Before You Book Your Trip

Cancel For Any Reason

Until the spread of Covid-19, people didn’t give much thought to a world pandemic, civil unrest or natural disasters affecting their travel plans. Unfortunately, they happen and before booking a trip many of us are considering Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) travel insurance to protect our investment.


before booking a trip/cancel for any reason travel insurance
Before Booking A Trip, Know That Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance Can Cover Cancelled Flights

When Covid-19 first started spreading, none of us thought it would end up as bad as it is today. Many experienced, as well as first time travelers, booked long awaited dream vacations, put down deposits and bought airline tickets, cruises or travel tours which have now been canceled because of the pandemic. Some people managed to get refunds or new departure dates but unfortunately some travelers weren’t so lucky.

With so much uncertainty about how long Covid-19 will last, Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) travel insurance may be worth the cost to many travelers. While it is more expensive than regular travel insurance, it may be worth the extra expense knowing that if you decide the timing is not right to travel, you can cancel your plans up to 2 or 3 days before leaving and recoup most of your expenses.

My husband and I having been traveling to Europe for years and until a few years ago, we never thought about buying travel insurance in case of an impending natural disaster. In 2017, we had tickets for a flight from Miami to Prague that was cancelled because of an approaching hurricane. If you’ve ever had to buy last minute one way tickets on any airline, you know prices can be exorbitant, going from $3,000 to over $10,000 a person.

Travel insurance policies can cover things such as trip cancellations, emergency medical treatment and evacuation, rental car damage and baggage loss and we wished we had taken travel insurance a little more seriously. Did you know that you can’t buy regular travel insurance that would cover cancellations or delays related to a storm once it has been given a name, even if it is far out to sea? Once an event has happened, like a storm becoming a hurricane or this world pandemic we are experiencing now, they are considered “known or foreseeable” events. That event is usually not covered by most regular travel insurance policies unless you have a Cancel For Any Reason policy.

before you book a flight/hurricane Irma closes airports
Hurricane Irma Closes Airports In Florida And Beyond, Wish We Had Cancel For Any Reason Trip Insurance At The Time

After Hurricane Irma affected those travel plans, I decided that before we book a trip to Europe, a cruise or any other expensive trip I would get Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) trip insurance. I thought I would share what I’ve learned from the two times we have purchased the insurance (thankfully both trips went smoothly and we had no claims). I have no affiliation with any company and this is just information I learned over the last few years while deciding if we should buy CFAR insurance. Always check for current rules as circumstances can change.

Before buying any kind of travel insurance coverage, it is a good idea to call the insurance provider and ask lots of questions concerning your specific needs. Make sure that everything you think is covered actually will be covered for your exact trip.

Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance is an upgrade to a premium travel plan and usually costs about 50 percent more than regular travel insurance. The price is determined by two things, the total cost of your trip and the age of each traveler. The more a trip costs and the older the travelers are, the more expensive the coverage will be. If your trip is going to be expensive, you might decide the insurance cost is a bargain compared to perhaps the loss of thousands of dollars if your trip has to be cancelled. However, if your trip costs are going to be low, you might decide you don’t want insurance if you feel comfortable knowing you will loose any nonrefundable trip costs. Right now, many airlines, cruise companies and hotels are letting you cancel a few days before, without penalties so insurance might not be a necessity.

You need to know that there is a time frame for when the policy must be purchased. It is usually 7 to 21 days (depending on the policy) from your first trip payment and it must cover the entire cost of your trip. The insurance policy will go into effect from the time you leave your home to start your trip, will cover you everywhere you visit and your trip back home.

If you have preexisting medical conditions, there are curtain requirements and a specific time frame in which you must purchase your travel policy so be sure to double check with insurance companies before you book your trip. You must also be considered medically able to travel on the day you purchase your policy.


before you book a trip, travel insurance
Cancel For Any Reason Insurance Covers Unseen Accidents

Be aware that once an event has happened, it is considered a “known or foreseeable” event and Covid-19 is now considered a known event and will not be covered unless you have a Cancel for Any Reason policy. You can check online to review exactly what is and what is not covered in the policies you are considering. Most importantly, read the “fine print”. A good policy should reimburse a portion of your prepaid, forfeited and non refundable trip payments and deposits for airlines, cruise ships, hotels and car rentals if you have to cancel because of an unexpected illness, injury or canceled or delayed flights, etc.

