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Protect Your Travel Plans: Trip Cancellation Insurance Explained and the 5 Best Policies

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Protect Your Travel Plans: Trip Cancellation Insurance Explained and the 5 Best Policies

Best Cheap Trip Cancellation Insurance: battleface

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You’ve booked your flight, hotel, and tours and are ready to go on your trip — but what happens if you can’t make it? Unexpected circumstances can pop up that force you to cancel your trip, such as illness or natural disasters. If you can’t get refunds from travel suppliers, trip cancellation insurance can help.

Let’s look at what trip cancellation covers, whether you need a trip cancellation policy, and what you should know before shopping for a plan.

The 5 Best Trip Cancellation Insurance Policies

You’ll have plenty of options if you want a cheap, standalone trip cancellation policy, comprehensive travel coverage, or Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage.

Consider these trip cancellation insurance policies that offer good value and coverage, quoted for a 35-year-old visiting Mexico on a $1,500 trip in September 2023:

We were quoted just $20 for a battleface Discovery Plan with trip cancellation benefits up to $1,500. But that’s all it offers — you won’t get trip interruption coverage, medical coverage, evacuation, loss or delay, or other benefits offered by comprehensive travel insurance plans.

IMG’s iTravelnsured Travel Essential plan isn’t CFAR coverage, but it has multiple covered reasons for cancellation. You’re covered for foreign and domestic terrorism, financial default, medical reasons, and accommodations made uninhabitable. Our $35.92 quote offered up to 100% of the total trip cost for trip cancellation and 125% for trip interruption. 

TinLeg’s Basic travel insurance plan covers up to 100% of your total trip cost for trip cancellation , but you’ll also get other major travel insurance coverages. This plan we were quoted $41 for offers trip interruption, travel delay, baggage delay, emergency medical, evacuation and repatriation, and more. 

Like the battleface plan, Aegis Go Ready Trip Cancellation insurance covers up to 100% of your trip cost if you need to cancel — but not much else. But a big value-add is employment layoff coverage , which allows you to get reimbursed if you need to cancel your trip due to involuntary layoff or termination of employment. We were quoted $45 for this plan.

The Seven Corners Trip Protection Basic plan offers optional CFAR coverage, which reimburses up to 75% of your trip cost for reasons not otherwise covered by your policy. Regular trip cancellation and interruption coverage offer reimbursement of up to 100% of your trip cost. Our quoted cost for this plan came to $58.

Trip cancellation insurance is a type of travel insurance. With trip cancellation coverage, you can get reimbursement for nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses if you need to cancel your trip before departure. Trip cancellation is one of the main coverage areas for travel insurance, the other being medical emergency coverage.

Many comprehensive travel insurance policies offer trip cancellation coverage; standalone trip cancellation insurance is less common than comprehensive travel policies. Travel credit cards may offer trip cancellation coverage as a cardholder benefit, as well.

How Trip Cancellation Insurance Works

Trip cancellation insurance kicks in if you must cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances such as an illness, injury, or other covered reasons. You can get reimbursed for nonrefundable expenses if you have travel cancellation insurance and need to cancel your trip.

Covered nonrefundable expenses typically include:

  • Hotels and vacation rentals
  • Rental cars

Travel insurance policies with trip cancellation coverage often include trip interruption benefits. Similar to trip cancellation coverage, trip interruption benefits can help you recoup your costs if you need to delay or cut your trip short due to covered reasons.

You can usually purchase trip cancellation insurance up to the day before your scheduled departure. Still, you’ll get more value if you purchase insurance as soon as you make your first trip deposit . That way, your travel plans are covered from the start.

Unless you opt for Cancel for Any Reason travel insurance, trip cancellation insurance only applies to covered cancellation reasons. For example, you can’t use trip cancellation insurance to cancel your trip for a refund because there’s rain forecasted for your beach vacation. But, you could get reimbursement if a named hurricane forms after you purchased your policy.

