Travel Cancellation Insurance

Worried you may need to cancel your trip? We've found out which travel cancellation insurance could help you out.

Couple commuting by bus

Cancellation cover protects you from the financial expenses of having to cancel a trip or cutting it short. Cover can be featured as a benefit in travel insurance or can be purchased as a standalone policy.
Having cancellation in your travel insurance means that you can claim money back up to a certain amount depending on the reason for the cancellation.

Cover can be featured as a benefit in a policy or purchased as a stand-alone insurance policy.

Travel insurance cancellation cover options

You can get cancellation cover in a few different ways;

Handy if you're staying close by, spent a decent amount on your trip and aren't concerned about medical cover.

The easiest and safest option, especially if you've spent a lot on your trip.

A clever way to maximise other benefits if you don't need that much cancellation. Only pay for the cancellation cover that you need.

Cancellation only option

Some insurers offer policies that specifically cover cancellation only. Policies like this are useful if you've spent a good amount of money on your trip and you're not concerned about medical cover.

For example, you're going a weekend trip to Melbourne, and have spent hundreds on your flights, accommodation and activities. Before you leave, you fall ill and the doctor advises against travel which forces you to cancel your trip. This type of policy could save you from out-of-pocket expenses.

We've researched through our partners and have found 3 options if you need cancellation only.

Brand Policy Name Amount Go to site
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Covermore

Domestic Cancellation Chosen amount Get quote
Qantas Icon

Qantas

Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Island Cancellation and Baggage Cover,Australian Cancellation,Baggage and Rental Vehicle Excess Cover $2,000 Get quote
RACV Logo

RACV

Domestic Cancellation $1,000

*Table was last updated in September 2019

Unlimited cancellation option

You'll find that most comprehensive policies will include unlimited cancellation cover or at least between $20,000 - $50,000. For peace of mind, it would be the easiest option to just choose a policy with unlimited cancellation, however you could think about the value of your trip and if you've actually spent more than $20,000 in the first place. If you haven't, you could be paying for a benefit that you don't actually need.

For peace of mind, these are our partnered brands that offer unlimited cancellation cover.

Brand Policy Name Amount Get to site
1-cover-new1

1cover

Comprehensive, domestic, frequent traveller and already overseas Unlimited Get quote
All Clear Logo

All Clear

Gold plus cover Unlimited Get quote
AMEX Travel Insurance

American Express

Ultimate and domestic Unlimited Get quote
Boomers Logo

Boomers

Comprehensive and domestic Unlimited Get quote
Budget Direct Travel Insurance

Budget Direct

Comprehensive and annual multi-trip Unlimited Get quote
Fast Cover

fastcover

Comprehensive, snow sports plus, domestic plus, frequent traveller saver Unlimited Get quote
InsureandGo

Insureandgo

Gold Unlimited Get quote
Medibank Travel Insurance

Medibank

International comprehensive and domestic Unlimited Go to site
Qantas Icon

Qantas

International comprehensive and annual multi-trip Unlimited Get quote
Picture not described

Simply Travel

Comprehensive, frequent traveller and australia only Unlimited Get quote
Skiinsurance.com.au

Ski-insurance

International, frequent traveller, domestic and domestic frequent traveller Unlimited Get quote
Picture not described

TID

The works and annual multi-trip Unlimited Get quote
none

Travel Insurance Saver

International travel plan and annual multi-trip Unlimited Get quote
Picture not described

Travel with Kit

Comprehensive and inbound travel Unlimited Get quote
world2care cover

World2cover

Top Unlimited Get quote
Zoom logozoom logo

Zoom

Plan C and Plan D Unlimited Get quote

*Table was last updated in September 2019

Chosen cancellation option

If you value flexibility and want to get the most out of your benefits, this option could be suitable for you. These policies either exclude cancellation cover or provide minimal cover in the base policy. At time of purchase, you then have the option to choose what level of cancellation cover is best for your trip, and you pay for that amount. This means, if you don't need much cancellation cover, you won't have to pay for it.

We did the research and found these Finder partners who offer policies that allow you to choose your level of cancellation cover.

