Common Covered Reasons for Trip Cancellation [GUIDE]

Trip cancellations happen more often than you think. If your travel bookings are nonrefundable or subject to cancellation penalties for last-minute changes, getting travel insurance is a wise idea to avoid being stuck paying those costs. That’s why it’s vital to understand the covered reasons for trip cancellation, which we’ll unpack below.

Specifics on why trip cancellation insurance is important in protecting your prepaid trip costs can be found on our main Trip Cancellation page. Here, we’re delving into the specific covered reasons for trip cancellation coverage in travel insurance.

Jumping Ahead

blue outline of arrow pointing right How many reasons are there to cancel your trip?

Depending on the plan documents and insurance company, you’ll find 15-40 covered reasons why you could cancel your trip and get a full reimbursement of your trip cost. Your full travel insurance policy description lists these covered reasons under the trip cancellation section. Although it won’t erase the disappointment of a missed trip, it could prevent you from incurring additional expenses.

Travel insurance covers a wide array of common reasons that might prevent you from making it to your destination. However, it doesn’t cover all reasons, so it’s vital to diligently check that the travel insurance policy you’re considering covers all your concerns.

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blue outline of arrow pointing right The Difference Between Unforeseen and Foreseen Events

Travel insurance is meant to protect against unknown or “unforeseen” events. In other words, events that haven’t happened yet, but pose a possibility of risk to your trip. This is important to understand, especially when you’re considering when you should purchase travel insurance. If you purchase travel insurance after something causes you to cancel your trip and expect protection to apply, you’ll be out of luck.

For example, if a family member passes away and an individual attempts to obtain trip cancellation insurance after this event, the coverage would likely not apply. This is because the family member’s passing was already known at the time of attempting to purchase the insurance.

blue outline of arrow pointing right What reasons are covered under trip cancellation?

You’ll typically find covered cancellations reasons for trip cancellation listed out in the plan documents, they aren’t broken up by category. Below we’ve broken down some of the common reasons for trip cancellation based on cancellation type. 

Scenario: You or your traveling companion get sick or hurt and are no longer able to travel. Make sure you see a doctor so you can provide proof when you submit your claim.

Scenario: A family member gets sick or hurt and you need to stay home to provide care. Same thing goes here… make sure they go to the doctor so you have evidence of the illness.

Scenario: Your business partner gets sick or hurt. That’s right, even your business partner’s sickness is a covered reason to cancel on some travel insurance policies!

Scenario: You get fired before the trip or must transfer to a new location (conditions apply).

Scenario: You’re required to be at work for unforeseen reasons and can no longer travel as a result. This is sometimes additional coverage called “Cancel for Work Reasons”.

Scenario: There is an act of terrorism in a city on your trip itinerary within a certain period from your departure date.

Scenario: You get into a car accident before your trip.

Scenario: There’s a natural disaster that occurs at your travel destination.

cyclone going over water

Scenario: You get legally separated or divorced.

Scenario: Your home or business is burglarized or damaged.

Scenario: You’re summoned for jury duty.

Scenario: You are deployed by the military.

Scenario: Your school year is unexpectedly extended.

Scenario: You’re the victim of an assault before your trip.

Other Trip Cancellation Covered Reasons

Scenario: The travel company or common carrier you’re booked with goes bankrupt.

Scenario: The host at your destination dies or is hospitalized.

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blue outline of arrow pointing right Events NOT Considered Covered Reasons for Trip Cancellation

Most standard travel insurance policies do not insure all reasons for trip cancellation. Before canceling your trip, it’s crucial to understand the covered reasons and those that are not covered. That way, you can make an informed decision when purchasing travel insurance. 

Most travel insurance policies list these common exclusions regarding trip cancellation insurance:

  • War or acts of war

  • Pregnancy and childbirth(unless hospitalized or you experience major complications)

  • Pre-existing conditions (unless you have a pre-existing condition waiver)

  • Suicide or attempted suicide

  • Participation in professional athletic sports

  • Pandemic outbreak at your destination

  • Fear of travel

  • Travel supplier cancellations

blue outline of arrow pointing right Insider Trip Cancellation Insurance Tips to Know

Our experts know a lot about travel insurance. Here are some of the tips they often share with our customers regarding getting coverage under trip cancellation.

For medical reasons, see a doctor. 

When canceling for medical reasons, ensure that you visit a doctor who can verify that you are ill or injured and unable to travel. If it’s your family member or business colleague’s ailment or injury, make sure they do the same.

Get documentation for everything. 

Whatever goes down, just make sure you have documentation to provide the reason you’re looking to cancel. If you don’t have documentation, coverage may be denied –even if your reason is covered. Check your policy for more details on the required documentation.

table with laptop and paperwork strewn about

When it comes to weather, purchase your policy sooner rather than later. 

If you purchase your travel insurance policy after the National Weather Service has classified or named a storm, you will likely be unable to file a claim. Specifically, the effective date of your travel insurance policy MUST be before this classification. If it’s not, it will be deemed a “foreseen” event and not insured for trip cancellation insurance by the policy.

Read your insurance policy’s terms and conditions. 

The list of trip cancellation reasons provided above is generally standard for most travel insurance policies, although it may vary slightly from one insurance company to another. Make sure you look into the specific policy you select to see what exactly is covered. This is the best way to double-check your plan has all the benefits you’re looking for.

Consider “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage. 

Finally, If you’re looking for even more cancellation protection, make sure to purchase the CFAR upgrade coverage. It costs a bit more but you could save a lot of money if you do end up cancelling due to a reason that’s not typically covered. If you think that you might not be able to make it on the trip you’re booking, we highly recommend adding this coverage upgrade to your policy to insure your non-refundable trip costs.

As always, we hope you make it on every trip you book safe and sound! But when something comes up and you need to cancel, we want to make sure you have the protection you need. 

We also want to help you get the best possible coverage for your particular situation at the lowest price. You can use our free quote tool to get started and reach out to us with any questions!

Kate's authoritative voice in travel writing is backed by years of extensive travel experience, allowing her to infuse her writing with the tips and tricks she has gathered over time. This wealth of experience enhances her ability to write authoritatively on travel-related topics.

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