Should You Buy Trip Cancellation Insurance For Just Airfare?

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on December 5, 2012

If you have read including this blog, you will see that I have no problem telling you when you should or should not get trip cancellation travel insurance.

What kind of a trip are you taking?

  1. If you are flying somewhere with an expensive airline ticket, whether or not you have more prepaid trip costs, the answer is “Yes, get trip cancellation travel insurance”. You don’t want to lose all that money if you are forced to cancel or interrupt your trip. or
  2. If you have no other prepaid trip costs except airfare, and it would be easy and not very expensive for you to re-use your plane ticket, then don’t buy travel insurance (unless you want trip delay, emergency transportation, medical, or some other coverage that travel insurance provides). This advice includes getting the Cancel For Any Reason coverage on the plane ticket.

Why did I say to not get trip cancellation travel insurance for Trip # 2?

The short answer is that it’s likely your Airline Ticket’s Contract of Carriage includes wording like “changes or cancellations to an itinerary may be made prior to departure” and “a Future Travel Credit will be issued …”.

Here’s the longer answer:

Someone from New York recently bought a trip cancellation travel insurance from us and is now forced to postpone her trip due to a conflict. She’s flying Spirit Airlines to Dallas to see her Mom, but it could have been any airline.

Now she wants to cancel her Spirit Airlines tickets. But, Spirit Airlines’ Contract of Carriage, doesn’t allow her to cancel her trip – she can only postpone her trip to a future date.

If you think about it, why would you want to insure a trip to see your Mom in Dallas? You have no other trip costs (assuming your Mom doesn’t charge you to stay with her) and it’s easy to re-use your plane ticket. Compare that to the time it takes to file a travel insurance claim.

The next thing you are probably thinking is “what should she do with her unusable policy?” I solved that yesterday by telling her we would cancel it in the Free Look period so she gets her money back.

From now on we will never advise anyone to buy a trip cancellation travel insurance policy for a US domestic trip with no other trip costs when they do not want any of the other benefits like medical, emergency transportation, trip delay.


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