Brand Policy Name Amount Get to site
Picture not described

Australia Post

International comprehensive Chosen cover Get quote
Picture not described

Covermore

Comprehensive, Domestic cancellation, Inbound Chosen cover Get quote
Online Travel Insurance

Online Travel Insurance

Comprehensive, multi-trip and domestic Chosen cover Get quote
Virgin Money

Virgin Money

Comprehensive and essentials Chosen cover Get quote
worldcare travel insurance logo

Worldcare

Comprehensive and essentials Chosen cover Get quote

*Table was last updated in September 2019

What exactly does travel cancellation insurance cover?

Here are some examples of pre-paid travel expenses you can claim back on cancellation cover:

  • Cancellation fees charged by airlines, hotels, tour operators, rental car companies and more
  • Non-refundable deposits for pre-booked flights, accommodation, tours and more
  • Travel agent cancellation fees
  • Lost frequent flyer points that cannot be recovered
  • Additional travel expenses if you need to return home early from your trip
  • Tuition fees if you had paid for a course or training at your travel destination

What are some reasons you could be covered by cancellation cover?

Some insurers come right out and tell you what they'll cover, while others only tell you what they won't cover (these are called exclusions and we'll touch on them later). At any rate, what the covered events all have in common are that they are unexpected and outside of your control.

Below are some situations that are commonly recognised as qualifying for cover, as long as there's no way you could have seen them coming (ie, unexpected). Just make sure you check your insurer's policy documents because not every insurer treats these situations exactly the same.

  • Cancellation due to a close relative's illness or death. This usually applies to immediate family members (including step-family) and extends to include grandparents, grandkids, in-laws, fiancés, de facto partners and official guardians. Some policies will also include first cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews and even business partners. However, if one of them had a serious illness before you bought the policy, you probably won't be covered.
  • You die or suffer a serious illness or injury. Similar to above. If you come down with pneumonia, break your ankle or suffer some other serious illness or injury, you will be covered as long as it's not caused by a pre-existing condition or you weren't acting recklessly when it happened. If you die, the funds will be paid to your estate.
  • A natural disaster batters your destination. This means an extreme event like an earthquake, hurricane, blizzard or tornado makes it unsafe to travel to your destination. Your insurer may want to see evidence of an official government declaration, such as a state of emergency or an official travel warning. You might not be covered if the natural disaster was already a known event (i.e. already reported by the government or media).
  • A course you were to attend got cancelled. You're only eligible to claim for this under trip cancellation if the cancelled course was the sole purpose of your trip. If that's the case, you can be reimbursed for the cost of the course, plus all of the travel and accommodation costs.
  • You become pregnant. This only applies if you become pregnant after you took out the policy and you've progressed in your pregnancy beyond a certain point by the time you were supposed to depart (for example, you are 32 weeks pregnant when you were supposed to leave), or if you experience pregnancy complications.
Woman with a yellow suitcase

Does travel insurance cover flights?

For the most part, yes, but it does depend on the reason for the cancellation. Here are a few examples;

  • If a medical practitioner says you are unfit to fly. You will need written documentation.
  • If there is a death in the family and you need to cancel your trip.
  • If an airline cancels your flight due to bad weather, travel insurance can cover you to change to more.
  • suitable flights or pay for your additional accommodation.
  • If you cancel because you've changed your mind or have made an error with your booking.
  • If you cancel because you have not met visa or entry requirements.
  • If you cancel because you missed your flight because you were late.
  • If your flight is cancelled due to mechanical issues (reimbursement/other options should be provided by the airline).
  • If your flight is delayed you may be able to claim some benefits such as extra accommodation and meals but this is not under the cancellation benefit.
  • If you miss your connecting flight, and it's not your fault, the airline should help you out or you might be able to claim through additional expenses.

When booking a trip, your flight is usually the first big payment you have to make. That's why it's a good idea to buy travel insurance when you buy your flight to cover you for unexpected cancellations.

Does travel insurance cover hotel cancellation?


