What Is Trip Interruption Insurance?

We live in a chaotic and unpredictable world. Sometimes, when you travel away from home, an interruption can mean things don’t go to plan on your trip. If you have to cut a trip short and return home early due to an unforeseen circumstance, then trip interruption insurance can help you recoup some or most of your prepaid or non-refundable trip costs.

However, if you’re forced to pay for additional accommodation bookings or make alternative travel arrangements (such as another flight) in order to safely return home, your policy may have you covered and reimburse you for some of those related expenses, too.

These days, it’s getting increasingly risky to spend a lot of money on a trip up-front and not have some kind of plan or protection if things change. We can certainly spend lots of time and care in planning the perfect getaway or once-in-a-lifetime vacation, but that does not mean things will go precisely according to plan, and prepaid expenses can certainly add up.

Whether it’s illness, an accident, a logistical problem, or the changing situation on the ground, travel is increasingly unpredictable—especially when you travel abroad or internationally. Trip interruption insurance is just one of the ways you can protect your travel expenses from being squandered when things go wrong, and claim benefits if they do.

What does trip interruption insurance cover?

What qualifies as a covered reason for interrupting your trip early varies depending on your insurance company.

If you, your traveling companion or a family member becomes ill, has a medical emergency, are involved in an accident or some other serious incident which means you must return home early, your insurance company may cover you and provide reimbursement for the unused portion of your trip, plus any extra transportation expenses to return home.

In addition, many common logistical reasons can prevent you from completing your trip as planned. Examples include strikes, aircraft mechanical failures delaying your departure, or closure of the air traffic control tower due to a power outage.

Also, your accommodation may become uninhabitable due to a hurricane, leaving you with no other options in a fully-booked location, or there could be a terrorist incident in a city to which you’re traveling.

All of these situations are likely to be a covered reason under most travel insurance plans, and therefore, trip interruption insurance would come in handy.

What is not covered by trip interruption insurance?

Of course, your trip can also end early for reasons that won’t be covered by trip interruption insurance. For example, you probably won’t get reimbursed or make a successful claim if you or your family members decide you do not enjoy the destination you traveled to, and would rather go home early instead. That’s simply a preference, not a forced interruption, and thus is not considered eligible.

In addition, if you or your family member has to end your trip early due to a medical emergency that was related to a pre-existing condition, that may mean you are not eligible to receive the benefit of a claim. However, it is possible to get travel insurance that covers pre-existing medical conditions — if this is a concern for you, make sure you understand how to get that coverage.

How is trip interruption insurance different from trip cancellation or travel delay insurance?

Keep in mind that trip interruption insurance is different and distinct from trip cancellation coverage or trip delay insurance.

Trip cancellation coverage tends to be for changes or disruptions to your trip before your trip even begins — such as if you have to cancel your trip outright — or on your scheduled departure date.
On the other hand, trip interruption and trip delay coverages provide you with insurance once your trip has already begun, meaning that you or your traveling companion can minimize your worries about things not going to plan.

When shopping for insurance plans, it’s beneficial to look for coverage that will offer you all these benefits, from trip cancellation and interruption to trip delay.

In addition, trip delay insurance typically provides coverage if your trip is delayed due to a covered reason.
For example, if you can’t continue your trip due to a strike or civil disorder at your destination, this would mean needing to find a new flight home for you and your traveling companions, plus it could be a couple of days before you’re actually able to board the plane. If you need to pay for meals, book additional accommodations or local transportation, then trip delay coverage will mean you can seek reimbursement for those out-of-pocket costs.

In this scenario, trip interruption can reimburse you for the unused portion of your trip, plus any extra costs to return home, while trip delay can cover your additional expenses such as meals, hotels and local transportation.

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