Will travel insurance cover a cancelled trip?

Women dressed in winter clothing seated in the window seat on a train. She is staring out the window listening to music.

Oftentimes, situations pop up and impede our plans when we least expect it. When it comes to vacations, you rarely anticipate the potential of having to cancel your well-deserved trip. But what if there’s an emergency? Unfortunately, it happens: death, illness, or extreme weather. These are all valid reasons to cancel or delay your holiday. That begs the question: will travel insurance cover a cancelled trip?

Travel insurance does cover cancelled trips. However, if you’re covered will depend on the circumstances. We break down travel insurance and what’s covered in the article below.

Trip Interruption vs. Trip Cancellation

Trip interruption is when you must return home while in the middle of your trip. Trip cancellation is when you cancel your travel plans before the date of your departure. Both are generally included in travel insurance. Make sure you purchase your travel insurance policy before you book. You’ll also want to take a look at the Government of Canada travel advisories, as nothing that’s listed on your destination country’s page will be covered.

Will credit card or employer travel insurance cover me?

Many people have travel insurance coverage from their credit cards or employers. The best thing you can do is to be aware of what your policy entails. There will be limits, such as the number of days of travelling you are covered for and restrictions on how much you will be reimbursed for. Make sure that this policy will provide the coverage you need. You can also talk about your existing coverage with your broker if you have any questions.

What does travel insurance cover?

There are several examples of scenarios where your trip interruption or cancellation insurance can reimburse you:

  • If there is a death or severe illness in your family
  • If there is a personal emergency, either dental or medical
  • If your travelling partner has a personal or family emergency
  • If the destination you are travelling to has an extreme weather situation
  • If the airline or travel company you are booking with goes out of business
  • If you lose your job or the finances to pay for your trip

What trip interruption and cancellation travel insurance covers are all costs associated with the respective interruption or cancellation of your planned vacation. This would cover expenses such as any accommodation you might need, transport, cancellation fees, and so on. Depending on your policy your coverage and the amount which you are eligible for will vary.

What is not covered by my travel insurance?

Not every situation can be covered by trip interruption and cancellation insurance. If you have been given a sensible amount of warning that you may need to interrupt or cancel your trip beforehand, you will not be covered. Basically, a lot of insurance policyholders will use authorized government websites like the Government of Canada’s Travel Advice and Advisories website as a foundation for what classes as being given a “sensible amount of warning”. If any precaution is listed on the advisories or website, you will not be compensated. If your reason is not listed or included after the date of your vacation has been decided, you will be eligible for compensation.

Imagine that, hypothetically, you were to plan a trip in June that would take place in South Africa throughout September. However, in August, you decide to terminate your plans in advance due to concerns regarding the Zika virus. This would not be compensated since the Canadian Government made a statement about the virus before your reservation. If the trip was cancelled due to some new illness that the government warned about, you would be reimbursed as the illness was not mentioned prior to your booking.

Personal emergencies are another matter. If you were aware of someone’s declining health whether your own or a family member’s in advance of your trip, then you would not be covered. On the other hand, if the illness or death is abrupt, then you would be.

Call your independent insurance broker about your options when it comes to your travel insurance, as that can be a good start to figuring out what you’re covered for. You should be informed about what you need and what your options are.

5 Reasons Why You Need Travel Insurance

Young female child waving and smiling at the camera while at the beach.

A vacation away from home is meant to be a time spent relaxing and enjoying yourself. But like anything else, your vacation has the potential to go awry. Dave Bouskill and Deb Corbeil, a Canadian couple visiting Peru expecting nothing but great adventures. Unfortunately, after they arrived, Dave tripped while trekking. Sound like no big deal, right? But Dave wound up shattering two vertebrae in his back. They weren’t anywhere near medical services, so the couple had no choice but to airlift him out – not a cheap or simple endeavour. Thankfully, the expenses of the accident (including the emergency evacuation, medical treatment, and flight back to Canada) were all covered by the couple’s travel medical insurance.

Most people think this will never happen to them. But the reality is illness and injury can affect you at any time, even on vacation. Medical expenses abroad can quickly escalate to astronomical levels, especially if you’re in the US or need to be evacuated to medical facilities. Travel medical insurance can help alleviate these costs and give you peace of mind to enjoy your trip. Deb and Dave would agree that this coverage was essential.

Here are four reasons why you shouldn’t think twice about getting travel medical insurance for your next trip

  1. Help to navigate foreign health care.
  2. Covers medical care expenses abroad.
  3. Covers emergency evacuation to medical facilities.
  4. Covers transportation home to continue treatment.
  5. You may not have adequate coverage with your provincial or other health care plans.

1. Help to navigate foreign health care.

If you get seriously injured or ill and need medical treatment, you’ll need to seek it in the country you’re visiting. But which hospital should you go to? How do you communicate with the staff? What about paying for medical services? Which tests do you need versus which are you getting to line the pockets of the hospital? Unfortunately, these are all challenges you can encounter in foreign health care – including the US!

Luckily, travel medical insurance providers can help you navigate these health care systems. They’ll be able to recommend medical facilities, help you get the care you need (and nothing extra), and help manage payment.

2. Covers medical care expenses abroad.

Getting health care abroad can be expensive and you often don’t have much coverage with a provincial health care plan. Travel medical insurance can help cover these essential expenses, whether you’re ill or injured.

Keep in mind that pre-existing conditions are not always covered or may require higher premiums. If you wait until you leave for your trip to purchase a travel medical insurance policy, there is also usually a period of time that you must wait before making a claim. Travel medical insurance is also not for routine health care (such as going for a general check-up) or medical tourism. It covers unexpected events.

3. Covers emergency evacuation to medical facilities.

If you suffer a serious fall like Dave and need emergency evacuation, you travel medical insurance can help organize and cover this rescue. This can include ambulance, airlifting, and more to get you to medical treatment as soon as possible.

4. Covers transportation home to continue treatment.

If your injury or illness is severe enough that you require additional treatment or cannot continue your vacation, your travel medical insurance can cover the costs of transporting you (and sometimes your travel companion) back home.

5. You may not have enough coverage with your provincial or other health care plans.

Generally, international coverage with provincial health care is very limited. If you have travel insurance through your credit card or employer, this may not include travel medical insurance or may have limits. For example, many plans only cover a certain number of days outside of the country per year. Others may only cover medical expenses up to a certain amount but have no coverage for emergency evacuation or transportation home.

Travel Medical Insurance is Essential

While you may be young and healthy, accidents happen. Ensure you’re financially protected and have support should the worst happen. Talk to one of our brokers today about travel medical insurance.