Similarly to flights, there are some circumstances when you can claim hotel cancellation under your travel insurance. Here are some examples;

  • If there are unforeseen circumstances like illness or a death in the family that makes you cancel your trip. You should be able to claim back even non-refundable accommodation.
  • If you have made a hotel booking under the wrong name or dates.
  • If you change your mind.
  • If you add a Snow Cover to your insurance, some companies will cover the expenses of going to another ski resort if yours is closed due to bad weather.

What's not covered by travel cancellation insurance?

Just because your travel insurance policy includes cancellation cover, don't assume that you will be covered if you cancel your trip for any reason (unless you bought that policy). As we touched on above, travel insurers only cover you when you need to cancel or cut your trip short due to situations that are unexpected and outside your control. That means no cover will be provided if:

  • You change your mind. You can't cancel your trip 'just because' and expect to get reimbursed. Changing your mind is neither unexpected nor outside of your control.
  • You need to cancel because your visa is denied or you have passport issues. It's up to you to make sure you have permission to enter the country you are visiting. Your insurer won't pay for your cancelled trip if you've made the assumption that your visa would be granted or that your passport would arrive on time.
  • Your best friend dies. Most policies clearly state that you can only claim for cancellation if it is a relative who dies, and they will make it clear in the fine print what they mean by relative.
  • You get reimbursed by the provider. You can't double up if you're eligible for a refund through your trip provider like your hotel. Your insurance will only pay for prepaid expenses you can't get back any other way.
  • You travel against your doctor's advice. If you're advised by a medical practitioner not to go on your journey but you travel anyway, your policy won't provide any cover. Travelling against medical advice is a key exclusion on all policies; however, if you cancel your trip because your doctor says you're unfit to travel, you'll be covered for cancellation fees and lost deposits.
  • Your tour is under-booked. If you've pre-booked a tour on your holiday and then it's cancelled due to under-booking, your policy won't provide any cover. It will be up to the tour provider to either reschedule your trip or provide a refund.
  • You purchase after something happens or there's been a warning. Your insurer won't cover you if you bought your insurance after there had been reports of an approaching hurricane, social unrest or whatever it is you are trying to claim for.

How to find the best travel cancellation insurance for you

The best policy for one person might not be the best policy for another, so your ideal policy really just comes down to your specific requirements. Here are some tips on how to settle on the right policy:

  • Determine your needs and budget. You can find policies with unlimited cancellation cover and policies with only a couple thousand in cancellation cover. Weigh up how much you are spending on your trip with the likelihood you will have to cancel and how much it would hurt to lose that money if you did cancel. This will help you decide how much cancellation cover to get.
  • Look at what is covered. Check the policy documents of a few policies to find out what exactly they'll accept for a cancellation claim. For example, some insurers will cover you if you cancel because your first cousin or aunt passes away. Others limit it to immediate family.
  • Look at what's not covered. Read through the exclusions of a few policies to see if there are any that concern you. For example, some policies won't cover you if you have to cancel because you were injured skiing if you haven't purchased their optional ski cover as well. Having ski cover wouldn't make sense if you were going to the tropics, so you'd have to watch yourself on the slopes prior to departing.

When looking for cancellation cover, enter your trip details into our search engine. You can then select "Cancellation fees" on the sidebar or have a look at the second column in the table to show specific amounts.

Find a policy with Cancellation Cover

Tips on getting your travel insurance cancellation claim paid

If you're making a travel insurance claim for cancellation, there are a few simple things you can do to improve the chances of your claim being paid:

  • Get proof of the reason for cancellation. If you need to cancel your trip due to a covered event, make sure you can provide evidence that the event actually happened. For example, you may need a letter from your doctor explaining why you were unfit to travel.
  • Get proof of the expenses you're claiming for. If you want paid for unused travel expenses, you'll have to show that you actually paid for them and aren't eligible for a refund. Save all your receipts and itemised bills; collect documentation outlining your cancellation fees and penalties; and get letters from tour operators and travel agents detailing any non-refundable deposits.
  • Read the fine print. As we've touched on above, travel insurance doesn't cover you if you cancel your trip for just any reason. Exclusions, terms and conditions apply, so familiarise yourself with them before you cancel your trip.
  • Buy travel insurance ASAP. Travel insurance can provide cancellation cover from the moment you purchase a policy, so don't delay buying it. If an unexpected event occurs before you purchase the insurance, you won't be covered if that event forces you to cancel your trip.

