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:

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 flights

  • Your accommodation

  • 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 are 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.

You can find and compare travel insurance policies here.

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.