Are Pre-Departure Date Changes a Covered Cost?

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on February 17, 2017

We get a lot of requests for pre-departure date changes. Here are three recent emails:

I’m planning a trip to Australia and back from the USA. There’s a possibility that I will need to change the date of my return plane ticket to later than planned if my visa gets extended so I want a Travel Insurance plan that will pay the costs associated with changing my ticket.

I need a Trip Insurance plan that covers fees or costs my airline will charge me if I have to change my travel dates before I leave on my trip.

I don’t want a Trip Cancellation Insurance plan, but instead I want policy that will pay any trip the costs I will incur if I decide to delay leaving on my trip for a few days.

On the surface these sound like reasonable requests. Sometimes circumstances of your trip could change causing you to have a financial loss if you have to change the travel dates prior to leaving. I’m not talking about having to cancel your trip. These requests are specifically for changing the travel dates but still taking the trip.

However, Trip Insurance doesn’t cover costs associated with changes in dates prior to leaving on your trip. Technically, this is known as a “pre-departure date change”.

If you have a pre-departure date change that causes you to pay a penalty or fee, this is not a covered claim. You are responsible to pay the penalty or fee. This includes mistakes you make by selecting the wrong travel dates.

There are two main reasons these are not covered:

  • There’s no way for an insurance company to assign a probabilty of this happening, so it’s not possible to offer insurance for this potential risk.
  • Airlines already allow a customer to make changes for a fee. Check your plane ticket’s Contract of Carriage for the rules in order to find the fees and rules.

In order to avoid expensive changes, always double-check the travel dates, names of the travelers and other details when booking airline tickets or other travel arrangements online.

I cover something similar to this on my FAQs page:

Q. May I change my travel dates if my trip changes?

A. Yes, you can change your travel dates if your trip changes. If you are past the Free Look period, you cannot get a refund on the travel insurance policy because you choose not to take your original trip.

In addition, some companies will not allow you to change your dates if you incur a financial loss. This can be tricky because some travel agents charge fees, airlines will and also some cruise lines do, too.

Here are your options:

  • If you want to lower your insured trip cost, because your trip cost was lower than you expected, you have to contact the insurance company directly yourself. Your travel insurance plan is a legal contract and, as such, the insurance company needs to receive the changes from you. In addition, your credit card will be credited the refunded amount and we don’t save your credit card information.
  • If you want to change your travel insurance policy’s travel dates you also have to contact the insurance company directly yourself. The reason is the same: your travel insurance plan is a legal contract and, as such, the insurance company needs to receive the changes from you.

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When I said “you have to contact the insurance company directly yourself”, that is not completely true. If you bought your Travel Insurance from us, we will help you do the date or other changes you need.

The reason I said what I did is because we’ve had people who bought insurance from someone else come to us and want us to help them make changes to their policy. In every case, the person / place who sold them their policy dropped the ball on post-sales service.

I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

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