Compare travel insurance policies with cancellation cover

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When should you buy travel cancellation insurance for your trip?

You should buy travel insurance as soon as possible after booking your trip because the whole purpose of travel cancellation cover is to cover you for events that happen before your trip. If you wait until the date of the trip to buy insurance, you're basically wasting your trip cancellation cover.

Some other questions you may have

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26 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    DianeAugust 21, 2019

    I have booked a flight for next April 2020 for an overseas holiday. Am l able to get insurance if l have to cancel the flight due to work not giving me holidays at this time?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JessicaAugust 21, 2019Staff

      Hi Diane,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us at Finder.

      Unfortunately, most insurers won’t consider this a reason outside of your control. Examples of this would be if there was a death in the family or an unexpected natural disaster.

      You might be eligible for Cancel-for-any-reason cover, but this is only available through certain travel agencies and brokers.

      I hope this helps, and good luck with getting your leave approved!

      Kind regards,
      Jessica

  2. Default Gravatar
    hughMarch 27, 2019

    I am holding travel insurance which only covers the cruise component of a subsequently extended trip that follows the cruise. I will commence the cruise in less than three weeks and I am outside the refund window. The included medical conditions are quite limited. Do insurers decline to insure on declared non included conditions and refund the premium?
    If I take out an alternate policy for the whole trip with another insurer will I have a problem when it comes to claiming? Do I have to deactivate the unused policy? I do not favour extending my existing policy.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnMarch 28, 2019Staff

      Hi Hugh,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      For your first question, (Do insurers decline to insure on declared non included conditions and refund the premium?) it really depends on the conditions as to why the insurer would decline the claim. You may need to contact your insurer directly to check if this is within the policy you signed up for or not. For your second question, (If I take out an alternate policy for the whole trip with another insurer will I have a problem when it comes to claiming? Do I have to deactivate the unused policy? I do not favor extending my existing policy.). Doubling up and having two insurance policies is actually more common than you might think. … However, many insurance policies renew automatically, and if you don’t cancel your original policy before taking out new cover then it’s possible you could pay twice for the same thing.

      Hope this helps!

      Cheers,
      Reggie

  3. Default Gravatar
    MargoOctober 21, 2018

    We would like to book our own non refundable flights from Sydney to Perth. Stay a few days at a motel that we book. Fly to Broome. Book a 4 day cruise around WA. Flight back to Perth/Sydney. Can we get cover for all these portions if we need to cancel for something unseen such as broken leg?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniOctober 29, 2018Staff

      Hi Margo,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Yes, non-refundable deposits for pre-booked flights and accommodation are examples of pre-paid travel expenses you can be reimbursed for under trip cancellation cover. Unexpected events which are outside of your control like serious injury, you probably be covered. Some insurers come right out and tell you what they’ll cover, while others only tell you what they won’t cover – these are called exclusions.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  4. Default Gravatar
    KatOctober 15, 2018

    I am planning a 12 week trip for 2019 and have just been advised I may be called up for jury service until Oct 2019. Which policies cover jury service?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      NikkiOctober 15, 2018Staff

      Hi Kat,

      Thanks for your inquiry and for visiting finder.

      When you’re called up for jury duty or to serve as a witness in court, this is recognized as qualifying for cover, as long as there’s no way you could have seen them coming (ie, unexpected).

      Just make sure you check your insurer’s policy documents because not every insurer treats these situations exactly the same. You will need to provide evidence of this.

      To know which insurance provider’s cover jury duty, you may use the table above. Simply enter the information needed on the fields and click GET QUOTE NOW. This will show the list of providers.

      As a friendly reminder, carefully review the Product Disclosure Statement of the product before applying. You may also contact the insurance provider should you have any questions about their policy.