Common reasons covered by trip cancellation insurance include:

  • Death, including the death of a family member or traveling companion
  • Government travel warnings or evacuation orders for your destination
  • Home damage or burglary
  • Illness, injury, or quarantine that makes you or a covered travel companion unfit to travel
  • Legal obligations such as jury duty or subpoena
  • Natural disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes, or floods affect travel operations at your destination
  • Terrorist incidents at home or your destination
  • Travel supplier cancellation
  • Unexpected military duty
  • Unexpected pregnancy complications
  • Unexpected work obligations

These are common covered reasons for trip cancellation insurance, but policies vary in coverage . Reviewing the terms and conditions of your trip cancellation insurance is a good idea so you understand what’s covered.

You should also understand what’s explicitly not covered. For example, changing your mind is not a covered reason on a standard trip cancellation insurance policy. And trip cancellation insurance typically doesn’t cover foreseeable events, routine health treatments, substance abuse, sporting events, mental health, acts of war, self-harm, or dangerous activities such as skydiving.

Need to expand your list of covered cancellation reasons? Cancel for Any Reason trip cancellation insurance is an option. 

You can use CFAR to cancel your trip for reasons not covered by trip cancellation insurance, such as changing your mind, fear of travel, unexpected obligations, weather, or budget concerns.

The catch? You’ll pay more for CFAR coverage , and it only reimburses up to 50% to 75% of your nonrefundable travel expenses. Generally, trip cancellation insurance offers 100% reimbursement for covered expenses. 

The other main stipulation is that you’ll need to purchase your coverage within a specified period , usually within 10 to 21 days of your first trip deposit. And to get reimbursement under CFAR, you must cancel your travel within the cancellation timeframe, usually at least 48 hours from your scheduled departure.

Most annual travel insurance policies, also known as multi-trip policies, cover trip cancellation for multiple trips taken within the policy period, usually 12 months. You’ll also typically get coverage for medical expenses.

Trip cancellation insurance covers your nonrefundable travel expenses if you have to cancel before departure, while trip interruption covers your trip costs after departure . For example, trip interruption coverage kicks in if you get injured while traveling and have to go home early.

Woman Jumping Wearing Green Backpack

Trip cancellation insurance can be worth it if you have nonrefundable travel expenses and there’s a risk you’ll have to cancel your travel due to unforeseen events. It offers financial protection if you’re traveling to a destination with potential risks such as natural disasters or political instability — or if you have risk factors at home, such as unpredictable work commitments or family members with health conditions that could interfere with travel. 

If you plan an expensive trip with nonrefundable bookings or deposits, trip cancellation is probably worth it. But if your travel is inexpensive, or most of your travel expenses are refundable, you might not need trip cancellation insurance.

Consider the cost of insurance, the likelihood you’ll need to cancel, and the cost of nonrefundable travel at stake when you decide if trip cancellation is worth it.

What Trip Cancellation Insurance Costs

A basic travel insurance policy with trip cancellation coverage generally costs between 5% to 10% of your trip costs . So a travel insurance policy for a $5,000 trip would cost $250 to $500. Your costs will be higher if you opt for CFAR coverage.

Factors that influence how much your trip cancellation insurance costs include traveler age, trip expenses, trip length, coverage options, and how many people you need to cover.

A comprehensive travel insurance policy with emergency medical or lost baggage coverage and trip cancellation coverage can offer additional value.

If you’re mainly concerned with trip cancellation coverage, look for cheap travel insurance policies that still offer this coverage, but have either nonexistent or low coverage limits for other coverage areas, such as lost baggage or medical evacuation .

You might not have to pay for trip cancellation insurance if you have the right credit card. Some credit cards offer trip cancellation and interruption coverage as a cardholder benefit. 

Credit cards with trip cancellation coverage generally provide between $2,000 to $10,000 per person in trip cancellation benefits, often covering trip interruption. 

For example, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card offers cardholders $2,000 in trip cancellation or interruption benefits per person. With the Chase Sapphire Reserve ® , cardholders get up to $10,000 per person in trip cancellation coverage with a maximum of $20,000 per trip and a $40,000 limit per 12-month period.

If your nonrefundable travel costs exceed the covered benefit offered by your credit card, you may prefer to purchase separate trip cancellation insurance.

If you only need trip cancellation and interruption coverage, your credit card may have adequate protection benefits.

