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Trip cancellation insurance—why you might need it

Trip cancellation insurance—the ‘just-in-case’ coverage for extra financial protection

5 min read

Whether it’s your dream vacation, a family reunion, or a week in the sun, the last thing you want to do is cancel a trip you’ve planned. And yet, like it or not, things happen, and it’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. That’s where trip cancellation insurance comes in.

Travel insurance is a great idea in most situations, and many travel insurance plans will also include a cancellation policy. But it’s worth checking yours to see if travel is covered, and to look at how comprehensive it is. If you find it doesn’t cover much, you might want to take out an extra insurance policy for true peace of mind.

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What is trip cancellation insurance?

Trip cancellation insurance lets you claim back some of the costs of a trip if you need to cancel it before you set off, for reasons like illness, natural disaster, or—in the worst-case scenario—death of a member of the traveling party.

While shopping around for travel insurance, you might hear about something called ‘cancel-for-any-reason’ travel insurance. This isn’t exactly the same as regular trip cancellation insurance, so it’s useful to understand the differences. In essence, travel insurance with ‘cancel-for-any-reason’ plans will cover you if you need to cancel your trip for a reason that’s not covered by your regular trip cancellation insurance policy. This optional plan will come in handy if you need to cancel for personal or work-related reasons, for example. Just like travel cancellation insurance, it’s best to purchase it early, soon after you put down any deposits for your trip, so that you’re able to claim back as much of the costs as possible.

What is covered by trip cancellation insurance?

The important thing to remember is that every travel insurance policy is different. This means that reading the fine print is really important. Here are the sorts of things you should expect to see covered by your travel cancellation insurance:

  • You or your travel companion becoming unexpectedly ill or injured
  • If you or your travel companion cannot travel because of legal obligations, like being called for jury duty
  • Extreme weather or a natural disaster in your destination or current location that would make it dangerous to travel
  • Your death or the death of your travel companion

When you’re reading your policy, make sure you understand exactly what your insurance provider means by certain terms like “travel companion” or “family member”—you might be surprised how much these definitions can vary!

It’s also worth taking note of what’s not covered in the finer details of your policy. Mental illness, pregnancy, self-inflicted harm, sporting events, and substance misuse are rarely covered. When choosing your policy, have a think about your specific circumstances to make sure it suits your needs.

Keep in mind that if your flight or accommodation gets canceled by the provider, your insurance won’t cover this. You can speak to the provider directly about getting some compensation.

Who needs trip cancellation insurance?

Travel insurance is a good idea for most travelers, but what about trip cancellation insurance? If it doesn’t come as part of your travel insurance, you might be asking yourself whether you should buy it as extra protection.

If you’re on a tight budget or paying for an expensive trip, cancellation insurance is often a good way to protect your deposits when you can’t afford to lose out. Saving for a big trip is something that takes a lot of planning, and you don’t want your hard work—and money—to be lost if something happens that’s beyond your control.

Some of the situations listed above might sound unlikely, but in fact trip cancellation is one of the main reasons people file travel insurance claims. Sure, nobody makes travel plans to cancel them, but illness, bereavement and natural disasters can happen, so it’s good to be covered. However, if you’ve booked a last-minute trip for a good price, you may feel comfortable traveling without a cancellation policy.

How do I claim trip cancellation insurance?

There will generally be a phone number on your policy documents that you can call if you need to file a claim, so be sure to note this down before you leave. To make sure your claim goes as smoothly as possible, it’s best to stay organized and be prepared. So, as you’re planning and booking your trip, make sure you keep copies of the following:

  • Receipts, booking confirmations and invoices
  • Any tickets or documents that show when you were planning to travel
  • Documentation of the reason you’re canceling (e.g., a doctor’s letter, a death certificate, a jury summons)

You’ll likely need this evidence to show your insurance provider when making a claim. Your provider will guide you through the process of putting together an insurance cancellation letter that outlines the date, your reason for canceling and the evidence you’ll send them.

Your insurer can’t take care of the cancellation itself—to do this, you’ll need to speak to your travel agent or call the airline and accommodations yourself. The good news is, your insurance should cover you right up until you set off on your trip, so even if you have to cancel at the last minute, you’ll be protected.

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Trip cancellation insurance at N26

We know how important trip cancellation insurance can be, so explore your insurance options with N26 by heading to the ‘Explore’ tab on your app, then tapping ‘N26 insurance’.

With N26 You, Business You, N26 Metal or a Business Metal bank account, you can claim travel insurance in case of trip cancellation or curtailment, up to €10,000. You’ll also be covered for flight delays over 4 hours, and if your luggage is held up or goes missing. Find more information on your policies here, or speak to our dedicated Customer Service team 7 days a week.



What is trip cancellation insurance?

Trip cancellation insurance lets you claim back travel expenses if you have to cancel your journey for certain reasons. For example, you could get reimbursed for the cost of flights or accommodations. Some travel insurance policies cover trip cancellation, but not all of them—and some might not give you the level of coverage you feel you need. So read the fine print and consider taking out an extra trip cancellation policy if you don’t think the coverage is expansive enough.

What does trip cancellation insurance cover?

You can purchase insurance that lets you cancel your travel for any reason, but these are often an extra policy you have to pay for. Most trip cancellation insurance will cover unexpected events like death, illness or injury, natural disasters, or legal obligations like jury duty. Each policy is slightly different, so you might want to compare a few plans. For example, some providers offer pandemic insurance in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When should I buy trip cancellation insurance?

The best time to buy trip cancellation insurance is as soon as you book your travel. The sooner you buy your insurance, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to claim back more of your costs should something happen. However, if you forget, you can still buy it before you leave—just try not to leave it to the last minute!

What’s the difference between trip cancellation insurance and trip interruption insurance?

Trip interruption is usually a part of trip cancellation insurance—but as always, you should read the fine print of your policy to find out if you have it. It means that even if you have already started a trip, you can end it early and claim back the costs of the parts you didn’t get to do, like flights you had to miss or hotels you couldn’t stay in. With trip cancellation insurance, you can only file a claim if your travel is interrupted for one of the reasons outlined in your policy.

What bank accounts offer trip cancellation insurance?

N26 Metal and N26 You customers are covered by a wide range of comprehensive insurance policies, so you won’t have to shop around every time you want to catch a flight. Medical travel insurance, trip cancellation insurance, pandemic travel coverage, flight insurance and luggage coverage are all included, whether you have a personal account or a business account. Compare different cards here so you can find which one suits you best.

How do you take out trip cancellation insurance?

You can take out trip cancellation insurance with any travel agency or insurance company.

How much does trip cancellation insurance cost?

Depending on the amount covered, you can get trip cancellation insurance for between €60 and €170.

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