In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian government has issued a global travel advisory recommending that Canadians avoid all non-essential travel, including cruises, to all countries. The government has also recommended that all Canadians who are currently abroad return home.
If you purchased trip cancellation insurance and haven’t left for your trip yet, you might be covered for COVID-19 cancellations depending on when you purchased your policy. Many travel insurance companies have recently added limitations to their policies that state coverage is only valid if the trip was purchased before a specific date. This date may vary depending on the provider. Check your policy to see if you’re in the cancellation window. If you purchased after the specified date, talk to your provider.
Call the airlines, tour companies, hotels, and any other travel services you have booked to see if they are offering refunds, credits, or allowing you to reschedule your bookings. Many companies have implemented flexible policies due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Some companies might have a cancellation fee, but it is better than losing all the money you invested in the trip.
It’s still possible. However, due to the global travel advisory, some companies have reduced their trip cancellation insurance offerings or excluded COVID-19 from coverage. Your best bet is to compare different companies to see what coverage is still available. Many people still have to travel for necessary reasons, so trip cancellation insurance is often worth it for reasons outside of COVID-19.
Trip cancellation insurance is a type of travel insurance that is designed to protect you from paying all or part of the cost of your trip in the event your trip is cancelled or cut short. It is not typically included in basic travel insurance policies, including those offered through credit cards or employment benefits packages.
While no one ever expects their travel plans to fall through, there are numerous reasons why a trip could be cancelled, including:
With trip cancellation insurance you aren’t financially responsible for your trip if an insured incident prevents you from going away or from staying the entire duration of your vacation.
Canadians love to travel. In 2018, Canadians made more than 33.4 million trips abroad. According to Statistics Canada, about two-thirds of these trips (21.5 million) were to the United States, while the rest were to other countries around the world.
For many Canadians, especially families, these trips are infrequent and mark special vacations (not to mention, they can often be quite expensive too) so making sure that everything goes smoothly is crucial. This is why trip cancellation insurance is so important: it protects you before and during your vacation to ensure that if something unforeseeable happens, either preventing you from going on vacation or forcing you to return home early, you are protected from the financial consequences.
The best time to buy trip cancellation insurance is in advance of your trip. Most policies require that you purchase trip cancellation insurance at least 48 hours before you are scheduled to depart, or within a certain amount of time after you purchase your trip. However, there are a few insurance companies that may waive this clause if you are willing to sign a statement affirming that you know of no reason at the time of purchase why the trip would be cancelled (ie: you are in good health).
Trip cancellation insurance typically covers the non-refundable portion of the cost of your trip including airfare, hotel, tours and taxes in the event you must cancel your entire trip. Typically, this coverage must be purchased at least 48-72 hours prior to your trip, though this may vary by provider.
As a traveller, it’s important that you find out exactly how much of your trip is non-refundable prior to purchasing a policy; otherwise you may find yourself having to pay the difference out of pocket.
Trip cancellation insurance costs on average just a fraction of the cost of your entire trip. According to InsuranceHotline.com data, the average premium for trip cancellation insurance from Jan 2018 to February 2019 was $177.
Trip interruption insurance is a type of coverage that reimburses you in the event something happens to disrupt your trip and you are forced to travel back home. This type of insurance is often, but not always, included in trip cancellation insurance coverage, so be sure you understand your policy ensure you have this type of coverage if needed or desired.
Trip interruption insurance typically covers:
Sometimes trip interruption insurance can be purchased on its own as a standalone policy, which may be better for you if your trip is already fully refundable before departure, or if you used rewards points to buy it. Trip interruption insurance is a great idea to protect travellers from the costs associated with flight cancellations and carrier bankruptcy.
You’ll notice when you search for a trip insurance cancellation quote on InsuranceHotline.com, there is no option for trip interruption insurance. That’s because most of our partners include this in the policy alongside trip cancellation insurance. Always read your policy thoroughly to ensure you have the right coverage, and if you do not see trip interruption insurance included as part of it be sure to ask the insurance provider about it or give us a call toll-free at +1 855-821-7312.
Some trip cancellation insurance policies may also cover loss of baggage or baggage delay, which is important for any airline flights – especially if you are travelling on more than one plane.
Losing your baggage or having it arrive days later is a significant inconvenience for most trips, and the cost to replace your belongings can be substantial. This can be the case even if they find your bag and it arrives late – especially when purchasing your replacements in a foreign country in conditions that may seem like a small emergency. Generally the cost for baggage coverage is only a small addition to the cost of your travel insurance, and can provide up to $2000 worth of coverage (sometimes more) in case your baggage doesn’t arrive when and where you do!
Other riders that can be added to the trip cancellation insurance policy can include accidental death and dismemberment, and flight accident coverage. These may be good options to consider for travellers who don’t already have accidental death and dismemberment coverage or life insurance through another policy.
For travellers who are planning two or more separate trips outside of the country, it may be a good idea to purchase an annual travel insurance policy.
The same coverage for trip cancellation is typically provided as with a single trip policy, however the cost of the policy when spread over the number of trips that will be covered usually works out to be less per trip.
Purchasing an annual policy also reduces the amount of time and effort required to secure coverage for each trip – as a single policy will cover each trip. This can be especially convenient for travellers who travel last minute and may not meet the minimum time requirements for purchasing single policies for each trip.
You can buy trip cancellation insurance online easily through InsuranceHotline.com.
Insurance companies that offer trip cancellation insurance as well as medical travel insurance policies typically offer a combined or comprehensive travel policy that provides both types of coverage.
Most of the time it is less expensive to purchase both policies together so that you and any travel companions will be fully covered in case of a cancellation, interruption, or medical emergency while you’re away. As with all types of insurance, when you purchase insurance policies together it can save you money on both policies, letting you compound your savings and spend a little more while you’re enjoying your trip!