      Hope this was helpful. Don’t hesitate to message us back if you have more questions.

      Regards,
      Nikki

  5. Default Gravatar
    MaggieSeptember 20, 2018

    My husband is in aged care suffering from dementia. He is physically well, apart from an inability to walk, which has him confined to a wheelchair.
    Would I be covered if say, he had a fall which caused severe injury or worse?
    He is a fall risk.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JeniSeptember 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Maggie,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      As per this PAGE, the family emergency portion of your policy reimburses you for expenses incurred by you if a relative dies unexpectedly during your journey or becomes hospitalised due to illness or injury like if your husband had a fall and caused severe injury. Common exclusions include the following:

      -No cover if you had prior knowledge that such an incident would occur.
      -No cover if the illness, injury or death was the result of a pre-existing medical condition.
      -No cover if you are able to seek compensation from any other source.
      -No cover if the claim arises as a result of you or your travelling companion changing travel plans.

      I suggest that you double check this situation with your chosen insurer.

      I hope this helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Jeni

  6. Default Gravatar
    BarryApril 28, 2018

    I plan to go on a trip for 10 days from July 11 to July 20. Deposit is due May 8. When taking out travel insurance on May 8 should the period of insurance be from May 8 to July 20 or from July 11 to July 20.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JhezApril 28, 2018Staff

      Hello Barry,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Generally, booking a travel insurance as soon as possible means you can benefit from cancellation cover. Once you’ve purchased a policy, cover for cancellation costs starts straight away. I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  7. Default Gravatar
    AshleySeptember 19, 2017

    Will cancellation cover be valid in the event that lessees of a business default and we, as landlords, have to cancel all commitments and holidays to operate the business?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoanneSeptember 19, 2017Staff

      Hi Ashley,

      Thanks for reaching out.
      It does say on this page that cancellation fees charged by airlines, hotels, tour operators, rental car companies and more is covered by travel insurance however, it would still be best if you reach out directly to your specific insurance to get a more accurate information.

      Cheers,
      Joanne

  8. Default Gravatar
    WendyApril 7, 2017

    can you get insurance to cover your deposit for a cruise which is not going until mid next year? How do I ensure I don’t lose my deposit for any reason

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZubairApril 11, 2017Staff

      Hi Wendy,

      Thank you for your question.

      finder.com.au is a comparison and information service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice or product recommendations.

      Generally, most travel insurance brands won’t allow you to take out cover more than one year in advance, insurers do this to minimise their own risk. However, It could be a good idea to check with your trip provider to see if they have any cancellation cover options.

      All the best,
      Zubair

  9. Default Gravatar
    RogerFebruary 17, 2017

    My son is looking at doing the Youth World Challenge through his school. The cost is approx. $8,600, which has to be raise by the school, family and students. However a deposit and regular payments are required at regular intervals with a lump sum due near the date. As the dates are not set, and that the time has been reduced from 15mths to 9mths for the payment, if we have to cancel due to not being able to raise the funds, will the cost be covered by insurance?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ZubairFebruary 20, 2017Staff

      Hi Roger,

      Thank you for your question.

      Generally, travel insurance does not provide cover for cancellation due to financial, contractual or other business obligations. For more clarification on this matter best to consult the product disclosure statement or insurer directly.

      Cheers,
      Zubair

  10. Default Gravatar
    PeterJanuary 6, 2017

    I bought Travel Insurance with Insure and GO on the 2nd September 2016 for a trip which commences on the 27th September 2017 for 32 days.
    They charged me $690 for two adults which included an extra $427 surcharge for a pre-medical condition.

    The airline are willing to refund in full because they changed my flight details so the only other cost for the holiday is about $200 for accommodation for a stop over each way.

    There is an excess of $100 per claim on the policy.

    Can I claim any of the pre-medical declaration costs as these will not apply until travel begins as we now cannot travel due to my wife having a serious illness which was not diagnosed until December last.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardJanuary 9, 2017Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for getting in touch. You will need to contact InsureandGo’s claims department about these matters.

      All the best,
      Richard

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