accommodations and lost prepaid expenses if you are delayed more than six hours.
For example, your 6 p.m. flight to Chicago is delayed due to mechanical issues. The next available flight doesn’t leave until 9 a.m. Monday morning. Here’s what trip delay insurance may cover depending on your policy:
• Dinner and breakfast the next day
• Hotel room for the night
• Cab ride to the hotel from the airport and back
• Hotel room expenses you had booked for your first night in Chicago (if the hotel won’t refund your money)
Travel delay benefits reimburse reasonable expenses generally up to $150 per person per day. Don’t go crazy and expect your travel insurance to pay for a lavish sushi dinner and a stay at the Ritz-Carlton.
What about the airlines paying its their fault? Not necessarily, for a normal flight cancellation in the United States you generally have two basic contractual rights. USA Today explains: “One, a seat on your airline’s next available flight, or two, a refund of the unused portion of your ticket.”
Some airline contracts state if your flight is canceled or delayed (due to a reason within their control), passengers will receive meal vouchers or hotel accommodations. But policies vary by airline and situation. Also airlines don’t offer the same coverage as travel delay insurance.
What does trip interruption insurance cover?
A trip interruption is when a traveler unexpectedly cuts short his or her trip to return home. Trip interruption insurance refunds prepaid costs and covers the cost of your extra accommodations and/or your trip home (depending on which plan you choose).
Trip interruption insurance applies if the interruption is caused by a covered reason. Some common covered reasons include serious illness or injury of the traveler, traveling companion or a family member; a natural disaster that renders your home or your destination uninhabitable; and the cessation of services by your airline, cruise line or other carrier, causing you to miss more than half your trip. Trip interruption insurance is essential for those travel emergencies you just can’t predict.
What does trip cancellation insurance cover?
Trip cancellation insurance covers situations when you must cancel your trip before you leave (generally, the same covered reasons that apply to trip interruption coverage). Trip cancellation coverage refunds prepaid, nonrefundable costs of your trip, such as airfare, cruise tickets, tour bookings and hotel reservations.
In some cases it’s possible for a trip delay to turn into a trip interruption if you’ve lost more than half the total length of your trip scheduled. Say you’re about to leave for a five-day Caribbean cruise, but a blizzard grounds your Miami-bound plane for the days. When you arrive in Florida, your cruise ship is gone, and you can’t get a flight to its next port of call. You may be able to make a trip interruption claim.
Remember when your trip is delayed or interrupted, do everything you can to continue your scheduled plans. Document your efforts. Notify all your travel providers and insurer as soon as possible once you cancel your trip. Here are some tips on how to use your trip delay benefit — and how you know it’s time to cancel the trip.
Read your policy documents carefully so you understand your coverage.