You’ve booked your trip and shopped around for the right travel insurance policy. At that point, it would be easy to assume that you’d be fully covered and reimbursed should you need to cancel your trip. You can relax, right?
Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Typical travel insurance policies will reimburse you for a cancelled trip only in certain scenarios — known as a “covered reason” — which are usually listed in your policy documents. While you can typically get 100% of your non-refundable payments back in those specific covered scenarios, the covered reasons can be fairly specific.
If you’re looking for maximum flexibility and the ultimate peace of mind when booking a trip, then you may want to add Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage to your standard travel insurance policy. Note that CFAR may not be available in all states.
Cancel For Any Reason coverage is just like it sounds — you can cancel your trip for any reason and recover a percentage of your non-refundable trip costs. The percentage you will be refunded may vary by insurance company, but it’s usually a reimbursement of 50 to 75% of the total insured trip cost.
Keep in mind there are several dependencies associated with buying Cancel For Any Reason coverage, including when you buy your policy and how far in advance you decide to cancel your trip prior to departure. Read on for more about how and when to buy this kind of coverage.
Should I buy Cancel For Any Reason Coverage?
Cancel For Any Reason coverage can certainly make your travel insurance policy a bit more expensive, so it’s worth asking whether you actually need it. If, at the time of booking your trip, you have some uncertainty about whether or not it will go forward and think you might need to cancel it down the line, it’s a good idea to pay a little extra for the added benefits of Cancel For Any Reason coverage. That way, you can rest assured knowing that your financial investment is protected.
Perhaps you’re not sure if you actually want to go on vacation. Or maybe you suspect that someone in your family or traveling party will have a scheduling conflict which means your trip’s scheduled departure can’t go forward. Or maybe you feel nervous about the destination you’re visiting, and want to judge how you will feel closer to your departure date. Maybe you’re booking a trip to seal an upcoming business deal, but you don’t have total certainty that it will actually go forward.
These are all situations where a Cancel For Any Reason benefit would make sense to have as part of your insurance coverage. If plans change — or even if you simply change your mind — you’ll be able to recoup some or most of your non-refundable trip payments when you cancel the trip.
If there is some level of uncertainty involved in whether your trip will go forward, purchasing Cancel For Any Reason coverage can be cheaper than waiting until the last minute to book — when you are finally sure you want to go — only to find that flight and hotel prices have soared.
Another great reason to purchase Cancel For Any Reason coverage is if you have any uneasiness about traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. As every traveler knows, conditions and risk levels can change very rapidly when it comes to COVID. It can be nice to know that you have the option to change your plans if you begin to feel uneasy about embarking on an upcoming trip you’ve booked.
While companies like battleface do provide COVID-19 coverage, a trip cancellation due to COVID would only be covered in certain scenarios, such as if you tested positive for COVID-19 before departure and a doctor told you can’t travel, or if a family member becomes sick with COVID before you depart and you need to take care of them.
On the other hand, simply feeling unsure about the changing situation on the ground and wanting to cancel your trip as a result would not be covered — unless you have purchased Cancel For Any Reason coverage.
What’s the Difference Between Trip Cancellation and Cancel For Any Reason coverage?
As mentioned above, Trip Cancellation coverage and Cancel For Any Reason coverage are distinct. Trip cancellation coverage is a standard part of most comprehensive policies, while the latter is usually an optional add-on to an insured trip. As such, Cancel For Any Reason coverage usually has some more restrictions and conditions you have to meet before you’re eligible for a partial refund of your non-refundable trip costs.
If you’re worried about your trip not going forward due to poor weather, mechanical or equipment issues with your airline, or receiving a doctor’s order not to travel due to illness, then you may not need to purchase Cancel For Any Reason coverage. That’s because those are all specific yet unforeseen reasons that would typically be considered covered reasons under a standard travel insurance policy’s trip cancellation coverage. Therefore, you’d be able to get a reimbursement for them regardless should your trip not go forward. In most covered circumstances like this, you’d get 100% of your non-refundable trip cost back.
There are also additional restrictions and eligibility requirements when it comes to Cancel For Any Reason coverage that do not necessarily apply to trip cancellation coverage. The most important restriction is the time-sensitive nature of purchasing this kind of coverage.
Cancel For Any Reason coverage must be purchased within a specified time frame after booking your trip. For example, after making your initial non-refundable trip deposit, you might have 15 days to purchase Cancel For Any Reason coverage, even if your intended departure date is many months away.
In addition, restrictions apply when it comes to when you decide to cancel your trip. Most Cancel For Any Reason policies will not let you decide to cancel right up to the moment of departure, but rather, will require you do so a specified time prior. At a minimum, many policies require that you cancel the trip 48 hours prior to departure time.
How Much Extra is Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance?
You may be wondering at this point, so how much more does Cancel For Any Reason coverage cost? With a company like battleface, tacking on this type of coverage is likely to add at least 35% to your total policy price. The price increase could be more, however, and will depend on your base policy.
CFAR coverage may or may not be worth it to you, depending on your arrangements and the level of uncertainty around your trip, so it’s important to weigh the benefits of adding it to your trip insurance.
While it can seem like the various restrictions on Cancel For Any Reason coverage might not make it worth the extra investment, that’s not necessarily the case. What Cancel For Any Reason coverage really offers is maximum flexibility. If you’re a nervous traveler, have misgivings about an upcoming trip, or have a schedule that’s liable to change prior to departure, then it’s a good idea to consider adding this kind of coverage to your travel insurance policy.