Cancelling your trip: can travel insurance help?

When the unexpected happens, will you be covered by your travel insurance?

There’s nothing like looking forward to a holiday. But sometimes, emergencies occur. If you end up having to cancel your trip, travel insurance can ensure that you don’t lose the money you’ve already spent.   

A closer look at cancellation cover
In travel insurance terms, a ‘cancellation’ means that you can potentially get some or all of your money back if you have had to cancel your holiday because of an emergency. 

Often, expenses such as prepaid flights, hotels and tours don’t offer refunds if you cancel. In this situation, travel insurance may allow you to make a claim for the money that you’ve paid.

What can you claim?

  • flights or travel tickets
  • prepaid non-refundable hotel accommodation
  • prepaid non-refundable tours, excursions or activities
  • costs for any visas you required.

Remember, how much money you are able to receive back will depend on your specific insurance policy.

What is the definition of ‘emergency’?
Travel insurers can sometimes differ on what they consider an emergency. But in general, emergencies usually refer to:

  • death, injury or illness relating to yourself or someone close to you (e.g. travelling companion, relative, business partner)
  • an emergency in your home or business (e.g. fire, storm, flood, burglary) that occurs within 48 hours of your departure
  • a car accident that means you can no longer use your car on holiday
  • other one-off incidents, like being summoned for jury duty or being made redundant
  • a natural disaster, such as a cyclone, if natural disaster cover is included in your policy and you are able to claim on cancellation for this reason.

To find out exactly what constitutes a travel insurance emergency, speak to the insurer and read the cancellation section of the Product Disclosure Statement before you buy insurance.

How to claim on cancellation?
If you cancel your trip because of an emergency, you’ll need to obtain written reports or certificates from the appropriate authority (e.g. police, hospital) that outline the necessary reasons for cancelling.

Once you have these, you should be able to make a claim.

  • Contact your travel insurance provider to find out exactly what documents you need.

  • In most cases, you’ll need to see if you can get a refund (e.g. from airlines, hotels, etc.) before you can make an insurance claim.

Can I claim cancellation after I’ve left for my trip?
Unfortunately, no. To claim for incidents after you’ve departed, make sure you have cover for instances such as cutting your trip short (sometimes called curtailment) and emergency expenses.

Getting the most out of travel insurance and cancellation
How can you get the most value out of your travel insurance if you cancel your trip?

  • Book travel insurance as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll be covered for cancellation!
  • Always read the Product Disclosure Statement before you buy to find out exactly what types of emergencies are covered and what you can claim if you have to cancel your plans.
  • Remember, you can only claim cancellation for bookings for which you’ve already paid. Also, you also can’t claim for anyone else, unless they’re listed on your policy.

Do you need travel insurance for your upcoming holiday? InsureandGo travel insurance includes unlimited cancellation claims when you choose comprehensive Gold cover.

You can also get 10 per cent off your policy at or by phoning 1300 552 701 and using the code ‘Choices10’.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    12th Oct 2016
    Get a platinum travel credit card. Automatic cover as long as you have an acceptable reason for cancelling. Change of mind is not an acceptable reason.
    Old Geezer
    12th Oct 2016
    Unfortunately it doesn't cover you for all trip. A domestic cruise is not covered.
    12th Oct 2016
    Have often wondering this . . . . many people book their holiday (flights, accommodation, etc) months early but do not organise travel insurance until a week or so before travelling. How do insurance companies view this?
    e.g. Holiday booked in Feb. for Dec. travel. Insurance paid in Nov. and then incident causing cancelling of holiday occurs ath enext week in Nov.?
    Anyone know?
    Old Geezer
    12th Oct 2016
    I pay for an annual travel insurance policy as it is cheaper than paying for multiple trips every year.
    12th Oct 2016
    Travel Insurance is useless....I have lost out BIG time because I had to go to Melbourne (from remote Qld) for a court case. Booked months in advance - took out insurance - court case cancelled. Told insurance does not cover you for that. Had a bag go missing one time with brand new specially made riding boots in case - still had receipt in my hand bag, but insurance would not cover it. Travel insurance is only good for medical events over seas.
    12th Oct 2016
    I had taken out travel insurance with Teachers Health Travel Insurance and their insurance was with Allianz. We had paid for all of our plane fares and accommodation and then disaster struck - a diagnosis of cancer that led to 3 operations and of course no trip to Europe. Allianz was great - every contact was with their employees in the claims team. Each person was friendly, sympathetic and helpful. All claims were paid in full and expeditiously.
    14th Oct 2016
    Read the PDS - the terms and conditions, which should be supplied with the policy. If they are not, ask for them, or download them from the website. We insured with 1Cover and they paid up, but only because they cover quite a few pre-existing conditions. Our Platinum card would not have covered us.

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