Basic travel insurance covers you if certain unforeseen events cause changes to travel plans. There are restrictions, however. Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) insurance offers more flexibility. For many travellers, it's worth the peace of mind to pay a bit extra for this essential add-on.
Basic travel insurance vs. Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance
With basic trip cancellation insurance, unanticipated illness causing the inability to travel, death of those going on the trip, hospitalization or death of family members not travelling, a natural disaster at the destination or at home, and even jury duty could trigger reimbursement of the non-refundable fees you paid for the trip.
Be sure to read your policy thoroughly. Covered events differ depending on the travel insurance you purchase. You'll only receive reimbursement for cancelled travel plans if the reason for cancellation is specifically stated in the policy document. You may have to provide supporting documentation, as well.
For example, if you become too ill to travel, the insurance company may require a letter from your doctor stating that they recommend you cancel your plans.
CFAR travel insurance offers more flexibility. You can literally cancel your travel plans and receive reimbursement for non-refundable upfront payments for any reason – but there are criteria that must be met. This includes things like:
- You will likely have to purchase the coverage within a certain time frame from booking your trip, usually 15 days
- You will need to cancel your coverage at least 48 hours before you were supposed to leave
- You must already have a “base” insurance policy
So, if your sister reschedules her baby shower to coincide with your upcoming cruise, you can cancel your trip and get your money back. If you lose your job, your basement floods or your pet sitter retires, you won't lose your non-refundable investment if you have CFAR travel insurance.
Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance is necessary when travelling to less stable areas of the world
With CFAR, you don't have to wait for proof that sudden political or civil unrest at your destination has caused you to cancel your plans. No one wants to end up contacting the embassy for help with safe passage out of a volatile area. CFAR insurance is a great way to add peace-of-mind to your trip if you suspect that there may be problems at your destination.
This is especially important when you schedule your trip far in advance. Even if you are going on a closed-loop cruise, if something happens at one of the ports and you have to disembark and fly home, it could ruin the trip. CFAR insurance lets you cancel the trip if you feel that there may be unrest at any of your destinations.
Change travel plans at the last minute without losing all your money
Adding a few days and expanding your trip is much easier when you have CFAR travel insurance. If you need to cancel your original flight plans to make room for a longer vacation, you won't lose all your money.
Having a NEXUS card or passport card if you are a Canadian or U.S. citizen facilitates travel throughout North America, but should you want to expand your trip, you'll need a valid passport. Getting a Canadian passport could take up to 20 business days but with CFAR travel insurance, you can change travel plans and keep your vacation budget intact.
Does CFAR insurance protect all your money?
Cancel for Any Reason insurance will usually protect you for a percentage of different travel costs and non-refundable bookings. The exact schedule of coverage will vary between insurers. You should always examine your coverage before purchasing a policy.
CFAR travel insurance is just one of the many types of travel insurance available, today. No matter what happens, if your trip is cut short or you have to cancel the entire vacation, your investment is protected.
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