Okay, so we wish this wasn’t true. In addition to all the other travel expenses, now we’re going to pony up for some kind of testing, plus now cancel for any reason trip insurance.
We started buying trip insurance ourselves only when needed, and writing about it, more than a decade ago. Last fall your editors traveled extensively internationally and purchased trip insurance that gratefully wasn’t used. But six months ago was like living in a different world, given what has happened in the interim.
Imagine if that trip had been for this spring instead of last fall!
“Cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage is a travel insurance coverage “option” that will reimburse prepaid, non-refundable trip expenses. This provides the flexibility needed in today’s unknown world to cancel your trip, for any reason whatsoever. Keep in mind that trip insurance generally does not provide any coverage for canceling unless you or an immediate family member are sick. So just because the world is upside down does not provide any reason to get your money back, unless you purchase this specific coverage.
How does “Cancel for Any Reason” work?
In a nutshell, it gives you the ability to cancel the trip without any questions asked. Keep in mind, however, that these policies provide either 50% or 75% refund, so build that into your planning. Also, keep in mind that most policies allow you to cancel up to 48 hours before travel commencing.
CFAR for COVID
If you test positive, and we hope you don’t, the regular trip insurance will cover you because of illness. CFAR can help if you know within 48 hours of travel that testing is not an option, or results will not be known in time, and you need to cancel.
When to buy trip insurance and cancel for any reason coverage.
This depends on the policy, but in our experience, typically it needs to be purchased within 14-days after your first trip payment is made.
How far in advance do you need to cancel your trip?
Again, this is policy-specific, but generally, you need to cancel at least two days before starting your trip for the cancel for any reason coverage to be valid.
Where do you get “cancel for any reason” coverage?
Most companies selling trip insurance offer this as an optional, extra-cost option. We’ve used Insure My Trip for years, but have also used Squaremouth. There are a plethora of options either via agencies or directly from the providers. It is coverage not typically available through airlines.
Comparison shopping for trip insurance: How much does it cost?
We went shopping for Hawaii trip insurance just now and here is what we found. We used the following details for our what-if scenario: $2,000 in trip insurance covering two people, traveling for seven days from California to Hawaii in mid-August 2020. The various options offered cost (before adding CFAR) $52 to $238 (total for two passengers). That was for comprehensive coverage including trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage loss and damage, and much more. But did not include CFAR.
The range of options in order to have CFAR was $156 to $357; a substantial increase. At both ends of the cost spectrum, CFAR coverage provided 75% of non-refundable trip costs, so long as the following rules were adhered to. 1) purchase was made within 14 days of initial trip payment, 2) any subsequent arrangement(s) were added to the coverage within 14 days of the date of Payment/Deposit, 3) insurance is purchased for the full cost of all non-refundable prepaid Covered Trip arrangements, and 4) the trip is canceled no less than 2 days before the scheduled departure date.
Here’s why cancel for any reason is essential in an unknown world.
Honestly, we have rarely purchased this coverage before, but wouldn’t consider traveling without it now and for the foreseeable future, so long as there are significant expenses for which we cannot be assured of receiving a refund if we canceled. That includes most airfares, accommodations, etc. Car rentals typically don’t require advance purchase, so we won’t be insurance those. Obviously, the less you need to insure, the lower the insurance premium cost.