Holiday cancellation and curtailment cover

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.

Amy Smith
Updated 14 October 2019 | 4 min read

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Cancellation cover explained

Cancellation cover is a part of many travel insurance policies. It means you can reclaim the cost of your trip, up to the maximum cover limit, if you’re unable to travel.

Reasons you can cancel, and get compensation, vary between policies - so does the amount you can claim back. You'll need to check policy docs to be sure you've got as much cover as you need or want.

Key points

  • Get your travel insurance straight after booking your trip. That way, you'll make the most of any cancellation cover
  • You can’t insure against a problem that you’re aware of when you buy cover
  • Look out for exclusions and check the terms and conditions

Cancellation cover starts from your policy start date

Whether you buy single trip or annual/multi-trip travel insurance, your cancellation cover begins from the policy start date.

That’s why you should get travel insurance as soon as your holiday’s booked - so you’ll be covered for cancellation as soon as you’ve paid for your trip.

Reasons to cancel

Cancellation cover won’t reimburse you if you just change your mind about travelling. But it can cover unavoidable, unforeseen circumstances including:

  • You or a family member becoming ill
  • Being called up for jury service
  • A bereavement or needing to attend a funeral
  • A natural disaster
  • The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advise that it’s not safe to travel to your destination
  • A flood or fire at your home
  • Being involved in an accident

Cancellation cover exclusions

You might not be covered for cancellation if it’s due to an injury or incident caused by being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

You also won’t be covered if you take out a policy and try to claim for an incident that’s already happened or that you know will happen.

Holiday curtailment cover

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.

Reasons to curtail

Some legitimate reasons for cutting your trip short are:

  • You, or someone else named on the policy, falls ill or has an accident
  • A close relative in the UK dies or falls seriously ill
  • Your house is burgled or rendered uninhabitable
  • You or a travelling companion lose their passport, or have it stolen
  • You’re in the armed forces and you’re ordered to return to work

You'll need to check your policy wording for an exact list of what's covered.

Curtailment exclusions

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.

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