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Trip can­cellation insurance: 6 ways to expect the unexpected

March 12, 2024

When you plan a trip, you expect to get to your destination. But sometimes it doesn’t work out that way. No matter how carefully you plan, some things are beyond your control. Because anybody’s travel plans can fall through, it’s easy to see why travellers love trip cancellation insurance*.

Here are 6 situations that are covered among the causes of cancellation or modification recognized by your insurer:

1. Illness or injury

A family member or travel companion (or even you!) becomes too ill or injured to travel. Or worse yet, a loved one dies.

2. Missed departure

Your plane is grounded due to bad weather, the flight is cancelled because of an approaching storm, or your carrier is delayed.

3. Federal government advisories

The federal government issues a travel advisory for your destination or travel type (such as cruises) after you've purchased your insurance or increased the coverage amount.

Advisory issued before your departure date

You need to cancel your non-essential trip because a travel advisory is still in effect 14 days or less before your planned departure.

Advisory issued after your arrival

You can modify your trip to return to your home province or territory earlier than planned. If you choose to stay at your destination, you'll remain covered until the date written on your confirmation of insurance.

4. Civic duty

You’ve been selected for jury duty or called to testify in a trial.

5. Involuntary job loss

You lose your job just before you're scheduled to leave and can no longer afford the travel costs. (This only applies if you've been with the same employer for a year or more

6. Accident

There’s a fire in your home just before your trip and you have to stay home to sort things out.

What does trip cancellation insurance cover?

All non-refundable travel costs, including:1

  • Plane tickets
  • Hotel reservations
  • All-inclusive packages

What about the limitations and exclusions?

It might sound cliché, but it’s a fact: trip cancellation insurance has its limits. Here are a few common examples:

Weather conditions

The forecast is calling for bad weather. It’s disappointing, but your insurance won’t cover you if you cancel your trip.

Personal situation

You and your partner split up just before your trip. Even if your partner was your travel companion, that’s not covered either.

Job situation

Your boss won’t give you the time off, so you have to cancel your trip. Unfortunately, that’s not covered by your insurance. Always make sure your vacation time is approved by your employer before you pay for your trip.

Important documents

It’s the day of your departure and you still haven’t received your passport—or you realize it’s expired when you get to the airport. These situations aren’t covered by your trip cancellation insurance either.

Practical tips about trip cancellation insurance

  1. Pay attention to what’s non-refundable when you plan your trip. Your coverage is limited to the amount of insurance you purchase.
  2. Get travel insurance as soon as you make a deposit or pay for your trip. Once you have a reason to cancel, it’s too late to get coverage.
  3. Read and make sure you understand the conditions, exclusions and limitations of your trip cancellation insurance—especially exclusions for injuries or unstable medical conditions. They vary from one insurance company to the next.
  4. Trip cancellation insurance is still valid even if you’re leaving in a few hours, because it includes trip interruption coverage. And after departure, it covers:
    1. The unused and non-refundable portion of payments you made in advance
    2. Living expenses for some specific situations, like if you have to stay later than planned
    3. Additional fees caused by changing the date or time of plane, train, boat or bus tickets

*Desjardins Insurance refers to Desjardins Financial Security Life Assurance Company. Desjardins®, Desjardins Insurance®, all trademarks containing the word Desjardins, as well as related logos are trademarks of the Fédération des caisses Desjardins du Québec, used under licence.

1. Only expenses paid for persons covered under the contract are reimbursable. Travel companions must also have travel insurance to be covered. Insurance is underwritten by Desjardins Insurance. Some conditions and restrictions apply.