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Does Travel Insurance Cover Flight Cancellation? Finding the Most Affordable Coverage

Last updated on December 31, 2023

Flight cancellations can ruin travel plans and lead to huge financial losses from non-refundable tickets and bookings. Travel insurance can provide protection if your flight gets cancelled under many common covered reasons. But does travel insurance cover flight cancellations in all cases? And how much cancellation coverage is enough?

This comprehensive guide examines what triggers cancellation coverage, how to file claims and find the most affordable plans to protect your next trip.

Key Situations Where Travel Insurance Covers Flight Cancellations

Many common travel insurance plans provide cancellation coverage for flights, hotels, tours and other trip bookings if your plans get interrupted for a wide range of covered reasons, such as:

Illness: Most policies cover cancellations due to sudden illness of the policyholder, family member or traveling companion. This includes testing positive for an epidemic disease like COVID-19. Pre-existing conditions may also be covered if the insurance is purchased within a specified timeframe.

Weather: Severe weather events like hurricanes, blizzards or tornadoes leading to flight disruption are generally covered causes for cancellation reimbursement.

Airline strikes: Labor strikes of airline staff or airport personnel grounding flights are also standard covered cancellation triggers.

Quarantines: Mandatory quarantines imposed after you’ve booked the trip that prevent traveling on scheduled dates tend to be covered.

Military deployment: Getting deployed or having leave revoked by the armed forces leading to cancelled plans is another common covered cause.

Jury duty: Getting summoned to court for jury duty after the trip was booked that overlaps with travel dates can allow cancellation reimbursement.

Job loss: Involuntary job loss often triggers cancellation coverage, especially when it occurs after buying insurance.

Terrorism: Cancellations caused directly by terrorist attacks or threats may be covered, but terms vary widely amongst insurers.

While the above are some of the most common covered reasons for cancellation, policies vary quite a bit in their exact terms, exclusions, eligible reimbursement limits and qualifying periods. It’s important to read the fine print to understand what triggers will enable claims.

What Cancellation Situations are NOT Covered by Travel Insurance?

While travel insurance provides very flexible cancellation protections for a wide range of common covered reasons, many less likely scenarios may NOT trigger reimbursements. Typical exclusions include:

  • Pre-existing medical conditions: Undiagnosed conditions or complications of known conditions that exist before buying insurance often don’t qualify for cancellation coverage.
  • Mental health disorders: Cancellations specifically caused by mental health episodes like anxiety, depression, etc. are usually excluded.
  • Pregnancy complications: While some policies cover pregnancy-related cancellations under regular illness terms, most exclude them completely or after a specified duration of pregnancy at time of purchase.
  • Financial constraints: Changing one’s mind about taking an expensive trip due to budget constraints is never covered.
  • Career obligations: Work meetings, conferences, exams, licensing procedures or other professional obligations leading to cancellations are excluded by most insurers.
  • Addictions: Drug, alcohol or other substance abuse and addiction treatments are barred from coverage by many providers.
  • Illegal behavior: Cancellations arising due to unlawful conduct that leads to arrests, prosecutions or convictions are unlikely to receive payouts.
  • High-risk activities: Policies usually exclude claims for cancellations occurring due to injuries sustained from extreme sports, adventure racing, stunt flying, etc.

The above are some, but not all, uncovered reasons for trip cancellation by most major insurance providers. As exemptions vary by company, it is wise to scrutinize policy documents before purchase.

What is the Maximum Flight Cancellation Coverage Offered by Insurers?

Travel insurance plans provide widely varying maximum limits of coverage for cancellations or interruptions. Basic policies may only reimburse a few thousand dollars, while premium plans can protect trips costing tens of thousands of dollars.Entry-level policies often cap cancellation coverage between $1,000 to $3,000, which may be adequate for budget vacations.

Mid-range plans provide approximately $5,000 to $10,000 in cancellation reimbursements, fitting the needs of many moderate cost trips.

High-end policies enable claims upwards of $25,000 for luxury travel, often with no specified caps on coverage. Some even offer unlimited cancellation reimbursements for the most expensive travel plans costing six figures or more.

When buying travel insurance, it’s critical to ensure that the policy’s cancellation coverage maximum is adequate to fully reimburse ALL prepaid, non-refundable portions for your trip’s flights, hotels, tours, etc. This often requires totalling up all expected sunk costs that could be lost if plans get cancelled after bookings are made.

Being underinsured for potential cancellations leaves travelers exposed to major financial liabilities, making it important to determine realistic coverage needs based on full trip costs.

How to File a Claim for Flight Cancellation with Travel Insurance

Filing cancellation claims with travel insurance requires documenting how the triggering incident has made it impossible for the insured to travel on the booked dates. Follow these key steps to start the reimbursement process:

1. Notify provider immediately: Inform the insurance company immediately about the cancellation and underlying cause. Most policies require reporting within 1-3 days of the incident.

2. Gather documentation: Collect paperwork proving the reason for cancelled plans – medical certificates, airline strike notices, military orders, etc.

3. Calculate losses: Add up all non-refundable payments associated with the cancelled trip to quantify the claim’s value – flights, hotels, tours, etc.

4. Submit claim form: Fill out the insurer’s claim documents listing reason, proof and losses. Attach supporting documents.

5. Follow up: Confirm receipt of paperwork and follow up regularly on status of the settlement. Provide any additional details requested by claims adjusters promptly.

Most major insurers now offer online cancellation claim portals allowing direct upload of documentation. The entire claims process, from submission to settlement deposit, can take anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks depending on complexity.

