Travel insurance provides a peace of mind when you are traveling abroad. Paying about 5% of your travel expenses to travel insurance will provide cover for many unexpected events such as baggage loss, wallet loss, trip cancellation, flight delay, and personal accident.
Do not ignore travel insurance because you have a credit card which provides a cover or that you have a health insurance. These may only cover you within your country and not outside.
What is a Trip Cancellation Benefit?
- A trip cancellation benefit reimburses the non-refundable expenses related to the cancelled trip.
- The cancellation must be done 14-60 days prior to the date of flight depending on the insurer’s discretion.
- The expenses are reimbursed only if the reason for cancellation is one of the agreed upon reasons as listed by the insurer.
When Trip Cancellation is a Bad Idea
- Cancelling without consulting a doctor: If you are ill, you may want to cancel the trip. When you notify the insurer of your decision, the insurer will ask you for a medical report provided by the doctor stating that you must not travel. You cannot self-declare that you are not fit enough to travel.
- Lack of documentation: You have to provide receipts for booking the flight, accommodation reservation, and original flight tickets. Also, provide documents supporting your reason for cancelling the trip. If you have received any refunds, you must include the refund receipt with the cancellation request letter. If you have a health issue, you must attach all medical reports.
- Unforeseen events: Trip cancellation works only when there is an unforeseen event causing you to cancel the trip. If you have booked the flight tickets when there is a heavy storm or another natural disaster is in place, then you cannot claim your trip cancellation benefit.
- Trip delay: Your trip may be delayed due to certain reasons. Don’t lose patience and cancel the trip thinking you can get reimbursement. The valid criterion to cancel the trip, in this case, is that a travel delay of more than 50% of your scheduled trip must have occurred.
- Overseeing the fine print: The policy document will list a set of reasons under which the trip cancellation can be claimed. If you do not go through the reasons and submit claims request for something that is not covered, then your request will be rejected.
Trip Cancellation Tips
- Some plans include trip cancellation cover and some don’t.
- The reason for cancellation plays a significant role.
- Think of different scenarios that may lead to trip cancellation. Check with the policy document if each of these reasons is covered.
- The policy document will have a list of covered reasons for trip cancellation.
- If your ill-health is the reason, you have to submit a medical report from a certified doctor to request for reimbursement.
- You cannot simply cancel a trip only because you will not be charged.
Consider the AXA SmartTraveller plan. The trip cancellation cover is available only on the VIP and annual plans. The reasons accepted by the insurer for trip cancellation reimbursement are:
- If you or your immediate family member is dead, critically injured or critically ill.
- In case of an unexpected strike, riot or civil commotion.
- If you are supposed to appear at the court of law as a witness.
- If a serious damage has occurred to your residence.
You can rely on the travel insurance for reimbursement in cases of trip cancellation. However, you have to be sure that the reason for cancellation is covered as specified in the policy document. Also, you need to be sure that you have informed the insurer within the time period specified by the insurer. Contact the customer support service if you are unsure the validity of your reason for trip cancellation.