Does travel insurance cover trips cancelled out of fear?

By: Martin Dasko on August 16, 2016
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Everything is set and you’re ready for your trip. Suddenly, a global disaster hits and you’re nervous about that upcoming adventure. You don’t want to get on an airplane out of fear of a terrorist attack, mass shooting, a global disease, or general uneasiness. You would much rather stay home where you feel safe. You don’t want to lose your hard-earned money either. So what do you do?

If you have travel insurance, it might seem like a no-brainer. Unfortunately, you can’t just cancel a trip when you have travel insurance.

Will your travel insurance pay out on trips cancelled due to fear?

Not exactly.

Unfortunately, your basic insurance package won’t let you to bail on that flight with a refund if you’re having second thoughts about leaving home. I know that this isn’t what you want to hear, but insurance companies have strict requirements for a refund. Everything also depends on the type of insurance policy you purchase.

In some cases, if your fear is considered justified, you might be able to count on travel insurance to cover your cancelled trip.

What if there’s a terrorist attack where you’re going?

In some cases, you can cancel a trip if a terrorist attack has taken place recently. Depending on the insurance policy, you can cancel your trip anywhere between seven and 30 days after the attack and still receive coverage.

However, you can’t cancel if you’re frightened about the thought of getting on an airplane in general, or worried that a terrorist attack might happen, even if it hasn’t happened before in that spot. There has to be a terrorist attack at the exact location that you’re visiting in order to qualify for coverage for cancelling your trip.

What about general fear?

You’re out of luck over a general sense of uneasiness. Most airlines and insurance companies won’t refund you if you want to stay home to avoid the world.

It’s normal to be nervous before a trip because you want everything to go right. I was a bit hesitant about my travels to South America earlier this year due to the Zika virus. So I tried to re-arrange my trip. This option wasn’t available to me because my nervousness wasn’t a valid reason to cancel my trip or change my plans.

What does travel insurance cover?

Basically, travel insurance covers illness, injury, death in your family, or a major natural disaster.

My best advice is to book travel arrangements with a reliable credit card. Some credit card companies will work with you to arrange a refund if you have a legitimate reason for trying to cancel your trip. You should also try to book with hotels or hostels that have a solid refund policy. I like to make sure that I can cancel the booking up to 24 hours of arrival.

You’re probably not going to spend a fortune on the most expensive type of travel insurance; you already struggled to save up for the vacation in the first place. This means you may be out of luck if you’re afraid before a trip.