Even if you buy CFAR insurance, you won’t get a full refund of your trip costs, instead it provides partial reimbursement for prepaid and non refundable trip payments if a trip is canceled for a reason not otherwise covered by a policy. Typically, there is a slightly lower priced policy that will reimburse travelers for 50 percent of their nonrefundable trip costs and a higher priced one that will reimburse 75 percent of nonrefundable trip costs. If you cancel for a covered reason like a covered medical problem or a death in the family, the plans pay 100 percent of your cancellation penalties for canceled trips.  This is another thing  you need to ask about before buying any policy and before you book your trip.

The last thing to know is that you can’t decide on the day of departure to change you mind and not go and still be covered. However, if you had an accident while getting ready to leave or there is a family emergency that will keep you from traveling, it would usually be covered. You must cancel your trip in its entirety at least 2 to 3 days before your scheduled departure date, whether it’s because of a worldwide pandemic, a natural disaster, forecasters are predicting terrible weather for your entire trip or simply because you decide you aren’t comfortable traveling.


The spread of the Coronavirus throughout the world and the knowledge that it can be spread by someone who doesn’t have any symptoms has left many of us wondering what to do about upcoming travel plans. Until there is a vaccine for Covid-19, the majority of us have put all travel plans on hold during these uncertain times. We are staying home and doing our traveling virtually, at least for now.

When the time comes to start thinking about booking a trip, Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance is an option if you are worried that the Coronavirus could have an impact on your travel plans. My husband and I have bought the insurance for our last two trips to Europe and thankfully it was never needed. The peace of mind from having the travel insurance was as they say…priceless.

*I have no affiliation with any company, nor do I work for any insurance or travel agency. I am not being compensated in any way for anything I have written. You should do your own research and make up your own mind whether you believe travel insurance of any kind would be beneficial when traveling. Rules may change so please due your own due diligence. 

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I travel the back roads of the world, sharing great food and interesting places and enjoyable pastimes.

55 thoughts on “Before You Book Your Trip

    1. You are right Mad Dog, with travel regulations changing by the day you just don’t know what will happen next and overseas flights and cruises are so expensive. The price of the insurance would have been way less than what we ended up paying because a hurricane cancelled flights all over the eastern seaboard on our one of our trips to Europe. Live and learn as they say…we are not going to take any more chances.

  1. I never knew about CFAR—we have regular trip insurance for our Paris trip in October (and we know we aren’t going) and we doubt the insurance will do us any good. I should ask, though. I will definitely consider CFAR from here on!

    1. Hi David, I researched CFAR because of hurricanes now that we are living in Florida. While some insurance will cover a storm at the destination you will be traveling too, most don’t cover you if a storm is going to happen at where you are leaving from unless you have CFAR and our trips to Europe are always during the peak of hurricane season. Definitely ask about what exactly is covered on your Paris trip…did you get it before the Covid outbreak?

  2. Great post with a lot of good info. On all of our expensive trips in the past we’ve bit the bullet and bought CFAR insurance — mainly because I had elderly parents to worry about (no longer the case, alas) and didn’t know if something would arise that would require a last minute cancellation. Our next trip isn’t until June 2021, and I’ve thought only vaguely about insurance for that (we always buy it when we make the final payment as opposed to when we make the deposit; little more expensive that way, but gives us more flexibility). Lots to think about!

    1. Thank you John for your nice compliment. We first bought CFAR insurance for our Regent Mediterranean cruise. My husband had a preexisting medical condition at the time that meant we had to purchase the insurance within a certain time frame after being treated by his doctor. It is why it is important to check exactly what the rules are pertaining to the policy you are thinking about purchasing. You are right about worrying about elderly family members and maybe having to cancel a trip, we had the same worries when both our mothers were alive.