Consider these factors as you shop for a trip cancellation insurance policy:

  • Cost: Compare policy premiums and consider how the cost fits into your overall travel budget.
  • Coverage Amount: Your trip cancellation coverage should cover all of your nonrefundable prepaid trip expenses. But a policy with too much coverage could be more costly than necessary.
  • Policy Limits: Know the policy’s limits, including deductibles, exclusions, and limitations.
  • Covered Reasons: A policy that offers a variety of covered cancellation reasons offers the most protection.
  • CFAR Coverage: Understand whether CFAR coverage is included in the policy and its additional cost.
  • Reputation and Customer Service: Read travel insurance reviews to learn about the experiences policyholders have had, whether they’re good or bad.
  • Refund Policies: Understand what happens if you cancel your policy before the trip.

Travel insurance comparison sites such as Squaremouth make it easy to enter your trip details and get quotes from multiple insurance providers.

Trip cancellation coverage can provide valuable peace of mind if you’re concerned about losing nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses. It can be worth it if there’s a chance you’ll have to cancel your travel plans, and you’ll lose money on nonrefundable costs. Before you choose a trip cancellation policy, consider factors including cost, coverage, and cancellation reasons, and look at what’s covered with any credit cards you hold.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa ® or Mastercard ® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

The information regarding the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is trip cancellation insurance for.

Trip cancellation coverage offers financial protection if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip due to unexpected circumstances. You can get reimbursement for nonrefundable prepaid expenses related to covered travel if you have to cancel your trip.

Is trip cancellation covered in travel insurance?

Most travel insurance policies cover trip cancellation coverage. Other common coverage areas include trip interruption and medical emergencies.

Does trip insurance cover cancellation for any reason?

Travel insurance can offer CFAR coverage, usually as an optional add-on. You can select a CFAR policy if you want more flexibility in canceling your trip and receiving reimbursement.

When should I buy trip cancellation insurance?

It’s best to purchase trip cancellation as soon as you have any money at risk on your trip, usually as soon as you book travel. Buying trip cancellation insurance after booking covers you for unexpected circumstances that could cause you to cancel your trip.

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About Jessica Merritt

A long-time points and miles student, Jessica is the former Personal Finance Managing Editor at U.S. News and World Report and is passionate about helping consumers fund their travels for as little cash as possible.


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How Much Is Travel Insurance in 2024?

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Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

Table of Contents

Average cost of travel insurance by trip cost

Factors that affect travel insurance cost, more example costs of travel insurance, types of travel insurance, how to buy travel insurance, credit cards with travel insurance, cost of travel insurance recapped.

According to NerdWallet analysis, the short answer to “How much does travel insurance cost?” is that it’s typically 7% of your overall trip cost. For example, travel insurance will cost you an additional $70 (roughly) for a $1,000 trip.

However, depending on your provider, travel insurance costs can range from 4%-16% of your trip cost. That means for that $1,000 trip, you might find coverage for as little as $40 or up $160 on the high end.

Costs vary across providers, level of coverage and factors like your age and destination. Let’s take a look at the different types of travel insurance, what influences its cost and the average cost of travel insurance.

The Nerds dove deep into over 50 real world coverage price points to get a clearer sense of typical travel insurance costs in 2024.

On average, travelers should expect to pay 6.87% of their total trip cost for travel insurance. The minimum you might expect to pay is 4.15%, but it can go as high as 15.8%.

How did we determine these ballpark travel insurance prices?

We broke it down by looking at four individual providers' cheapest basic plan and most expensive basic plan for two traveler age demographics: a 30 year old and a 60 year old.

The Texas-based travelers are taking a 10 day trip to Florida in the summer. Included providers in our analysis were:

Allianz Global Assistance .

Travel Guard by AIG .

USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services .

Travel Insured International .

World Nomads .

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection .

Travelex Insurance Services .

Seven Corners .

AXA Assistance USA .

TravelSafe .

HTH Insurance .

According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, a national association of insurance carriers, the amount you can expect to pay for travel insurance will vary between 4% to 8% of your overall trip. This falls in the general range of our analysis, too.

If your vacation was $5,000, you’d be looking at somewhere between $200 and $400 for insurance. NerdWallet findings corroborate this range, with the average travel insurance cost for a trip at this price point being about $350.

Of course, as we describe below, the type of coverage you choose can greatly affect the cost of your insurance.

» Learn more: What does travel insurance cover?

