We live in a chaotic and unpredictable world. Sometimes, when you travel far 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.
When you purchase trip interruption insurance, a maximum benefit amount usually applies, and you typically won’t get a payout from the insurance company if you also received a refund from your hotel or airline to your credit cards.
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 ending your trip early varies depending on your insurance company.
If you or your traveling companion become ill, have a medical emergency, are involved in an accident or some other serious incident which means you cannot safely finish your scheduled trip, your insurance company may cover you and provide reimbursement for some of your costs.
In addition, more prosaic or logistical reasons can prevent you from completing your trip as planned. An airline can go out of business, preventing your planned flight or cruise from ever departing.
Your accommodation can become uninhabitable, leaving you with no other options in a fully-booked location. A natural disaster can make your destination unsafe overnight. Or the political or safety situation in your chosen destination can change rapidly, meaning it is safest for you to go home early.
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 insurance?
Keep in mind that trip interruption insurance is different and distinct from trip cancellation coverage or trip delay insurance — but all of these are typically included in a travel insurance policy.
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 contrary, 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.
At the very least, you know your up-front investment in your trip cost is likely to be returned to you if something goes wrong. When shopping for insurance plans, it’s beneficial to look for coverage that will provide you with all these benefits, from trip cancellation and interruption to trip delay.
In addition, trip delay insurance typically provides coverage if your trip goes on longer than planned due to a covered reason.
For example, if you can’t continue your trip due to riots or civil disorder at your destination. This would mean needing to find a new flight home for you and your immediate family members, it can 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 this kind of coverage will mean you don’t have to lose all 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.