What is cancellation cover?
It is included in a travel insurance policy and covers against cancellation of your holiday. You can get a lump sum back from your travel insurer if you have to cancel your trip.
You should therefore take out cover as soon as you book so you will be protected for as long as possible. You can compare travel insurance policies here.
Can you claim if your holiday is cut short?
Yes, this is known as curtailment cover. You can usually claim for the same reasons and costs as cancellation cover.
You would claim under your curtailment cover if you have already gone on your trip, but need to cut it short due to an emergency. Your claim will based on the days you have not used, not your whole holiday.
When can you claim for cancellation?
You will not be covered by your travel insurance policy if you change your mind and decide you no longer want to go on holiday.
The most common reasons include:
If you, a travelling companion or a relative has a serious injury or becomes ill
If a travelling companion or a relative dies
If you have been made redundant
If you have to go to court, or have been called for jury duty
If you have to stay at home following a fire, flood or burglary of your property within 48 hours of your departure date, or if this happens while you are away
If you, or one of your party, becomes pregnant after you were sold the policy, or a doctor recommends you should not travel due to pregnancy complications
If the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise against 'all travel' or 'all but essential travel' to your destination after you have bought your insurance
Check the policy carefully before you buy cover to see what is accepted.
How much is covered?
Travel insurers offer a set amount, usually between £1,000 and £5,000 per person.
Most policies will cover the cost of:
Travel and accommodation expenses that you have paid or have agreed to pay under contract.
Activities and excursions that you have already paid for, or are contracted to pay for. Some insurers set a limit on the amount they will pay per excursion, for example £250.
What is not covered?
Most travel insurance insurers will not pay out for:
A claim linked to a pre-existing medical condition you had not declared on your policy
A claim resulting from circumstances you knew about before you purchased the policy, like the illness of a relative
Any costs relating to airport taxes or air passenger duty
The excess you need to pay to make your claim
Read the full list of exclusions detailed in the travel insurance policy before you get a quote.
How to cancel your holiday
Contact your travel advisor to cancel your travel arrangements, this could include:
Your airport transfers
Your travel advisor will be able to tell you if they can issue you with a full refund, but many have terms and conditions to avoid doing this. Find out what your rights to a refund on your holiday are here.
If this is the case, you can claim on the cancellation cover provided by your travel insurance provider.
How to claim
To claim you will need to provide evidence to your insurance company, including:
Cancellation invoice and any unused tickets
Medical documents if you cancelled your trip due to death, illness or injury
Any other documents that support your claim
If you cutting your holiday short you will need to contact your insurer immediately before you make any arrangements to return home.
Here is a step by step guide of how to make a claim on your travel insurance.
Finding the right cancellation cover
To find the right cancellation cover for your holiday check as many policies as possible.
The policy should cover the cost of your holiday if you have to cancel it, so make sure the cover levels meet your needs.
You will only be able to claim if you cancel your holiday for one of the reasons allowed on your policy document, so check these thoroughly before you buy your cover.
Cancellation cover FAQs
How much notice do you need to give?
You can claim for cancellation at any time before you leave for your trip. If you have already left you can still claim under your curtailment cover.
How will you be paid?
Most pay a lump sum by bank transfer to cover cancellation, up to the cover limit. An excess of £50 to £100 will be deducted from what you get.
Will I be covered if my airline cancels my flights?
No, most insurers will not cover this because you should get compensation from your airline. Find out what you can get if your flight is cancelled here.
How long will the claim take?
This will depend on your insurer's claim process, and how quickly you supply the necessary evidence to back up your claim.