  3. Good info, and I’ve definitely filed it away. I must admit right now I have zero desire to leave my state let alone go to another country. Yesterday, I got a AAA email about reduction in prices for cruises. Oh, really. 🙂

    1. Thank you Judy, hopefully the day will come when we will again be safe to travel. When we do, I thought my experience with travel insurance might help travels know what options are available.

  4. Karen, this is the best article I’ve ever read on the subject of travel insurance. I’ve always appreciated the peace of mind the insurance gives me for an expensive trip. Thanks for all the tips, especially about what “known and foreseeable” can mean!

    1. I appreciate your kind words Jean, thank you so much. I’m happy to know that the post was helpful, especially about the “known and foreseeable” terms and how they relate to travel.

    1. Thank you Pam, I’m glad you found the post interesting. Yes, I do remember your getaway to that lovely inn in Highlands, NC. to celebrate your anniversary. That is the same month as ours and I was hopeful that perhaps next year we might be able to celebrate with a trip somewhere but who knows???

  5. Very interesting information, thanks, Karen. I never heard about that option. Luckily, we had not booked our annual flight to Hamburg, yet, and my husband got out Vietnam just before COVID hit the US. But I remember having to reschedule flights because of hurricane Sandy in the past, and I was lucky that I didn’t lose any money.

    1. Hi Karen, I’m glad I could let you know a little about CFAR Insurance. Our trip to Europe is usually in September when it is the peak of hurricane season in Florida so I’m always concerned about flights being cancelled. We have gotten out on the last flight two times but it is always a worry so I try to protect us with the insurance.

  6. We’ve never purchased travel insurance but now may change our thinking. We had to cancel three trips this year and it was a challenge getting all the deposits and airfares back. Right now there are no trips in our future, but I hope that changes.

    1. Hi Linda, You and Phil are a lot like us with our traveling. It took just one flight being cancelled on us and having to buy costly one way tickets to get to Europe to have us change our minds about insurance. It had to be disappointing to cancel three trips but I’m glad you were able to get your deposits back.

    1. You are welcome Gary. I thought I’d share what I knew about the insurance for anyone making future travel plans to see if CFAR or something similar might be available where they live. Hopefully someday our world will be a safe place to travel in again.

  7. Great info. I, too, never bought travel insurance before all of this. But now, it’s definitely something I would consider, well, whenever I do feel that travel will be thoroughly safe again.

    1. Thank you Carolyn, I think it will take time before we all feel safe to resume our traveling. We typically don’t think about insurance until something happens…it took a hurricane to make us aware of how costly it can be if a trip has to be changed at the last minute.

  8. Travel insurance is great. I usually use it–but not always. Right now we’re staying home and staying safe. For the time being.

    1. Hi Kathy. I’m delighted that you are blogging again…what a pleasant surprise having you stop by for a visit. Thank you for commenting and I’ll return the visit. Your little house in the woods is the perfect place to be.

      1. You just prompted me to go look–it appears the longest I can stay away from blogging each time is about 9-10 months so far!

    1. I agree with you Sylvia on both counts. I think it is in our nature to look forward to the future and then try to be as prepared as possible for what ever happens.

  9. A very interesting compilation of facts from the United States point of view. Methinks the extra due would make the cost pretty prohibitive from Australia. Since no international travel whatsoever is allowed from here bar ‘in’ for emergency and compassionate reasons and the Government has warned it may take far longer than a year for us to ‘go’ anywhere . . . well, such matters are theoretical. At the moment here even most state borders are totally closed and if one is allowed from one to the other a 14-day quarantine awaits at three thousand dollars each. Yes, but . . . we are aghast even at 288 deaths during the whole pandemic country-wide ! Different horses etc . . . ‘See Australia first’ plans are hugely popular tho’ for as soon as we are allowed . . . and, if one prebooks in hope there is easy and cheap or no cancellation should circumstances change. Interesting to read a virtual friend just spent a week’s holiday with his partner in Malta from the Netherlands . . . .no problems . . . did not ‘dare’ ask 🙂 !!!

