Holiday cancellation cover can help if you can’t make your trip, while curtailment will cover you if you need to end your trip early.
Cancellation cover is included as part of most travel insurance policies. It’ll compensate you for some or all of the cost of your travel expenses – flights, cruise, hotel, excursions and so on – if you’ve had to cancel your trip because of unexpected circumstances.
You need to check your policy to see exactly what causes of cancellation will be covered, but it’s usually:
Many insurers offer cover for Covid, but what’s included varies. Some insurers will cover cancellation due to a positive coronavirus test before you travel. But only a small proportion will cover you if you’re denied boarding at the airport, or if your holiday is cancelled due to changes in lockdown restrictions.
Most policies will cover your medical expenses if you catch Covid while abroad, but you’ll struggle to find an insurer that’ll cover accommodation costs if you fall ill and need to extend your stay.
You’re unlikely to be covered at all if you need to cancel due to Covid after travelling against Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) advice.
If you didn’t have cancellation cover, you risk losing money if your holiday was cancelled or cut short, so it’s worth having.
The good news is that it’s likely to be included on any standard travel insurance policy you buy.
That’s why you should get travel insurance as soon as you book your trip - so you’ll be covered for cancellation as soon as you’ve paid for it.
It’s also why annual travel insurance can be a good idea for frequent travellers. You’ll only have to buy travel insurance once to cover all your trips for the whole year, as long as each destination you book is included.
Each trip will be covered for cancellation from the moment you book, because your annual travel insurance policy will already be active.
Cancellation cover won’t reimburse you if you just change your mind about travelling. But it can cover unavoidable, unforeseen circumstances including:
It varies between policies, but cancellation cover is usually quite generous. Over half of the annual travel insurance policies on Defaqto will cover cancellation costs of at least £3,000 or up to the full holiday amount.
Just 3% of policies offer cover of £1,000 or less.
As with cancellation cover, almost all travel insurance policies will have curtailment cover as standard.
If you need to cut your trip short, curtailment cover can reimburse you for the unused part of your holiday and for reasonable expenses to return home.
The nearer you are to the end of your holiday, the less you can claim back.
Some reasons for cutting your trip short that are likely to be covered are:
You'll need to check your policy wording for an exact list of what's covered.
Insurers might refuse your claim if you need to come home early because of a pre-existing medical condition, even one they've agreed to cover. Look out for exclusions like this if there's any risk of you having to cancel or cut your trip short.
You can’t claim just because you’re not enjoying your holiday or if it’s not what you expected either. But you could complain to the travel operator instead.
If cancellation is caused by your flight not taking off, you might be able to get compensation for anything you’re left out of pocket for from your airline instead of claiming on your insurance.
You won’t get compensation if a flight cancellation is caused by strike action, severe weather, or anything beyond the airline’s control, although your flight should be refunded.
You might be able to claim on your travel insurance for flights if:
Usually you’ll need to:
The number you’ll need to call to make a claim should be on your policy documents, and you should have your policy number to hand when you call.
Last checked 12 April 2021