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You’re covered for cancellation – but do you know what that really means?
When it comes to getting your travel insurance direct from a provider, many of us want that little nugget we know as cancellation cover.
But then we put in a claim for something we’ve cancelled and – whoa! – it gets denied. Why? What went wrong?
A quick explanation of cancellation cover
In a nutshell, cancellation cover, in terms of travel insurance, means that if something goes wrong and you need to cancel your trip before you head off, you can claim back any money you lose (up to the amount stated in your insurance policy). For instance:
Diane books an end-of-year trip to Paris. A week before she’s scheduled to depart, she’s injured in a minor car accident and isn’t allowed to travel. She has to cancel her flights (which cost $2,500) and her hotel booking (which cost $1,800).
Neither the airline or the hotel will give Diane a refund, meaning she’s now out of pocket for $4,300. But through her travel insurance, Diane can recover the money she’s lost.
What exactly can you claim for under cancellation cover?
Cancellation generally covers you for the cost of cancelled flights, hotels, visas, tours/excursions, paid-for activities or sports, and prepaid meals. This is all assuming that the airline, cruise, tour company etc. hasn’t given you a refund already.
If you booked your trip through a travel agency and they charged you fees, you might be able to claim back some of these costs too, depending on your policy.
Getting the 'emergency' circumstances of your claim right
What constitutes an emergency at InsureandGo?
Your illness, injury or unexpected death. Or the illness injury or unexpected death of your relative, business associate or travelling companion.
A fire, storm, flood or burglary at your home or place of business within 48 hours of your leaving date.
Being made redundant or retrenched from your job, and had no idea this was going to happen.
When you (or your family member, relative or travelling companion) are posted overseas or required to remain in Australia as a member of the armed forces or as a police officer or medical services professional.
Unexpectedly falling pregnant and reaching 30 weeks (or 20 weeks for multiple pregnancies) before your departure date or while you are away. You can also claim if your doctor says you cannot travel due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth.
A cancelled education or tuition course overseas, assuming the purpose of your trip was solely to study abroad.
What aren’t you covered for?
Cancellation won’t cover you if you simply change your mind about your trip or fail to organise your trip properly – e.g. if you book the wrong leaving date or you didn’t organise your visa/passport in time.
You also won’t be able to claim under cancellation if you can’t get leave from your job, if you miss your flight (or similar) or if you didn’t tell the appropriate organisations that you cancelled your trip and were charged extra because of this.
What happens if you need to cancel your trip after you depart?
Take note! Cancellation only covers you if you cancel your trip before your planned leaving date.
If you want cover for cancelling your trip after you leave, you’ll need to choose a policy that offers:
Trip Curtailment , which will cover you (for up to the amount in your policy) if you need to cut your trip short and return home.
Journey Resumption , which covers the cost of your airfare from Australia if you’ve returned home (due to an emergency) and then need to pick up the same trip later on.
Just how much money can you claim back?
How much money you can claim under cancellation will depend on the limits in your specific travel insurance policy (by the way: Limits means the maximum amount of money you can claim).
Some insurance levels (such as InsureandGo gold) offer unlimited cover if you cancel your trip. This means your claims aren’t capped, so you can claim back the costs of any prepaid flights, hotels etc.
Other insurance products may only let you claim up to a certain amount (and others may not even offer cancellation cover at all). For instance:
Sam does the right thing and insures his trip to New York, but it only includes $4,000 of Cancellation cover. Due to a death in the family, Sam has to cancel. His flights cost $3,000 and his hotel bookings cost $2,500.
Sam can only claim back $4,000 in cancellation, so he loses $1,500 of his own money.
Add up the total cost of all your bookings to see if your cancellation limit is enough to cover you if you end up cancelling your trip.
InsureandGo offers unlimited cancellation cover under our gold policy, and up to $15,000 in cancellation under our silver policy. Grab a quote now!