Travel Cancellation Insurance: Common Reasons Claims are Denied

Travel cancellation insurance is an important protection against financial loss when you plan a trip, especially an expensive one. Naturally, we book a trip with only the best thoughts running through our mind about how fun and exciting it will be. We also book that trip months in advance, with no way of knowing what will happen between booking and departure time.

Before you leave for your trip, you or a family member might get injured or become ill. You might have a death in the family or have your home destroyed by a wildfire or other natural disaster. You might get called for jury duty or active military duty to provide aid or relief. Or you could unexpectedly lose your job.

No matter what your life situation, things can come up that travel cancellation insurance could cover.

Reasons Travel Cancellation Insurance Claims Are Denied

Unfortunately, trip cancellation insurance can’t cover everything, and there are times when a person files a claim, and it is denied. With that in mind, here are some of the top reasons why claims are denied, and things to avoid to make for a smoother claims process:

1. You Didn’t Read the Fine Print

As with any other type of insurance, travel cancellation insurance comes with a lot of terms and conditions. You need to read these and understand them to really know what you are covered for. If something doesn’t make sense, then ask your insurance provider for clarification. A lot of the time when a travel cancellation insurance claim is denied, it is because the person didn’t understand what the policy covered.

A great example of this is when a flight delay happens. In this case, a Generali plan will cover you as follows:

  • Standard plan – a delay of 10 hours or longer
  • Preferred plan – a delay of 8 hours or longer
  • Premium plan – a delay of 6 hours or longer

If you file a claim and were only delayed for 4 hours, it won’t be covered. You also have to keep in mind, even if you are delayed for the specified amount of time according to your plan, it has to be due to a covered event.

You can see a simplified list of coverage details for our plans, or you can read actual examples of our policies with the fine print in all of its glory.

2. Not Planning Ahead for Stormy Weather

If you have booked a trip and you see three days before departure that there is a serious storm headed toward your destination, you won’t be able to purchase travel cancellation insurance that covers that storm.

Once a storm is forecasted or it becomes evident that it will impact travel to your destination, the event is considered foreseeable. This means the insurance plan can no longer be purchased to cover losses that you might suffer from that specific storm.

Don’t automatically assume travel insurance covers things like major storms. Even if you buy travel insurance before a storm is forecasted, a covered event like a mandatory evacuation would be needed for cancellation coverage to kick in. The last thing you want to do is cancel your trip, then file the claim only to find out you don’t have the coverage you thought.

If you're traveling to a hurricane zone - check our hurricane risk map to be prepared!

3. Cancelling before Seeing a Doctor

Illness or injury that prevents you from taking your trip is a covered reason for cancelling your trip if you have travel cancellation insurance. But, there are two important details to pay attention to in order for your claim to work. You need to see a doctor before cancelling your trip and have them complete a physician statement advising that you are not able to travel.

Don’t simply cancel your trip and file a claim without taking those steps. When in doubt, always call your insurance company first.

Read more about another common reason claims are denied – pre-existing medical conditions.

4. Not Having the Right Documentation

When you file a claim on your travel cancellation insurance, you need to show proof of the reason your trip was canceled. You also need to show proof of your nonrefundable travel expenses and any other related expenses.

The document could be the physician statement we mentioned earlier, documentation that your father suffered a heart attack or that you got called to jury duty. You also need to show receipts from the purchase of your plane tickets, prepaid accommodations, tours and events and any other expenses you paid upfront and insured. Even receipts for lost or damaged baggage can result in more accurate reimbursement.

Without full documentation, your claim can be denied or at least take longer to process. The more documentation you can provide up front, the better. So, keep every single piece of paper and digital documentation that comes your way. Keep it whether or not you think you will need it. Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

Also read: How Travel Insurance Can Help with Trip Cancellation

How to File a Trip Cancellation Insurance Claim

If you’re covered by a Generali Global Assistance travel insurance plan, and something happens before your trip that you feel warrants a claim, you can file as soon as possible.

To file a claim, start at our claim portal. Be sure to provide all the supporting documentation with your claim so it can be processed as quickly as possible. Your claim will then be assigned to a representative who will manage it to resolution.

See more information about the Generali claims process

The main lesson: If a reason comes up that you think requires you to cancel your trip, carefully consider your options. You want to be sure the reason is covered under your travel cancellation insurance policy. If you are unsure, call your provider and ask them for guidance.


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