Does travel insurance cover cancellation?

If you have booked a holiday, the last thing you will want to do is cancel it. If the worst does happen, here is when and how you can get your money back from your travel insurance.

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What is cancellation cover?

It is included in a travel insurance policy and covers against cancellation of your holiday. You can get a lump sum back from your travel insurer if you have to cancel your trip.

You should therefore take out cover as soon as you book so you will be protected for as long as possible. You can compare travel insurance policies here.

Case study – Expert view

"Travelling against FCDO [Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office] advice will invalidate most travel insurance policies, and also means you are less likely to be able to call on consular or other similar assistance if you run into trouble abroad."
Nicky Kelvin, Director of Content for TPG UK

Can you claim if your holiday is cut short?

Yes, this is known as curtailment cover. You can usually claim for the same reasons and costs as cancellation cover.

You would claim under your curtailment cover if you have already gone on your trip, but need to cut it short due to an emergency. Your claim will be based on the days you have not used, not your whole holiday.

When can you claim for cancellation?

You will not be covered by your travel insurance policy if you change your mind and decide you no longer want to go on holiday.

The most common reasons include:

    Check the policy carefully before you buy cover to see what is accepted.

    How much is covered?

    Travel insurers offer a set amount, usually between £1,000 and £5,000 per person.

    Most policies will cover the cost of:

      What is not covered?

      Most travel insurance insurers will not pay out for:

        Read the full list of exclusions detailed in the travel insurance policy before you get a quote, otherwise you may not be covered when you need it most.

        How to cancel your holiday

        Contact your travel advisor to cancel your travel arrangements, this could include:

          Your travel advisor will be able to tell you if they can issue you with a full refund, but many have terms and conditions to avoid doing this. Find out what your rights to a refund on your holiday are here.

          If this is the case, you can claim on the cancellation cover provided by your travel insurance provider.

          How to claim

          To claim, you will need to provide evidence to your insurance company, including:

            If you are cutting your holiday short you will need to contact your insurer immediately before you make any arrangements to return home.

            Here is a step-by-step guide of how to make a claim on your travel insurance.

            How do you make a travel insurance claim?

            Finding the right cancellation cover

            To find the right cancellation cover for your holiday check as many policies as possible.

            The policy should cover the cost of your holiday if you have to cancel it, so make sure the cover levels meet your needs.

            You will only be able to claim if you cancel your holiday for one of the reasons allowed on your policy document, so check these thoroughly before you buy your cover.

            You can find and compare travel insurance policies here.

            If you have a pre-existing condition, you can still get a quote through These conditions could include cancer, stroke, serious heart, respiratory and terminal conditions.
            Some insurers might not cover you if you already have a serious medical condition, or if you have a number of conditions. Others might only offer insurance at a much higher price. If you're unable to find suitable cover, the Money and Pension Service (MaPS) has also set up a directory of insurers willing to cover customers with pre-existing medical conditions.
            You can contact the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) or you can telephone 0800 138 7777.

            Make sure you get the best possible cover when you go away by comparing travel insurance deals. You can find the cover you need at the right price whatever your travel plans.