So, how much is travel insurance? Several factors will influence the cost, like:

Type and extent of coverage.

The length of your trip.

Your destination.

The age of the policyholder.

Total trip cost.

Let’s say that you chose to purchase an insurance policy to cover any health care expenses you incur while traveling. This will reimburse you in the event you need to see a doctor, require hospitalization or have a variety of needs related to health care.

However, let’s say that you also chose to insure some of your trip costs; this means that, if need be, the policy will reimburse you for nonrefundable trip costs in case of a covered event. This will drive up the price of your policy overall.

Another factor that will affect the cost of your travel insurance is the coverage limits of your policy. These limits dictate how much you’ll be reimbursed in the event you need to use your insurance; the higher the amount, the more expensive your insurance.

» Learn more: The best travel insurance companies

Here are some sample costs of travel insurance for a seven-day trip in the United States for two travelers ages 34 and 36. Full trip costs are estimated to be $2,000, and trip bookings have yet to be paid in full.

Policies include trip interruption coverage, travel delay coverage (up to $500) and emergency medical coverage.

In addition to the cost of travel insurance, we also need to talk about the different types of travel insurance. This is because the price you’ll pay will depend on the insurance you choose. Some policies — like those that allow you to cancel for any reason — can be more expensive than other, more limited, policies.

Common types of travel insurance include:

Lost luggage insurance .

Trip interruption insurance .

Trip cancellation insurance .

Rental car insurance .

Cancel For Any Reason insurance .

Health insurance .

Accidental death insurance .

Emergency evacuation insurance .

Different types of insurance will cover various things. Trip cancellation insurance, for example, will allow you to recoup a portion of nonrefundable costs when you’re forced to cancel your trip for a covered reason.

It’s simple to purchase travel insurance; you’ve probably seen dozens of ads for insurance whenever booking a flight or rental car.

However, it’s a better idea to get multiple quotes for policies. Insurance policy aggregators, such as Squaremouth, allow you to search a variety of different providers at once. You can then compare the coverage and price of each policy before choosing one that suits your needs.

» Learn more: What to know before buying travel insurance

If you’re looking into purchasing travel insurance, you may want to check which credit card you’re using to book your trip. Many of today’s popular travel credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance.

Cards such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card offer primary rental car insurance; this means that the card will pay for any covered damage so that it doesn’t pass on to your personal insurance policy.

The types of insurance and total coverage vary according to the card, so you’ll want to check your individual policies.

Common coverage includes trip delay insurance, lost luggage insurance, rental car insurance and emergency medical insurance.

Popular cards that provide these types of coverage include:

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card .

Chase Sapphire Reserve® .

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card . (Benefits may change over time.)

The Platinum Card® from American Express . Terms apply.

United℠ Explorer Card .

In order to qualify for coverage, you’ll want to use your card to pay for any trip costs, including your airfare, lodging and rental cars.

The amount you’ll be reimbursed varies widely depending on which card you hold. For instance, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card provides coverage for up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses for covered trip cancellations.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

These include airfare, accommodations and even tours.

The United℠ Explorer Card , meanwhile, offers far less coverage at just $1,500 per person and $6,000 per trip.

Chase United Airlines Mileage Plus Credit Card

United℠ Explorer Card

$0 intro for the first year, then $95

Of course, your trip will need to fall under covered circumstances, including sickness and severe weather.

» Learn more: Does my Chase credit card have travel insurance?

It can make sense to purchase travel insurance, especially if you’re unsure about your vacation or worried about incurring expenses you can’t afford. Before buying a policy, you’ll first want to decide what type of insurance you’re looking to buy; some types of coverage cost much more than others.

You’ll also want to check to see if your credit card already provides complimentary travel insurance. Many popular travel cards offer this feature, though the limits may be lower than you might prefer.

Finally, do your homework before buying a policy. Gather quotes from multiple companies before making a decision, and remember the average price of trip insurance ranges from 4% to 8% of your total vacation costs.

For Capital One products listed on this page, some of the above benefits are provided by Visa® or Mastercard® and may vary by product. See the respective Guide to Benefits for details, as terms and exclusions apply.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2024 , including those best for:

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on Chase's website

1x-10x Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

1x-2x Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

50,000 Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

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