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5 Tips For Dealing With a Trip Cancellation

Dealing with a Trip Cancellation
Allianz - Dealing with a Trip Cancellation

You made the travel reservations and purchased travel insurance six months ago. Your suitcase is packed, your passport’s in hand… and then, something happens that threatens to cancel your trip. What should you do? Here’s the step-by-step guide to dealing with a trip cancellation.

Before we dive in, we want to answer a common question: Does travel insurance cover trip cancellations related to COVID-19? Certain travel insurance plans from Allianz Global Assistance now include the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds covered reasons to select benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic. To see if your plan includes this endorsement, please look for “Epidemic Coverage Endorsement” on your Declarations of Coverage or Letter of Confirmation. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Even if your specific travel protection plan does not include the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, certain limited-time COVID-19 claim accommodations may still be available. Read our COVID-19 coverage alert for details.

1. Understand the covered reasons for canceling a trip.

People who buy travel insurance that includes trip cancellation benefits sometimes assume that it’s “cancel for any reason” insurance — they think they can call off a trip for any reason and get their money back. That’s not how trip cancellation benefits work, however. Don’t cancel your trip before finding out if your lost expenses will be covered by your travel insurance!

If you look at your plan documents, you’ll see a long list of covered reasons for trip cancellation (and trip interruption). Covered reasons are the specifically named situations or events for which can be covered under your insurance policy, and these reasons may change depending on the plan you buy. For example, only the OneTrip Premier Plan includes a hurricane warning as a covered reason for trip cancellation (if, after you purchase your policy, NOAA or an equivalent organization issues a cyclone, hurricane or typhoon warning at your destination prior to departure or while you are on your trip.)

Read more: Trip Cancellation Insurance: Covered Reasons Explained

2. Make sure you meet the stated requirements for trip cancellation. 

On the morning of your planned departure for Costa Rica, you wake up with chills, nausea and a fever. You’re feeling so terrible that you decide to cancel the trip. You’ll get your money back — right?

First, you must make sure your trip cancellation meets all the requirements. Your policy says that illness can be a covered reason for trip cancellation, if it’s disabling enough to make a reasonable person cancel their trip; and if a doctor advises you to cancel your trip before you cancel it. If that’s not possible, a doctor must either examine or consult with you within 72 hours after your trip cancellation to confirm the decision to cancel. You also need to notify your travel suppliers — such as the cruise line, airline, and excursion operators —within 72 hours of discovering that you will need to cancel your trip.

3. Do your best to reschedule cancelled flights.

Sometimes, a trip starts off on the wrong foot when bad weather or some other emergency delays your departure. If your flight is canceled, or you’re otherwise delayed, don’t give up on your trip right away! You need to make all reasonable efforts to start, catch up to, or continue your journey.

Our 24-hour hotline assistance team may be able to help you find an alternate way to get to your destination. Your trip cancellation benefits can even reimburse you for the reasonable cost of the alternate transportation, less available refunds, as well as the cost of any lost prepaid accommodations caused by your delayed arrival (less available refunds).

Remember, too, that travel insurance can help make travel delays bearable! If your trip is delayed for a covered reason (by the minimum number of hours stated in your policy document), then travel delay benefits can reimburse you for meals, accommodation, communication, and transportation costs caused by the delay. If you purchased the OneTrip Premier Plan, you can receive a fixed payment of $100 per day for a covered travel delay. No receipts for purchases are required; all you need is proof of your covered delay.

If you’re truly stuck — that is, your travel carrier cannot get you to your original itinerary’s destination for at least 24 consecutive hours from the originally scheduled arrival time due to a reason listed in your policy — then that can be a covered reason for trip cancellation.

4. Remember that travel insurance can help if your travel companion has to cancel .

What if you’ve planned a week-long cruise with your sister, and she’s the one who gets seriously ill the morning of your departure? The illness of a traveling companion can be a covered reason for trip cancellation (subject to the same requirements, as described in your policy). However, you don’t have to cancel your trip! If your sister stays home, trip cancellation benefits can reimburse you for extra accommodation fees the cruise line might charge (such as a single supplement fee) if you prepaid for a shared cabin.

5. Document everything.

To file a trip cancellation claim, you'll need to submit documentation that shows why your trip was cancelled and the total amount you need to be reimbursed. Save every email and piece of paper related to your trip, including:

  • Receipts and itemized bills for all expenses.
  • Original of any refunds or expense allowances received from your tour operator, travel agency, travel supplier, resort, property management company or other entity.
  • A copy of your resort invoice/vacation rental contract or confirmation.
  • Any appropriate documentation that officially explains the cause of your trip cancellation or interruption.
  • Any explanation of medical diagnosis along with your original itemized bills, receipts and proof of other insurance payments.
  • Original unused tickets, copies of invoices, proof of payments and other documents that substantiate the cost or occurrence of the trip cancellation or interruption.
  • Documentation of refunds received.
  • A copy of the supplier's literature that describes penalties.
  • A letter from the tour operator or an itemized bill from the travel agent stating the non-refundable amounts of the trip costs.

Don’t wait too long! You have 90 days from the date of your loss to file a claim. You can file online or download the free TravelSmart™ app to file and track claims on your phone.

Are you covered in case of an unexpected trip cancellation?  Protect yourself and your travel investment with affordable trip insurance products by Allianz Travel Insurance. Get a quote.

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