Having the right policies and documentation can help recoup large non-refundable cancellation costs rather painlessly, making travel insurance well worth the small upfront investment.

Best Travel Insurance Plans for Flight Cancellation Coverage

While many insurers offer cancellation protections, some provide more flexible terms, higher limits and better options to customize for trip costs. Here are some top rated carriers to consider across budget categories:

Most Affordable: RoamRight

Cancellation coverage: Up to total trip cost

Added features: Cancel for any reason (CFAR) available

Good for: Budget / moderate trips

Cost: 4-8% of trip cost

Arch Insurance Group: Part of the visitor insurance branch of Arch Insurance Group, RoamRight offers surprisingly comprehensive and affordable plans perfect for protecting most average vacations. Their Essential and Classic plans provide ample coverage for common cancellations.

For just a small fee, additional CFAR coverage allows cancelling trips for most any personal reason without justification, providing unmatched flexibility. With both robust protection and rates among the industry’s lowest, RoamRight is a top choice for savvy travelers seeking protection on a budget.


  • Very affordable rates with flexible customization
  • Strong coverage options even at low price points
  • Cancel for any reason (CFAR) add-on available


  • Trip cost coverage capped at $30,000
  • Limited niche policy options

Most Feature-rich: Travelex

Cancellation coverage: Up to total trip cost

Added features: Pre-existing medical coverage options, generous baggage delay terms

Good for: High-end trips, chronic conditions, baggage risks

Cost: 5-12% of trip cost

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection: Backed by specialist insurer Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, Travelex offers unmatched levels of personalized coverage options for discerning travelers. Their plans can be tailored to trips from weekend getaways to luxury cruises with ease.

Both core and add-on features like pre-existing medical and generous baggage delay terms make Travelex a top choice for high-end trips with chronic health issues or checked luggage worries. With premium coverage capabilities, Travelex provides confidence and comfort for demanding global jet-setters.


  • Reads like an à la carte menu of coverage add-ons
  • Pre-existing medical coverage extensions available
  • Generous baggage delay and loss provisions
  • Covers trips costing over $100k


  • Challenging to self-navigate the many plan variations
  • Terms lean towards the complex for average travelers
  • Expensive for simpler budget trip needs

Best Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) Options: Trawick International

Cancellation coverage: Up to total trip cost

Added features: Industry-leading CFAR terms

Good for: Flexible cancellations

Cost: 6-15% of trip cost

Trawick International: Specializing in maximum trip flexibility, Trawick International sets itself apart with some of the most customer friendly Cancel For Any Reason provisions across providers. Available as addons for just 5-7% extra on top of very affordable base plans, their CFAR options reimburse up to 90% of prepaid costs on cancelled trips regardless of underlying reason.

With both a choice of plans and upgrade levels, Trawick’s unparalleled CFAR policies offer travelers the confidence to book trips knowing last-minute changes in plans won’t mean losing everything already paid. For family vacations, reunions or milestone celebrations where flexibility is key, few can match Trawick’s reliability.


  • Industry leading Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) policies
  • CFAR add-ons available at multiple reimbursement rate tiers
  • Low cost general trip protection plans


  • Strict eligibility criteria for pre-existing medical coverage
  • Spotty reputation for sales call quality after signup
  • Website and policy language errs towards the complex

Compare Travel Insurance for Flight Cancellations

InsurerCancellation CoveragePre-Existing ConditionsCFAR OptionCost
RoamRightUp to total trip costLimited after stability periodAvailable for added fee4-8% of trip cost
TravelexUp to total trip costAvailable as addonsNo5-12% of trip cost
Trawick InternationalUp to total trip costVery limited eligibilityExcellent addons available6-15% of trip cost

FAQs on Travel Insurance for Flight Cancellations

Does travel insurance cover flight cancellation due to bad weather?

Yes, inclement weather like blizzards, hurricanes or other severe events leading to cancellations are standard covered reasons eligible for reimbursement under most policies.

Can I get travel insurance to cover an airline strike?

Cancellations caused by airline staff or airport personnel strikes grounding flights are commonly reimbursable events under many plans, making this coverage worth having.

What aspects of trip cancellation does travel insurance not cover?

Typical exclusions include financial issues, career obligations, high risk hobbies, addiction treatments and most untreated pre-existing medical conditions. Each policy has specific uncovered events, so read the fine print carefully.

When should I buy trip protection insurance?

Most experts recommend buying cancellation coverage as soon as down payments are made on travel, or within 2 weeks of initial trip booking at latest. Buying too far in advance risks not qualifying for pre-existing medical clauses.

What is Cancel For Any Reason coverage in travel insurance?

Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) is an optional add-on that allows cancelling a trip for nearly any personal justification in exchange for apartial reimbursement percentage (often 75-90%) of prepaid costs. It’s the ultimate flexibility upgrade.

How much does travel insurance cost?

Insurance costs range from 4% to 15% of total prepaid non-refundable trip expenses. Higher priced plans offer more customized extensions like CFAR, generous baggage terms or waiver of pre-existing medical clauses.

Buying affordable travel insurance can provide invaluable financial security against flight cancellations, helping travelers protect hard-earned vacations and prevent losing thousands should the worst occur. With policies available for less than $100 even on mid-range trips, there are few better travel values today.

Comparing plans to find the right fit of cancellation coverage, pre-existing condition terms, and upgrade options can let globetrotters travel with true peace of mind no matter what surprises come their way!

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