    1. Thank you Eha, I’m glad that you found the post interesting. The day will come when it is deemed safe to travel once more. When that happens, I want to have good insurance as we have had health issues, hurricanes and accidents come up that affected our travel plans in the past. While CFAR may not be available in every country, there may be something similar that readers might not even be aware of and could be helpful for future travels.

  10. Thank you, Aunt Karen, this is very educational and useful. My BFF is treating me to my first European trip in September 2021. We made sure with Norwegian of their cancellation policy regarding Covid, we do now, thanks to you, have the knowledge we need in order to purchase the proper insurance for our future travels.

    Love you.

    1. How exciting to have a European trip planned for next year Denise, I certainly hope that everything will go as planned. I remember my first trip to Europe and know that you and your BFF will have a grand time. I’m glad that this post will help with your future plans. Love you too, sweetheart. 😘

  11. Thank you, Aunt Karen, for the informative and very useful post!

    My BFF and I have made a promise to each other we are going to start traveling the world – she is treating me to my first European trip EVER in September 2021. This post will definitely come in handy for the future.

    Love you.

  12. Good article. We never travel without travel insurance and the last 2 big European trips we’ve taken we’ve bought CFAR insurance – mainly because both of us had parents who weren’t well. While we didn’t need to use it, it was definitely peace of mind knowing it was there.

    1. Thank you Jo, I’m happy you liked the post. As you say, CFAR definitely gives you peace of mind and hopefully we will never need to make use of it. 😊

  13. We’ve gone through this same debate, too, Karen. Most of the time, we’ve decided to forego the insurance, but we are always right there on the fence. The current pandemic certainly puts a new twist on things. You make excellent points in this post, and insurance is certainly something we’ll be giving another look once we are allowed to travel again. Thanks for the tips and thoughts!

    1. I know where you are coming from David. Until recently, we really never felt we needed travel insurance. We would buy our plane tickets, rent a car in Europe and travel where we wanted for 3 or 4 weeks. Now that hotels want at least a minimum of a one night deposit in advance and airfares that keep rising, we felt travel insurance would just become part of each trip’s expenses…one we hope we will never need to use. I’m glad you enjoyed the tips, thank you.

  14. Good advice Karen, and important information. I have no desire to travel these days in this unsettled world, and even my children don’t want to go anywhere but our beach house!

    1. Thank you Jenna. Hopefully the day will come when we will once again feel free to travel like we used to. Your beach house is a wonderful place for you and your family to go to and enjoy your time together.

    1. It was my pleasure Thao. Until I started looking for insurance that would cover travel cancellations because of an impending hurricane, I didn’t know about CFAR insurance either.

  15. Good to know Karen, Thanks! Back in Sept. 2017, we were in Prague when Irma hit Florida and came up the coast to South Carolina and we made a decision to stay in Europe an extra week to avoid it. But having the extra insurance is definitely a peace of mind!

    1. It really is a small world isn’t it. Imagine Hurricane Irma affecting both of us with our travels relating to Prague. After that experience, we will always make sure that we have cancel for any reason insurance.

  16. Fantastic tips, Karen. I didn’t know this type of insurance existed. We’re not travelling right now either but my cousin is off to her place in Spain on Sunday, I’ll mention this to her, thanks.

    1. Hi Eva, I’m glad this post had tips you weren’t aware of and perhaps they will help you once we can travel safely again. I do hope your cousin has no problems with her trip to Spain.

    1. I agree with you Sherry, we won’t be doing any overseas travels anytime soon…I don’t think any of us will. When we can start traveling again, it will only be with good insurance.

  17. We booked a lake cabin in the north woods for a week in September and I debated buying this insurance. In the end I decided that other than a no-travel order we were probably going no matter what. And while not cheap, it isn’t the cost a European trip might be. It was important to learn you can’t cancel at the last minute though I already knew the “any reason” part only covered 50%.

    I have a friend who had an accident on a trip and needed surgery abroad, then to fly home accompanied by a doctor. That sure convinced me about regular trip insurance!

  18. I think when travel begins to be more common again, insurance will definitely be taken more seriously by most travelers. You make very good points about understanding the policy and reading the fine print.

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